Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Lesbian Youth Activist Attacked in Downtown Portland

Kayla Stone, bashed on the streets of Portland (Just Out image)

Portland, Oregon – A 21-year-old musician and LGBTQ youth activist was brutally assaulted July 3 in what Portland Police are calling a bias-motivated crime.  Most concerning to the local LGBTQ community is that Kayla Stone appealed for help, and initially got none.  Stone, who plays guitar and sings for a local art gallery and for a home offering services to queer and transitional youth, is well-known in the LGBTQ scene in Portland.  She reported to Just Out that the night before the violence, she had performed at a local club when a group of Latinos menaced her as she left the venue, followed her for three blocks down the street, and called her an epithet.  Stone denounced the group, verbally defending herself, and they went away. The next night, on Sunday, sometime between 1 and 2:30 am, as she came back to the area to meet her date, the same group attacked her without provocation as soon as they recognized who she was. The assault was swift and brutal, and the shaken lesbian remembers little about the violence except the description of the first man to punch her in the face.  He had a teardrop tattoo underneath one of his eyes, Stone recalls.  But though the whole group struck out at her, leaving her face a bloody wreck, she fought back and refused to fall to the ground.  As she related to Just Out, “It was really intense for me, because it was like, wow, even though Rosa Parks is dead, these people that stood up against prejudice and racism are dead, I’m not. And I feel very thankful to not be. Because with how many people there were that night, I can’t believe I didn’t go down on my knees.”

When her assailants backed off and left her standing, Stone limped to The Escape, an all-ages gay bar, for help. Though there were witnesses to the assault who saw the whole attack, none of them offered to help or call police.  Stone says that in the aftermath of the attack, while she was struggling to get to The Escape, two police cruisers passed her by, and though she was obviously bloody and unsteady from being bashed, the officers did not help her.  Only when someone at the bar called 911, did police respond to her situation. Stone was taken to a hospital, but refused to be stitched up for fear that her injuries would be minimized by the authorities if she let Emergency Room personnel finish their treatment.  Instead, she asked a friend to take photos of the cuts, bruises, and lacerations she received from her bashers. Stone is a committed activist who is no stranger to discrimination. Reflecting on her assault, she says that being targeted for anti-LGBTQ hate crimes is part of the cost of being different. “I’m not trying to justify anything that occurs, but the point is that the revolution is not glamorous,” Stone said. “It means continuing to do what you say you’re going to do no matter what.”

Portland’s LGBTQ community has suffered a rash of gay and queer bashings in recent weeks. Two gay men were assaulted near the Hawthorne Bridge, and a Newport man was beaten as he tried to stop a an anti-gay attack.  The Stone case is now being treated as an anti-gay crime by Portland police, though the lack of evidence and witnesses agreeing to testify hamper the investigation. Courage and commitment to change homophobic and heterosexist patterns in society, like that exhibited by brave Kayla Stone, may yet break the cycle of violence against sexual minorities in the Portland area.

July 13, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, Gender Variant Youth, GLBTQ, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Latinos, Law and Order, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Oregon, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Queer, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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