Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Texan Savagely Attacked with Broken Beer Bottle, Then Thrown in Fire

Burke Burnett, hate crime victim (Dallas Voice image)

Reno, Texas – A gay man attending a private party in Reno, a town near Paris, Texas, was brutally attacked with a broken bottle and then thrown bodily into a flaming fire barrel on Sunday because he was gay.  The Dallas Voice broke the story, quoting 26-year-old victim Burke Burnett as saying on Monday, “They knew I was gay. I’m convinced they were trying to kill me.”  Burnett told John Wright of the Voice. Four men shouting epithets like “gay bitch,” “cock-sucking punk,” and “pussy-ass faggot,” lunged at Burnett, stabbing him with a broken beer bottle, beating him, and then heaving him into the fire.  Burnett was rushed by girlfriends to a hospital in Sulphur Springs, about 30 miles away.  He suffered contusions, bruises, and second degree burns.  The slashes with the broken bottle required over 30 stitches.

The Reno Police Department played down the attack to the press, saying little more than that the case was still under investigation.  Burnett told the Voice that officers on the scene told him that the crime was going to be classified as bias-driven, but that the assailants, whose identities are known, could take more than two weeks before their arrests.  Another local source said that Reno police were considering lowering the degree of the offenses to misdemeanors since they took place during a party. Meanwhile, Burnett is hoping that his injuries do not disable him or prove to be permanent.

Burnett credits his girlfriends with preventing his injuries from being much worse,  They slowed down his attackers long enough for him to escape to a parked vehicle.  Then, they took him to the hospital for treatment.  The New Civil Rights Movement echoes the Dallas Voice, reporting that none of the other 20 party-goers attempted to stop the attack.

November 1, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, immolation, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slashing attacks, Slurs and epithets, Texas, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gay Texan Savagely Attacked with Broken Beer Bottle, Then Thrown in Fire

Lives of Colorado Lesbian Couple Threatened in Hate Crime

Lesbian couple threatened with death

Parker, Colorado – A lesbian couple were tagged by a death threat on two consecutive days last week in Parker, a town southeast of Denver.  On Friday, Aimee Whitchurch and Christel Conklin found a target symbol spray painted on their condo door and the phrase, “KILL THE GAYS,” tagged on their garage door in bright red paint for all the neighbors to see. The next morning, they opened their front door to find a noose laid on their door mat.  Whitchurch said that when they discovered the noose, they knew their lives really were at risk.

Not the types to let such serious matters go, the couple responded by complaining to the Home Owners Association of their condo complex, whose president haphazardly splashed white paint over the red spray paint Saturday.  His less-than-professional job barely covered the graffiti, and exacerbated the problem.  Whitchurch and Conklin responded by taping a sign to the garage door that read, “Solve the problem; don’t paint over it.”  The couple told Channel 9 News that they were sure their sexual orientation was the reason for the hateful graffiti attack and the noose. Whitchurch said the neighbors figured out they were not “roommates,” and took homophobic action against them.  As Conklin said in the same interview, “Being lesbians is okay, until you start living together,” in Douglas County. “This is where we live. We should feel safe. I am afraid to walk outside my place now,” Whitchurch said.  The couple have lived in the condo for nearly six months.

A feud had been brewing between the neighbors and the lesbian couple, according to the women.  The Advocate reported that the HOA had complained that they were not picking up the feces after walking their dogs. Conklin answered the charges in detail to Channel 9: “It ridiculous. We have a Mastiff and a Great-Dane, two of the largest breed dogs, if we didn’t pick up after them this entire place would be covered. It’s completely invalid. That’s just common sense,” she said. The couple also own an English Bulldog puppy.  Since the initial attack, the lesbians’ car has been keyed, and dog feces has been scattered on their property.  Channel 9 reporters have repeatedly tried to contact the HOA officers for a statement, but no one has returned the calls.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigators have been on the case, but have surfaced no persons of interest.  Detective Ron Hanovan said to Channel 9: “Right now, we don’t have any leads and no one is in custody.” Two offenses are involved in this attack, Hanovan went on to say, criminal mischief over $1,000, and anti-LGBT crime.  Conklin and Whitchurch say they are taking this case to the FBI.

The HOA finally sent a reputable painter to cover the slipshod work the HOA president did on the couple’s garage door.  In the meanwhile, Whitchurch and Conklin are not going anywhere.  They still walk their adult dogs, and their little bulldog, Ellie May.  On electric green and pink poster board, they have put up new signs the neighbors cannot miss.  One of them declares, “We are not the gay couple!  We are Aimee and Christal!”

November 1, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Blame the victim, Colorado, FBI, GLBTQ, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Slurs and epithets, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, women | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lives of Colorado Lesbian Couple Threatened in Hate Crime


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