Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Homeless Man Attacked at Tennessee Tent City

Glenn Ortmann, beaten unconscious by a mob of fellow homeless men after revealing his sexual orientation [ WSMV image].

Murfreesboro, Tennessee – A mob of homeless men attacked and beat a fellow homeless man unconscious because he is gay.  The victim, Glen Ortmann, has given the police names of suspects in his recent hate crime attack, and now lives in fear in “Tent City,” a homeless camp near CSX railroad tracks–the only place in Murfreesboro Ortmann says he can live because of his homelessness.  WSMV, the NBC affiliate, reports that police are investigating the case to corroborate the anti-gay hate crime status of the assault.

Ortmann, who became homeless a couple of months ago, attempted to find shelter in charity housing, but, as he learned, there are very few options for homeless men in Murfreesboro. After revealing his sexual orientation to other men living in Tent City this past weekend, Ortmann says he was ambushed, beaten, and left unconscious with an eye swollen shut, and his whole body racked with pain.   “It was a big crowd, and all I remembered really is being hit once or twice and being knocked out cold,” Ortmann said to WSMV.

As The New Civil Rights Movement reports, Ortmann is crystal clear on the reason for the brutal assault.  “I was beat up because I was gay,” he said. “It’s considered a hate crime. It’s against the law to put your hands on someone to begin with.”  Now, he sleeps fitfully, expecting another attack at any time. Ortmann is considering moving to Nashville for his own safety, but his prospects are bleak there, too.  “It makes it 10 times harder when you’re gay and homeless at the same time,” he explained to WSMV.

Local authorities say that the hate crime aspect of this case is important. Sgt. Kyle Evans, Murfreesboro police spokesman, told reporters for WSMV, “The reporting officer indicated the bias motivation for the attack was anti-homosexual. If that is indeed the case, not only could they be facing these assault charges; they could be facing more serious charges.”  

Meanwhile, Ortmann is recovering from both physical and psychic wounds in an environment where he fears for his life. “It’s bad enough where I have to keep watch, keep an eye over my shoulder the entire time,” he said. “It’s pretty bad right now to the point that I don’t sleep that many hours now.”

November 17, 2012 - Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, LGBTQ, Tennessee, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. If this had happened in KC, I would go to the homeless camps, find this man and get him out. I can only hope that some other gay person in Murfreesboro can and will do the same. This is a tragedy that can be fixed by one helping hand.

    Comment by John Cobb | November 18, 2012

  2. I would be willing to help Mr. Ortmann financially if a fund has been established. Information would be appreciated if such an account has been created.

    Comment by R. McBride | November 19, 2012

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