Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Hairstylist Brutally Attacked In Baltimore: Christmas Hate Crime Suspected

Christmas gay bashing victim Kenni Shaw, 30, before and after attack. (Instagram image posted by the victim.)

Christmas gay bashing victim Kenni Shaw, 30, before and after attack. (Instagram image posted by the victim.)

Baltimore, Maryland – A popular gay hairstylist was savagely beaten by a gang of men outside an East Baltimore liquor store on Christmas night.  The motive?  Kenni Shaw, the victim of the attack, has no doubt that the random attack was because of his perceived sexual orientation. Police are still investigating the alleged anti-gay hate crime in the “Charm City.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, Shaw, 30 years old, was simply walking past the East Baltimore beverage shop near his home at approximately 9 p.m. on Christmas when the assault started.  Shaw said he tried to beg his attackers to stop, but the blows kept coming so hard and fast he couldn’t get the words out of his mouth. The punches pinned him to the pavement. ”I was just beaten in my face. Nothing was taken. No words were exchanged before the incident, so to me, I think it was a hate crime,” Shaw told The Sun.  People in his neighborhood had previously called him “faggot,” but Shaw, a six-foot-tall cosmetologist and hairstylist, never believed homophobic attitudes would issue in such violence.

His mother, Sheila Shaw, told The Sun that Kenni had immediately called her.  “I can’t even describe that moment for me. I thought my world was ending,” she said. “No parent wants to get that phone call. The tone of his voice … I thought, ‘He’s strong enough to make the phone call, but I’m probably going to lose my son.’”  When she rushed to the hospital and finally got to see her son, Ms. Shaw said she could hardly recognize who he was.

While he was on the phone, paramedics came to transport him to Johns Hopkins, the famed Baltimore hospital, where he was treated for his wounds.  Despite the bruises, cuts, and lacerations on his face and knees, there were no fractures. Shaw suspects that bystanders called for help, an indication that not all residents of the neighborhood agree with anti-gay violence.

Shaw said to WBFF Fox News 45 that he was simply glad to be alive. During his recovery at his mother’s home in Baltimore County, Shaw posted an Instagram photo of himself, before and after the assault, showing the horrific effects of the attack. According to Pink News, hundreds of responses supporting the hairstylist poured in from around the country and the world. As he healed from the physical injuries of hate, Shaw decided to speak out against the homophobia that victimizes so many in Baltimore. “It makes me angry and upset, but at the same time, I am here and I made it through,” he told The Sun. “I just want to stand and make sure I have a voice, so this doesn’t happen again to a loved one or anyone.”  His relatives are standing strong with Shaw, as well, supporting his outspoken efforts to stop anti-gay hate crimes in their community.

“This needs to be spoken to because somebody needs to take a stand,” he said. “Hate crimes happen every day.”

Shaw firmly believes that anti-gay bias motivated his attackers, spoiling the Christmas spirit for him, his family, and the City of Baltimore.  Police have been receptive to Shaw’s allegations, and say that, even though they are not ready to assign a motive to the assault at this time, they have already received several “good leads” in the case.  When arrests are made, Baltimore Police say that they will communicated with the Attorney General of the state to determine the nature of the charges they will file.

Meanwhile, Shaw says he will not stop speaking out.  In an interview with The Sun, he told reporters, “I’m glad I could share my story and people could empathize with the story, because I’m getting a lot of feedback from people who have been through it or who have had family members who have been through it,” Shaw said. “I’m glad I could be a spokesman, because a lot of people don’t make it through situations like this.”

December 28, 2012 Posted by | African Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Maryland, Slurs and epithets, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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