Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Utah Teen Bullied To Death: Emergency Community Summit Called

Jack Reese, 18, latest victim of school bullying against LGBT students.

Ogden, Utah – Last Monday, another gay teenager from Utah took his life in response to intolerable bullying because of his sexual orientation.  Q Salt Lake reports that Jack Reese, 18, of Mountain Green is the latest casualty in the war on gay teenagers taking place in the nation’s schools.  With heartbreaking coincidence, Reese’s boyfriend, Alex Smith, spoke on Reese’s experiences with school bullying to a community event focused on the problem of bullying–without the knowledge that the love of his life had already taken his own life earlier that day. Details of Reese’s death have not been released to the public at this time.

According to Ogden OUTreach, a local LGBT youth service organization, the rate of gay teen suicide in Utah is fully 8 times the national average.  A North Utah mother of a gay son appeals to parents in the community the community in the wake of Reese’s bullycide to wake up and take action against the epidemic of suicide sweeping so many queer youth away.  Allison Black writes to her fellow parents, in part: “Our local community and churches do not always make it easy to openly accept our LGBT (lesbian, gay, transgender, and bi-sexual) friends, family members, and loved ones.  The bullying and suicides need to stop. Parents please do not let outside influences tell you that your gay child is evil or broken.  Follow your heart.”

The Rev. Marian Edmonds, director of Ogden OUTreach, says that in an “off-the-record” comment by a local official, a gay teen takes his or her life at the rate of once a week, though it does not get reported that way to the press.  In a statement to the media, Edmonds said: “The youth I work with all know either a victim of bullying, the loss of a friend to suicide, and most often, both. These youth are bright, creative and loving, yet too often face daily abuse from rejecting families, bullies at school and the loss of their church family. It is time for local schools to incorporate proven techniques for eliminating bullying and homophobia, for churches to preach love and acceptance, and for parents and families to love and accept their children. Each loss of life is a loss for all of us, and it must stop now.”

An emergency community summit aimed at stopping the spread of gay teen suicides due to bullying has been called in Ogden for May 1.  Speakers will include parents from Ogden PFLAG, local opinion leaders, faith leaders, and active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the predominant religious influence throughout the area.  At Alex Smith’s request, a candlelight vigil will be held at the end of the summit in memory of Reese. Rev. Edmonds decries the situation that is robbing Ogden and North Utah of its young people.  “Each loss of life is a loss for all of us, and it must stop now,” she said. Liz Owen, director of PFLAG national, summed up the challenge facing us all: “Sadly, the death of Jack Reese is a reminder that there is still much work to be done.”

April 29, 2012 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Bullycide, Bullying in schools, gay teens, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ, LGBTQ suicide, Social Justice Advocacy, suicide, Utah, Vigils | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Queer Bashing In Utah: Third Gay Man Attacked in Two Weeks

Scene of possible anti-gay hate crime attack in American Fork, Utah (KSL 5 News photo)

American Fork, Utah – A 32-year-old gay man was attacked by slur-yelling homophobes outside the beauty salon where he is employed as a stylist.  Fox 13 reports that Cameron Nelson was emptying garbage into a dumpster just after midnight on Thursday from the Metropolitan Salon when two or three attackers jumped him, beating and kicking him repeatedly while disparaging his sexual orientation.  Managing to get back inside the shop, Nelson laid down and tried to nurse his wounds until a co-worker arrived a few hours later, found him “covered in blood,” and called paramedics and the police.  American Forks Police Lieutenant Darren Falslev told reporters that Nelson was kicked several times.  He was treated for a broken nose, abrasions, bruises, and a series of other more minor injuries.  The Salt Lake Tribune interviewed another American Forks Police Officer, Sergeant Gregg Ludlow, who called the slurs hurled at Nelson “disgusting,” and that attack against him “quite repugnant.”  Later news reports are saying that this assault may be investigated as an anti-gay hate crime, in view of the overtly homophobic epithets aimed at the victim.  Sgt. Ludlow told Q Salt Lake, “It’s pretty early in the investigation but it’s a definite possibility that the crime could be considered a hate-related crime. The slurs were made and we promise to keep investigating until the attackers are caught. We are taking this very seriously.”  Nelson is certain he was targeted because of his sexual orientation, but did not know any of his assailants. Police are searching for a white male suspect about 5′ 10″ tall with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing cutoff shorts and combat boots.

American Fork, a quintessential Utah city of just under 30,000, was best know around the nation for the filming of classic movies, such as the 1984 hit “Footloose,” starring Kevin Bacon, and its 89.9% church-going citizenry.  Now, it becomes yet another Utah city experiencing a rash of anti-gay hate crimes along the Wasatch Front, a string of cities and towns in Northeast Utah where 80% of the state’s population resides.  Nelson’s friends and the residents of the city are “in shock” about the attack. If the investigation confirms Nelson was bashed because of his gay identity, his case will become the third such assault on gay men in Utah in the last two weeks.  Two Salt Lake City men have suffered similar attacks outside a local night club, most notably, 20-year-old Dane Hall, who was “curb checked” by his attackers on August 27, suffering a smashed cheekbone, splintered jaw, and 6 missing teeth.  The American Forks Police Department say that they have not yet made a connection between the Salt Lake City attacks and the assault that targeted Nelson, but they are definitely not ruling it out.

September 9, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, Utah | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gay Hate Crime Victim Gets Wide Community Support in Salt Lake City

Dane Hall, 20, Queer Bashed Outside Salt Lake City's Club Sound (Deseret News photo)

Salt Lake City, Utah –



Media Contact: Rev. Marian Edmonds, medmonds@cohslc.org, 385-628-9870.

(September 4, 2011, Salt Lake City) On Friday, September 2 openly gay Salt Lake City resident, Dane Hall was brutally attacked by a group of four men after he left Club Sound’s gay-themed night. Hall recalls hearing an anti-gay slur shouted in his direction right before one of the men punched him in the back of the head. The attack escalated to the point where one of the men bashed Hall’s teeth into the curb causing his jaw to be broken in three places.

“We are extremely saddened but not surprised at the recent bashing of Dane Hall. This attack, motivated by hate because Mr. Hall is gay is not an isolated incident here in Salt Lake. As followers of Jesus, the people of City of Hope stand with Dane Hall and all victims of oppression and hatred. Violence against people simply for being different for whatever reason must not be tolerated in this city,” said City of Hope Pastor, Julie Watson.

In response to this hate crime, the following educational opportunity and actions are being planned by City of Hope. All are welcome to attend and help shine the brightest light possible on this hate crime while we as a community help empower each other to walk into our own light and true potential. As the coalition of supporting groups and individuals around these activities grows, a revised list of supporters will be sent to media and the community.

  • Wednesday, September 7, 7-10 PM – Social Movement Workshop facilitated by Alan Bounville, who is currently in Salt Lake City as he walks across the country for gender and sexual orientation equality.

Location: 526 East Cleveland Ave (1440 So.) Salt Lake City, UT 84105

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=225930810789482

  • Friday, September 9, 8-10 PM – Fireside Vigil and Glowlight March to raise awareness for the recent queer bashing of Dane Hall. At 8 PM, members of the community of all faiths are invited to build a fire in Liberty Park. This act is designed to fill people’s spirit with hope for a transformed world – a world where all persons are fully liberated from violence and hate. Then, at 9 PM, the group will take glow sticks and walk the sidewalks through Salt Lake City, bearing images that promote love. While the group walks, songs will be sung, prayers will be prayed and images of Dane Hall’s injuries will be shown to make the public aware of why we, as a community desperately we need to walk into the light of a world free from hate.

Location: Liberty Park and surrounding area.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=205045246224926

At present the Salt Lake City police department has not announced that the bashing of Mr. Hall was in fact a crime of bias based on his perceived sexual orientation by the four attackers, something needed for this case to be prosecuted under the federal hate crimes law known as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“I am shocked that having slurs about one’s sexuality shouted at one while one’s face is being stomped into the ground is apparently not enough to classify Dane Hall’s merciless beating as a “hate crime,” says Priestess of 1734 Witchcraft and a member of the Utah Pride Interfaith Coalition, Maureen Aisling Duffy-Boose.

CITY OF HOPE – Formerly Cathedral of Hope, this new inclusive faith community is now renamed, reflecting its commitment to work in Salt Lake City, helping the hurting, speaking truth to power, and proclaiming God’s inclusive love for ALL persons.

September 7, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, Utah, Vigils | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gay Salt Lake City Man Savagely Attacked Outside Club

Dane Hall, 20, (center), Victim of Brutal "Curb Checking" Attack

Salt Lake City, Utah – August 26th, a gay man was beaten, robbed, and “curb checked” outside Club Sound, a nightclub that is gay-themed on Friday nights.  According to Q Salt Lake, Dane Hall, 20, an openly gay Salt Lake citizen, was surrounded by a gang of four men yelling anti-gay slurs.  One of the assailants punched Hall in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground.  Another grabbed his shirt and held him while repeatedly striking him.  Then, in a move that could have killed him, Hall was forced face-down on the concrete curb with his mouth open.  His attacker then stomped repeatedly on the back of his head, breaking out six of his teeth, and splintering his jaw, a savage act called “curb checking.”  The Urban Dictionary defines “curb checking” as “The act of placing an unconscious or immobile individual’s head against a curb or similar embankment with their mouth open and stepping on or kicking them in the head.” 

Since Hall’s mouth is still wired shut from the injury, he emailed Q Salt Lake the details of the assault from his hospital: “I could have died. And a piece of bone from my jaw was jammed into my brain, to make things worse.”  Hall continued with a plea for information, since the police have been slow to identify his attackers. “If anyone has any information leading to the arrest I am offering a $10,000 reward.”  Hospital bills are mounting to over $30,000 so far.  If the Salt Lake Police do not find the assailants, Hall could be saddled for the full amount of his medical bills. This far, no suspects have been named in the case. Salt Lake City Police said the case is “active” and “being looked into.”

A pattern of attacks against gay men is forming in Salt Lake in the vicinity of Club Sound.  On a Friday night in April of this year, a 21-year-old man, Jordan Corona, was assaulted outside the club and suffered a concussion.  Q Salt Lake reported on the April attack, and quoted Corona as saying, “I just want people to see this kind of stuff really does happen and it needs to be stopped immediately.”  Corona was initially treated as a criminal by the Salt Lake City Police, and refused the services of a nurse in jail after his mistaken arrest.  Repeated sloth on the part of police to investigate anti-gay hate crimes such as those perpetrated against Hall and Corona, as well as tendencies to blame the victims instead of acting to protect the gay community, are concerning to the LGBTQ residents of Salt Lake and the wider population.  Corona protested his treatment, and the police department has acted to rectify their mistakes.  It remains to be seen if the police will do any better for Dane Hall.

September 1, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, Utah | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gay Salt Lake City Man Savagely Attacked Outside Club


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