Several violent attacks on the LGBT community have occurred in the days after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality.
As expected, there are lots of people who are not happy with the Supreme Court's ruling last Friday, giving equal marriage rights to same-sex couples across the country. Conservative politicians and organizations immediately lashed out through multiple media channels. Unfortunately, physical attacks have also occurred.
On Sunday, June 28, Lucas Dylan Wilhelmson was charged with assault in North Carolina after entering an LGBT bar, criticizing the Supreme Court's ruling, and attacking the bar's owner. According to Qnotes, the bar's general manager explained that the attacker came in looking to start a fight. "From the second he started talking to people, it was downhill from there. He was looking for trouble. He said he was straight, but you could tell he obviously had deep issues from what he was saying and how he was acting. When he came in, he did not seem friendly at all." He was released after posting a $3,000 bail.
Southern states aren't the only places where attacks on the LGBT community occur. Incidents still happen in friendly places like San Francisco. Over the weekend, a bystander was shot at a Pride event in San Francisco. Even though reports claim the attack wasn't related to the Pride festivities, it's hard to ignore the event's location, or that shootings are becoming an annual Pride occurrence in San Francisco.
In Seattle, a couple was also attacked at a Pride event over the weekend. Patrick Dettling (image, top) and Stevens Briggs say a group of three men and two women attacked them while yelling out homophobic slurs. According to KOMO news, Dettling has a broken nose, cuts, and bruises. Briggs lost a tooth in the struggle and has a broken finger.
On Sunday, also in Seattle, a man wearing rainbow-colored beads says he was called a homophobic slur, and his attacker, placing a gun to his stomach, asked, "is your life worth that much?" Police booked the suspect on a hate crimes charge.
The Seattle Police report that later Sunday evening "a man and woman attacked a transgender victim." The "suspects approached and asked 'did you enjoy your parade?' followed by an anti-gay slur. The male suspect then punched the victim in the face several times as the woman jumped on the victim's back. The attack left the victim sprawled on the sidewalk. The male suspect put his foot on the victim's head before fleeing the scene with his accomplice."
Police arrested one of the two suspects, also on a hate crimes charge.
In Cincinnati, a pro LGBT business was vandalized on Sunday. The Bromwell antique store was proudly displaying pride colors during the offense, which many people believe is the reason the store was hit. It was the only business targeted on the street. Even though it's a big coincidence that a pro LGBT business was vandalized shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, the police are not treating it as a hate crime.
Meanwhile, on Monday night members of the LGBT community and their supporters met at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, MO for a town hall meeting to address violence against the community. It's important that we celebrate the recent win with marriage equality, but it's also important to remember that not everyone agrees with the ruling, and when emotions are high, people can react. Remaining aware and cautious over the next few weeks would be a good idea. Use the buddy system when going out, and remember to report all hate crimes to the police and media. It's important to address these attacks immediately and inform the community when they are happening.
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