Monday, November 19, 2012

Suspected Anti-Gay Hate Crime at UVA

In many ways Charlottesville, Virginia is one of the most progressive communities in Virginia.  But unfortunately, between some of the rednecks from the surrounding area and homophobes encouraged to display hate and bigotry towards LGBT Virginians by the incessant anti-gay propaganda of The Family Foundation, the Republican Party of Virginia, and far too many churches in Virginia, one is virtually never completely safe even in a liberal haven like Charlottesville as one UVA student learned the hard way. As a University of Virginia Police Department release indicates, a student was assaulted right on the University grounds:

The University of Virginia Police Department is investigating an assault that occurred near Brooks Hall on Nov. 15, at approximately 10:15 p.m. This crime appears to have been motivated by bias based on slurs spoken by the suspect to the victim regarding the victim's sexual orientation just moments before the assault.

The suspect, who was walking with a group of people, struck the victim in the face and then continued on foot towards the Corner. The victim was treated for injuries at Elson Student Health.

The suspect is described as a white male with light, dirty blond hair and facial hair, possibly a goatee. He is approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs between 150 and 160 lbs. At the time of the incident he was wearing a t-shirt with a UVA logo and possibly a hoodie.

As is reporting the incident has riled LGBT students at the University some of whom are considering self-defense training:

A group of students at the University of Virginia is demanding an end to anti-gay violence on grounds. The reaction comes after university police say a student was hit in the face Thursday night near Brooks Hall in what investigators suspect was an anti-gay hate crime. 

The students we talked to Sunday all agreed that UVA is overall an accepting community but they say it only takes one incident like this to threaten their sense of security. UVA Queer Student Union members say they are done tolerating hateful attacks on grounds.

Wo Chan, a member of the UVA Queer Student Union said, "I'm just outraged that this could still happen, that there are people out there that think it's OK to just assault someone because of their sexual identity."

Thursday's attack was not the first of its kind at UVA. In 2009, a student was attacked on Stadium Road by five young men who were yelling homosexual slurs. 

Representatives from the UVA Queer Student Union say that this time education is key to keeping these events from happening in the future.  Katie Mayfield, a member of the queer student union stated, "We're actually planning self-defense training at an upcoming workshop for the Queer Student Union."

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