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15 Brutal Attacks That Show Anti-LGBT Hate Is Still Very Real

15 Brutal Attacks That Show Anti-LGBT Hate Is Still Very Real

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LGBT people were attacked, harassed, and brutalized this year, but very few states in the U.S. specifically classify these assaults as hate crimes.

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Mitchell Pope: October 2014

Brooklyn, N.Y., resident Mitchell Pope was attacked by an unknown man October 12. Pope says he thought the man was a construction worker in the area and therefore let him into the lobby of his apartment building in the Crown Heights neighborhood. When the man entered he began yelling antigay slurs and attacked Pope in the stairwell with a hammer. The attacker fled when Pope began yelling for help, but the man stole Pope's phone before leaving the building.

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Zachary Hesse and Andrew Haught: September 2014

Zachary Hesse and Andrew Haught were attacked in Philadelphia September 11 by a group of people. The two men, a couple, were walking to a frozen yogurt shop in the Center City area when one man in the group reportedly began to verbally harass them. Hesse confronted the individual about what he said, which led to a fight. Haught was hospitalized, requiring surgery and having his jaw wired shut. Twitter users tracked down the attackers via a picture posted and tagged of the group at a restaurant in the area before the attack. Three people, Philip Williams, Kevin Harrigan, and Kathryn Knott, were arrested in connection with the attack and will face trial on felony aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and criminal conspiracy charges.

Knott became the face of the alleged attackers after the investigation revealed that Knott is the daughter of Karl Knott, chief of police in Chalfont Borough, in neighboring Bucks County. It was also reported that Kathryn Knott's Twitter account contained homophobic and racist tweets, and she was fired from her job as an emergency room technician at Lansdale Hospital because she had tweeted photos that could violate patient privacy. She further tweeted that she received special treatment because of her father's position on the police force, leading to an investigation of Karl Knott.

The attack prompted a call to change hate-crimes law in Pennsylvania, which does not cover attacks motivated by the victim's real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.


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Jean Claude "Jo" Manseau and Jake Heaton: November 2014

Jean Claude "Jo" Manseau and Jake Heaton were attacked by a group of men in Manchester, England, after singing songs from the musical Wicked on a public transit vehicle. The group, reportedly consisting of at least 15 people, began yelling antigay slurs at the two friends and followed them when they got off the tram and surrounded them. Manseau was knocked unconscious during the attack. Heaton was able to escape and call for help at a nearby store. In the weeks following, two people were arrested in connection with the attack, and supporters of Manseau and Heaton held a mass sing-along in the victims' honor.

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Thailand Warr: November 2014

Thailand Warr was attacked by a group of seven people in the lobby of her Houston apartment building in November. Warr was preparing for a scheduled performance at the Houston Improv when she twice heard loud knocks at her door. There was no one at the door each time Warr opened it to check if someone was there. As Warr left, a group of five men and two women brutally attacked her; one stabbed her above the eye with a pocketknife, and others punched her, resulting in injuries to her head and chest. One of the men was the son of a tenant in the same building.

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Victorville, Calif., Man: October 2014

A gay man, whose name has not been released, was beaten and robbed by three men in Victorville, Calif., October 28. Two of the accused attackers, Robert Anthony Fraire, 22, and an unidentified 17-year-old, were arrested a few days later, and Ethan Walker, 23 (pictured), suspected of planning the assault, was taken into custody this past weekend. Walker reportedly befriended the victim, then found out he was gay, and lured him to the site where he was attacked.

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Victims of Hell's Kitchen Attacker: September 2014
A man being called the Hell's Kitchen Attacker targeted at least two men in the New York neighborhood in September. The assailant, described as a 25-year-old Hispanic or white male, attacked one man September 7 on West 48th Street and 10th Avenue, and another September 14 on West 48th Street between 8th and 9th avenues. Both men reported being hit in the back of the head by the attacker around 4 a.m. The man attacked September 7 says police officers did not take him seriously and thought he was intoxicated.

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Saloon Patrons: September 2014

Wayne Steven Odegard, 43, showed up at a popular gay club, the Saloon, in Minneapolis one night in September and quickly began harassing patrons. When he saw a gay couple holding hands, he began yelling antigay slurs at them and produced a CO2-powered BB gun. He then shot two men in the legs before trying to run from the scene. Saloon security guard Tyler Erickson caught Odegard just a few yards from the club. Odegard pleaded guilty to making terroristic threats and has been sentenced to six months in jail, followed by five years of probation.

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Connor Huntley: May 2013

On his first night in a new apartment in Margate, England, Connor Huntley was attacked in his sleep by his roommate with a claw hammer, with such intense force that Huntley arrived at the hospital with the hammer stuck in his skull and had to have a portion of his skull removed because of the injury. Huntley sustained brain damage. The roommate, Joseph Williams, 21, reportedly attacked Huntley because he was gay and sometimes wore feminine clothing. The two men had been put together by the apartment's landlord. In September 2014, Williams was found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

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Mark Rutstein: July 2014
Mark Rutstein was attacked by an unidentified woman at a Washington, D.C., Safeway grocery store July 2. The woman approached Rutstein and punched him several times in the face while calling him a "faggot." Rutstein grabbed the woman by her hair to stop the attack, and he says that is when employees of the store approached and demanded that he let her go. When he did, Rutstein says, the employees escorted the attacker to the door and let her go. Rutstein says the police officer who wrote the report was hostile and disparaging, making him feel the attack was not taken seriously.

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Little Five Points/MARTA Antitrans Attacks: May/July 2014

A transgender woman was brutally assaulted July 2 in Atlanta's Little Five Points district in front of a skateboard shop. The attacker stomped on the woman as others watched the attack unfold. Apparently, no police report was filed in connection with the incident. In late May, two transgender women were attacked on the Atlanta subway by a group of men. Janell Crosby and Tyra Woods were on the MARTA rail system when a verbal altercation then escalated into physical violence. Other passengers on the train filmed the attack, during which one of the women was stripped naked. Two men were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

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Christin Howard: June 2014

Christin Howard was attacked during Motor City Pride June 8 while walking with friends along Detroit's Riverwalk. Howard was confronted by a group of men who began yelling antigay slurs at the 20-year-old hairdresser. The group then approached Howard and began punching and kicking him as a bystander recorded the attack. Howard suffered a bloodied eye, a broken finger, and cuts to his face. At one point, one of the attackers reportedly said he had a gun. Detroit police arrested a 16-year-old male in connection with the attack.

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"Enslaved" Transgender Woman: June 2014

David Rodriguez Jr., Ambre Tubbs Lomas, and Christina Marie Harper (clockwise from top left) were arrested June 4 for enslaving a transgender woman in Louisiana for several months. They were charged with human trafficking, aggravated battery, kidnapping, and false imprisonment. The victim is said to have moved in with Rodriguez and Harper willingly after meeting the couple online. After she moved in, Rodriguez reportedly convinced her to sign her assets over to him, and that's when the torture being alleged began. Police say Rodriguez tattooed the victim and registered her as a slave on a website. The victim was forced to do household chores and perform sexual acts while enduring beatings, shocks with a stun gun, and having initials carved into her skin. She was fed just once a day and forced to drink from a limited supply of water and urine. Lomas, who did not live at the residence, is accused of regularly participating in the attacks.

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Quinn Chrzan: June 2014
Quinn Chrzan was attacked by a man on the Atlanta Beltline while on his bike. Chrzan says the man, Michael Sanders, was upset that Chrzan was riding too close to him, so he pushed Chrzan against a gate. When Sanders had him pinned to the gate, he punched Chrzan repeatedly and yelled antigay slurs. Sander turned himself in to police June 4.

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J.P. Masterson: March 2014

J.P. Masterson and his partner, Peter Moore, were attacked at the West Fourth Street-Washington Square subway station in New York City March 2. The couple, from New Jersey, were going home from a dinner celebrating their 10th anniversary when they were confronted by a stranger who asked if they were gay. The man reportedly became enraged when the couple ignored him. He said, "I fucking hate faggots," and began punching Masterson. Masterson suffered several broken bones in his face.

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Neighbours, Seattle: January 2014

The year started with an arson attack on a Seattle gay bar, Neighbours, January 1 at 12:30 a.m. As a celebratory crowd welcomed in the New Year, the arsonist, later identified as Musab Masmari, covered a staircase with gasoline and set it afire. About 700 guests were evacuated, but no injuries were reported. Masmari claimed to have been drunk during the attack, which he said he did not remember committing. Prosecutors argued that he was motivated by homophobia. In May he pleaded guilty to arson, and in July he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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