Rashawn & Beyond: Anti-Violence News for Queer People of Color

The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund aims to establish a sustainable tribute to Rashawn that promotes critical thought about the impact of violence and intolerance, particularly upon queer communities of African descent.

Through this blog, we provide action alerts, event postings and breaking news as a means of informing these communities in ways that enable them to combat racism and homophobia.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Beating, shooting mar black gay pride festivities

Detroit police investigating alleged hate crimes
By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
Originally printed 8/3/2006 (Issue 1431 - Between The Lines News)
PULL QUOTE: "We as an entire community have to step up and stand up for those of us who cannot, will not or are unable for whatever reason to protect themselves."
- Grace McClelland, executive director of the Ruth Ellis Center
DETROIT - It was much "Hotter than July" last weekend for Detroit's LGBT community, but not for the happy reasons intended by the Detroit Black Pride Society. Instead, at least one gay man and one transgender woman were victims alleged hate crimes.
At around 11 p.m. on July 28, Julia Lynn Marsh, 19, says she was robbed and assaulted by three men within sight of her home at the Ruth Ellis Center's transitional living facility.
Marsh said that her attackers said, "You want to dress like a woman? We'll treat you like one," and that she was hit in the head with a crowbar as she escaped. Marsh said that her purse was stolen during the assault.
Despite the fact that Grace McClelland, the center's executive director, and Marsh herself say that two officers responded the scene, the Detroit Police Department was unable to locate a police report on the incident as of press time.
The violence continued through the early hours of Saturday morning. At about 2:30 a.m., a Detroit gay man, who asked that his name not be used, was shot in the stomach during a robbery outside of the Woodward. The victim said that he was shot while pursuing a man who had stolen a pair of Cartier glasses he was wearing. The thief ran behind a second man, who shot the victim.
"The guy who shot me, he said something like, 'Get off me, fag,'" the victim told BTL from his room at Henry Ford Hospital.
A witness at the scene told BTL that in addition to the thief and the shooter, two other men were involved in the robbery and shooting.
Detroit Police Department spokesman 2nd Deputy Chief James Tate confirmed the shooting and said that officers arrested four men in a vehicle matching the description given at the scene near Six Mile and Oakland. Tate said that no weapon was found, and that according to the police report a total of five men were involved in the robbery and shooting. As of press time there was no information available on an arraignment for the suspects in the case.
Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of the Triangle Foundation, said he received reports of "several instances" of anti-gay violence during the weekend and that his organization is looking into them.
McClelland had strong words about the incident and about the LGBT community's response to violence against it.
"This was a horrific incident," she said about the beating and robbery of Marsh. "A young transgender woman cannot be safe walking down her own block to her own home. At least not in this part of Detroit. Even more unfortunate is the fact that this was just one of many (alleged) gay bashings that occurred throughout the city over black gay pride week."
"We as an entire community have to step up and stand up for those of us who cannot, will not or are unable for whatever reason to protect themselves," she added. "The community's got to stop sitting on its heels around these young people south of Eight Mile."
Speak OUT
If you have been a victim of anti-gay violence or police harassment, contact the Triangle Foundation at (313) 537-3323.


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