The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Black, Gay, Bashed

Via Keith, here’s the most recent story of a black gay man getting bashed.

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There was a possible hate crime over the weekend at the Jazzfest in downtown Salt Lake City. A man is seriously injured and witnesses say it’s because he’s gay.

Josh Shuck says he was tackled and his head slammed against the ground. He now has two crushed vertebrae. He doesn’t remember much from the fight but witnesses say it’s a hate crime.

… “These guys came by and they were pretty pretty drunk,” Shuck said.

Shuck says he didn’t know the guys but they sat down and the group talked briefly. Shuck says he didn’t like where the conversation was going and he and his friends made a move to leave. That’s when trouble started.

“One of them pushed me a little bit so I pushed him back.”

Then Shuck says he was blindsided.

“Out of nowhere another came and tackled me and threw me across the pavement,” he said.

Josh says the guy slammed his head against the ground. It’s what happened right before -the part Josh doesn’t quite remember- that most upset his friends who witnessed it.

“Before he shoved me and tackled me to the ground, he called me a fag,” Shuck said.

Josh Shuck is openly gay. His friends tell him the men made other slurs.

See the video for more details. Two crushed vertebra and a neck brace for six weeks. No big deal, though. Right? After all this kind of think has no direct connection to, say, a festering culture of anti-gay hatred, right? And since police are already on the case and know the individuals involved, all’s well. Right?

For the folks who still can’t wrap their brains around the LIFEbeat campaign and why it’s important, spare me any outrage you might be inclined to express over what happened to Josh Shuck or any of the people I named earlier. Spare me because it’s after the fact, and pointless. It won’t undo what happened to Josh Shuck any more than it will prevent the next inevitable attack.

The point is that what happened to Shuck didn’t happen in a vacuum. The guys who attacked him weren’t just bitten by a homo-hating bug that day. The violence directed at Shuck was born of a belief that people like him are worthless, should be attacked, and even killed. That belief is nursed in a thousand ways by a culture that continuously reinforces it, until it manifests itself in actions; sometimes deadly actions.

The only way to stop it is to confront it. The only way to prevent more attacks like what happened to Josh Shuck is to confront that culture whenever and wherever it’s found.

There was a time when gay people quietly accepted whatever was dished out to them, and for a long time nothing changed. Then some of us finally stood up for ourselves, gained visibility, won a few victories and gained enough strength to stand up for ourselves as a community. That’s also what saw us through the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, when many of us built a movement to fight a disease that many people saw fit to ignore so long as it was only killing us.

The lesson learned then is the same one learned long ago, and the same one practiced today: standing up, speaking, and (yes) acting up are sometimes the only way things change.

4 Comments

  1. It’s no surprise, here in Utah, these things well at least hate crime isn’t rare. I’ve seen several instances toward not just gays, but any so called minority in my school in SLC. The administration does little. It’s a tough fight to keeping things fair here.

  2. Great post.

    I’ve tried to explain this concept to people. You’ve done a wonderful job especially this passage:

    “The violence directed at Shuck was born of a belief that people like him are worthless, should be attacked, and even killed. That belief is nursed in a thousand ways by a culture that continuously reinforces it, until it manifests itself in actions; sometimes deadly actions.”

    There really is no difference between the type of hatred demonstrated via the Fred Phelps method or the legislative method with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or “Defense of Marriage” (and don’t get me started on the issues in the entertainment industry, perhaps the strongest contributer and longest reaching arm to the masses). It all helps to create a culture of exclusion and foster an enivronment where this type of violence is not only expected but in some ways compeltely accepted.

    I don’t know that I have much in the way of answers because it really is a complicated issue. All I really do know that the best way for the common person to start to contribute is to simply be who they are and never back down or be ashamed.

    (This is the first post I’ve read from you but I am looking forward to reading more)

  3. um I guess I would like to say I never thought it would happen to me!! when it did I was shocked!!
    just want to say thank you so everyone who helped me out and for QSALTLAKE for helping me still to this day!!

  4. i was one of the girlfriends at the Jazzfest with Josh and went with him to the ER. Just an update: We had preliminary court in June and jury trial is scheduled for July 16. I got my subpoena in the mail last week for witness testimony. The state has dropped any hate crime charges and are only persuing assault on city city property charges. hate crimes are nearly impossible to bring to trial. Thank you for speaking out about this and getting word of the disgusting behavior that evidences itself all too frequently out to your close friends and community.

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