I just spent some time on the phone with Veruca, a pittsburgh performer who was gay bashed in the Bloomfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh last night.  A number of details have been emerging, not all of which are fully accurate, so I wanted to get the story, or as much as I could directly from the person who was bashed.

There is a rally this evening outside of the Pleasure Bar on Liberty Avenue at 9PM.

Veruca and 2 other friends were in drag, and had been at the Brillo Box, another club in the Lawrenceville/Bloomfield area. About 1:30 AM, they had driven down Liberty Ave and parked in front of the Allure shop, which is across the street from the Pleasure Bar, and were headed to the Castle. A woman friend of theirs, Eva happened along and may have been headed to the same place. Outside the Pleasure Bar, were 3 drunks who immediately began yelling slurs and taunts at Veruca and her friends. Quickly it escalated from taunts to a physical altercation in the street and in front of the Pleasure Bar. Veruca was punched and at one point fell (heels are a bitch to stand on in a fight), where, on the ground she was kicked and hit repeatedly. She doesn’t remember a whole lot, and much of what she knows about the attack came from her friend Cherry who was also there.

At one point the manager came out of the Pleasure bar and pulled the three drunks off of Veruca and told them to get lost. He refused to allow them back in the bar. Veruca and her friends started to walk away during this, but the drunks followed them and caught up with them a bit farther down the street and began the beating all over again. If I got this correctly, Eva, Cherry, Veruca- everyone was hit in the attack, not just Veruca.

It has been reported elsewhere, that the Pleasure Bar bouncer did nothing, but Veruca was clear with me that the manager from there was extremely helpful, and the Pleasure Bar has gay employees. Any outrage over this needs to be directed towards stopping violence, and not against this one business establishment.

Crimes against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender people happen everywhere. It could be in the smallest most conservative place, or in the biggest gay mecca, like West Hollywood. Yet, no matter where, violence like this is unacceptable, and the solution is for the community to rise up and demand an end to these types of happenings.

Veruca believed that Eva had called the police, but ended up on hold and so it was of no help at all. He also believes that the Pleasure Bar manager called the cops, but that is unconfirmed at the moment. But Veruca says, that the police frighten her. A few years ago, she was attacked in a diner, where, when the police arrived, she was treaded as if she had been the criminal, and so she doesn’t have much faith in the police.

Each and every person should be able to walk down a sidewalk and be left alone. No one should be the target of homophobic slurs  and angry words, let alone physical violence. And the solution is to be out and proud. To refuse to back down and be afraid, but willing to demand respect and to be treated as equals to everyone else. The rally tonight is one step in that process.

5 Comments

  1. tcwaters says:

    This is a bad thing that happened and no one should be treated like this however, I also don't think that the facts suggest that anyone within the LGBT community needs to feel unsafe because of it.

    I will be happy to participate in any meeting, but I think the real work to be done is on building awareness within the Bloomfield neighborhood where there are many LGBT folks living.

    Violence can happen anywhere, even in the areas that we might think are the most safe for LGBT or for anyone. The more we take “ownership” of our neighborhoods, and let others know that we will not be intimidated, we will make progress.

  2. Thanks Tom for your help to get this important story out there…
    its ONE month befor PR!DE LGBT people need to feel safe.
    I spoke with City council President Doug Sheilds who suggested a sit down with the mayor and members from the Delta Foundation…I know I'll do my very best to be there!
    Thanks for lending your voice to this issue.
    NOH8

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