This is from Facebook:
Last night Lauren Jurysta had a gun put in her face by homophobic assholes coming out of Pleasure Bar in Bloomfield. In her words “They called me a dyke bitch then pointed a gun at me.” This is the 2nd time someone coming out of the Pleasure Bar has done something to harm someone for being gay. There will be a rally there at 7pm on the corner of cedarville and liberty. This is important whether you know Lauren or not, as it could have been any one of us.
I don’t know any of the facts, so unable to report more than to say that this rally will happen, or I think it will happen.
This incident follows two incidents last year, one of which was in the same area of Bloomfield, but the fact that a gun was pulled suggests an escalation in violence and that makes this even more important.
However, from a very brief thread on Facebook, I wonder if there are actually two issues going on here.
- Fact: No one, GLBTQ or perceived to be GLBTQ deserves to be harrassed, bullied or bothered because of who they are or who others perceive them to be.
- Fact: When faced with a homophobe, especially a drunk homophobe, we each make choices about how we are going to respond to the injustice of being harrassed.
Person on Facebook: I really do not want to see this become an instance where people are saying or thinking “what did she do to deserve this?” or “this isn’t really a gay bashing”. No matter what, people have the right to stand up to homophobia without others accusing them of provoking violence. As bell hooks says, “Rage is an appropriate response to oppression.”
Thomas Waters: Why would anyone suggest that anyone deserved having a gun pointed at them? That is pretty ridiculous. Having a gun pointed at you is a crime and we can only expect to receive the type of help that we deserve rom authorites if a police report is filed. Can you show me or tell me who is accusing anyone of provoking violence?
Person on Facebook: No one yet in this instance. I am thinking back to previous gay-bashing incidents that were not taken seriously because the victims were flamboyantly dressed and/or “provoked” their attackers by not being quiet and taking shit.
Thomas Waters: Well, I am aware of 2 gay bashing incidents and in each case (one in Bloomfield and one in Highland Park) they were BOTH taken very seriously. Everyone deserves to walk down a street, wait for a bus or visit a local business ad be treated with dignity and respect. When police reportsd are filed and contain adequate information, it becomes easier for the police and other authorities to take action. In this current incident, a gun was pulled which is a real escalation in violence against a member of the community and that is a very big deal that should be taken very seriously.
I’m interested in knowing if a police report was filed, and if it was how did the police handle themselves and this situation? I’m interested in knowing if the police report contained adequate information so that the police could take action, investigate and help make the city a safer place for LGBTQ and those perceived to be LGBTQ.
Violence happens everywhere, and anti-LGBTQ violence can happen even in very gay places like West Hollywood. The way places get safer is for all of us to stand up and not accept violence against people for any reason.
But I’m also concerened about the re-writing of history. In both of the previous incidents authorities took the situations very seriously. In the case of the Bloomfield bashing, no police report was filed, and so the police could not investigate. However, because of the severity of what happened, and the accusations made against some folks, I am told that traffic cameras were reviewed which showed the Queen actually threw the first punch. He did get the shit kicked out of him, whic no one deserves, but one has to ask if throwing the first puch is a good idea when facing a group of drunk straight dudes. Because no police report was filed, how could this be taken any more seriously?
In the case of the Highland Park incident, everyone, especially the police, myself, and councilman Patrick Dowd, took this extremely seriously. A police report was filed, and because of that one detail, the situation was used to really look at problems with the way that the police can respond to gay bashings. This resulted in Zone 5 committing to come and take police reports in a place that is considre4d to be safe by a victim so that a victim isn’t subjected to a harsh and inhospitable experience at the police station.
In neither case did anyone take anything that happened as not serious.
Pittsburgh is becoming a very gay and gay friendly city. It is in the best interests of everyone that whenever any incident happens it can be investigated fully and any steps taken to stop futher actions. Perhaps more details of this incident will become evident at the rally this evening.