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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Are gay bashings on the rise in Vancouver, British Columbia?

It's been barely two months since hundreds of people attended a rally in Vancouver's West End, to support gay bashing victim, Jordan Smith. Now comes news (see below) of another gay bashing in the Davie Village area of the West End. Bordered by the waters and beaches of English Bay, the West End is home to much of Vancouver's GLBT, including my partner CJ and I. Since the rally there have been three reported incidents of gay bashing crimes in our area. We are very concerned for our own safety as well as that of our GLBT neighbours.

It's disturbing to know that these criminals have no qualms about brazenly committing their crimes in our community. Police say they could do more if gays reported these crimes (most bashings go unreported). However, the experience of Chad Wilkinson who was gay bashed on November 8th by 4 attackers near his downtown Vancouver residence, doesn't bear this out. Wilkinson reported the crime to police, but the police constable he spoke with on the phone was "reluctant to identify this as a hate crime." Wilkinson said that "He [the constable] feels that because I was by myself, and I don't really give off the air of a homosexual that much, that he just thought that those comments [from the attackers] were general comments." Is it any wonder that most West End GLBT still don't have confidence in the police or the legal system when it comes to reporting crimes committed against us?

Xtra.ca's Natasha Barsotti reports:
(Vancouver, Canada) Another West End gay man says he was called a fag and sucker punched as he walked hand in hand with his boyfriend near the corner of Davie and Burrard Steets on Dec 4th. Chris Hiller (pictured), 25, says he and his boyfriend had left Numbers, a gay bar on Davie Street, and were walking south on Burrard Street opposite the Esso gas station at around 8 pm when the alleged attack occurred. Hiller says he became aware of someone walking behind them but "thought nothing of it." All of a sudden, Hiller says, "my friend goes, 'Come on, Chris, let's keep walking, and next thing I know I'm on the ground with my face covered in blood and dazed, and my friend's gone to get help." Hiller says before he hit the ground, all he heard was a male voice allegedly saying, 'You fag, I'm going to beat the shit out of you, I don't like you, stay away from me. Don't even come near me, you fag.'" Hiller says he remembers being hit twice, once on the jaw, which knocked him to the ground where he hit his head, and a second blow that caught him in the teeth. READ MORE

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