Earlier this month, the UK government released the results of a nationwide LGBT+ survey which showed that two thirds of respondents would be afraid to hold hands with their partner in public.
The statistics made headline news, but the reality is that most LGBT+ people weren’t surprised; abuse, or at least fear of abuse, can all too often be just part of our daily lives.
A recent viral video, filmed in Portland, Oregon, and shared on Facebook by a user known as Wendy Blitz Dragoon, exemplified this abuse at its worst.
The clip depicts various threats of violence and countless insults being hurled at the couple; in a lengthy follow-up post, Dragoon wrote a witty story to describe the events which took place before the events in the video.
In a nutshell, Dragoon and her partner stumbled upon a lost dog and quickly set about trying to locate its owner. Upon coming to an intersection, they stopped to check traffic and then crossed. As they walked into the road, Dragoon writes that a distant truck deliberately sped up, seemingly with the intention of frightening them.
Naturally, they called out: “What the f*ck, dude?” A boy inside the truck then replied, “Get out of the road, you f*cking dykes,” before making a U-turn and pulling up.
What happened next was captured on camera.
In the disturbing clip, the unnamed boy hurls repeated insults at the couple and tells them to “go scissor each other.” (“Oh, we will,” Dragoon replies, “it’s going to be great!”) He follows up with: “I’ll spit in your f*cking face.”
Police were already at the scene as Dragoon and her partner were attempting to give a statement, but reportedly did little to alleviate the situation other than to tell the women to ignore it – despite the fact that, as Dragoon clarified in another post, there was clear enough evidence to at least press some form of official charge. She says that the police officer simply stated: “Saying mean things isn’t against the law.”
They later discovered that the boy was their neighbour, and experienced issues the same evening when he disturbed their dog by lighting fireworks from his back porch into a tree. The police were called on the boy once again; when neighbours told policemen he had harassed Dragoon and her wife earlier in the day, the officer responded they couldn't be sure it was hate crime. Instead, he asked: "How would he know you were gay?"
Despite the hideous ordeal Dragoon and her partner went through, she has responded admirably with pleas not to threaten their harasser with violence.
In a statement issued exclusively to indy100, she said:
I think people are right to be angry and we should be using our anger to be as productive as possible and to push for equality and love.
Our [US] administration has good people feeling scared and bigots are feeling brave.
We are seeing too much of this open hatred, and it needs to stop.