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Getting Gay-Bashed Isn’t Just For Gays

Jim Burroway

October 9th, 2007

Terrance Heath’s latest entry in his LGBT Hate Crimes Project is a profile on National Guardsman Matthew Ashcroft, who was beaten with a baseball bat outside a gay bar in Newport, Kentucky, an old historic Cincinnati suburb, in June, 2004. What makes this case so interesting is that Matthew is straight. But he was attacked while coming to the aid of Leon Hughes, a gay man who was being beaten outside the bar. Ashcraft suffered a fractured skull, cranial bleeding, and a blood clot on his brain:

Ashcraft was uninsured, and his medical bills topped $29,000. A fund was set up at U.S. Bank in Newport to help with medical expenses. A benefit for Aschraft was held at Woolly’s, on July 7, 2004, where about $200 was raised to help with his medical bills. Ashcraft attended, but became ill during the benefit and had to be taken to the hospital. Woolly’s owner Rick Petri said he planned to host more benefits. Another bar owner, Carl Fox, reported receiving a death threat in the mail after speaking in favor of gay rights on television. Ashcraft suffered paralyzing headaches following the attack and was discharged from the National Guard, but hoped to re-enlist in one year.

Next time someone tries to tell you that hate crime legislation based on sexual orientation unfairly elevates one class of people over another, tell them about Matthew Ashcraft.

Comments

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M.Christian
October 10th, 2007 | LINK

As a straight victim of quite a few gay-bashings I completely sympathize. If anything, my experiences have made me more understanding and empathetic to gay issues — though it’s a procedure I would not recommend … unless, of course, it’s delivered to bashers.

ebohlman
October 10th, 2007 | LINK

Let’s not forget Barry Winchell, the soldier who was fatally bashed because he was dating a transsexual woman. He was perceived as gay, even though he was actually straight.

IIRC, 4 out of 5 high-school students who face anti-gay harassment are actually straight. The main reason Kurt Cobain was a vocal supporter of gay rights was that he used to get beat up just because he had some gay friends.

Samantha Davis
October 10th, 2007 | LINK

What I want to know is why the National Guard isn’t at least helping cover the medical bills.

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