Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jake Raynard and the Gay Bashers

The other day I told you the story of Jake Raynard, a gay man who was savagely beaten by a gang of cowardly thugs in Thunder Bay.

Well tonight I have a good news update. Jake is out of hospital and has an inspiring message for other victims of violent hate.

This story isn’t just mine. I’m sure there’s many other people out there who have encountered a lot of the same problems that I have in my life, and have encountered hate-related crimes and a lot of discrimination based on that."

"I would urge them to come forward and make their stories known and have it so we can start to heal as a community and start to move forward beyond this kind of hate."

You know I have to admit something. If those cowards had done this to me....

His attackers, who yelled words like "faggot" and "vagina" at him, chased him into an alley. Raynard grabbed a brick for self-defence. It went black from there.

Raynard awoke the next afternoon at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre with a broken jaw, broken eye socket and broken upper patella. He underwent facial reconstruction surgery and had two metal plates, nine screws and a wire used to put him back together again.

All I would be thinking is how I was going to track them down one by one and beat them bloody. Even if it took years. And of course, where the fuck were the police when I needed them?

A source told that it took about an hour for police to respond to the emergency call, placed by employees of the fast-food restaurant.

But luckily for me there are people like Jake, and so many other gay people, to remind me that violence is not the answer, because we are better than the brutish, cowardly, gay bashers who hunt us like animals.

And because we are like that, out of something horrible can come something BEAUTIFUL.

Like this:

Dave Ivany, director of Gender Issues Centre at Lakehead University said that since Raynard’s story has come out, more people are starting to tell their stories about dealing with homophobia in Thunder Bay.

Or this Facebook support group that was set up by a guy named Juan

It has been agreed that this group will serve 2 purposes:

1. To support Jake, make him feel safe and welcome in his hometown, put a face to hate crime, and act on his behalf as he desires.

2. To stand together after this attack on our community and make public statements against hate crime, and to assert that WE define this community NOT the attackers.

Which is so right and so EXCELLENT.

Good for Juan. Good for Jake. Good for all the people who are coming forward to tell their stories.

The cowardly bullies may attack us. I definitely need to be a better person.

But we're fighting for a kinder, gentler world for everyone.

And we are not AFRAID...


Scott in Montreal said...

Thanks for the update and the link to the FB group. Jake Raynard's story needs to be heard far and wide.

CK said...

I'm glad Jake is not letting this horrific experience scare him from living his life on his terms.

Stories like what happened to Jake, especially in this day & age when we're supposed to be more educated & tolerant, makes me wonder if we're regressing as a society. Especially in Canada?? I lose hope then & think I've gotten lost in the southern U.S. redneck land.

Simon said...

Hi Scott...yes you're right Jake's story, and the way people have supported him, I hope will send out a message to gay people in smaller communities everywhere, and help them to stand up to the bullies and love who they want to love...

Simon said...

Hi CK...yes I'm glad that Jake didn't retreat into silence like others who have been gay bashed sometimes do.
As for the greater struggle to build world free from bigotry, these things get me down but I remain optimistic that we will overcome...

Anonymous said...

Apparently it wasn't a hate crime... Jake is a fool and a liar! Jake Raynard the LIAR!