Couple Viciously Gay Bashed in Vancouver
In the latest anti-gay assault in Canada, a male couple were brazenly attacked and beaten on their own doorstep after asking a man not to urinate on their building.
Canadian GLBT news site Xtra! reported on June 14 that Peter Regier and his male partner David Holtzman were assaulted at around 11:00 p.m. on June 12 by a pair of men who uttered anti-gay slurs before launching their assault against the men. The attack was apparently triggered by Holtzman asking the men not to urinate. "David objected and said, ’Do you really need to pee there? I live here, this is my building,’" Regier told the press. That was when the verbal abuse began, with the men--who were drinking--hurling invective such as "fucking faggots" and "cocksuckers" at the couple. Then the two men physically assaulted Regier and Holtzman.
"I want to make this clear; this was not a fight," Regier told Xtra. "This was on our doorstep. We were attacked and savagely beaten." According to Regier, "One attacked me first. The other went for David."
Holtzman said that during the assault he was "huddled up in a fetal position," adding that his assailant "hit me in the back of the head at least 50 times."
The assailants broke off the attack and left when onlookers approached, the article said. The men were treated for their injuries at a hospital, where Regier needed to have a scalp laceration stapled shut. Holtzman was bitten in the attack; he also needed a CT scan; both men were concussed. "We thought he has a brain injury, and there’s still something a bit wrong with his vision, so we’re monitoring that," Regier told the press with regard to Holtzman.
Regier went on to say that the police seemed to be wavering on how they would proceed with an investigation into the assault. "They were giving what I would think would be mixed messages whether they would follow up on the leads, and that’s not acceptable." Added Regier, "It’s now the time to act and respond strongly to this," he says. "We are hopeful these guys will be found and charges laid."
"We are in the process of assigning detectives to the file, and they’ll be following up with them very shortly, I imagine," said police spokesperson Lindsey Houghton.
"Vancouver is a wonderfully diverse city and there is zero tolerance for any action or behavior that discriminates or harms people for their beliefs, ethnicity or sexuality. It is completely unacceptable," the mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, stated on June 14, reported CTV News that same day. Added the mayor, "There is zero tolerance for any action or behavior that discriminates or harms people for their beliefs, ethnicity or sexuality."
The article recounted a 2008 gay bashing incident in Vancouver, in which Michael Kandola attacked Jordan Smith. The assault was found to be a hate crime on April 30 of this year. The next day, the Canadian media reported that the assailant had been sentenced to one year in prison for the attack.
Media accounts said that Smith and his boyfriend had been walking along the street holding hands. Several young men confronted them and yelled anti-gay insults; Kandola punched Smith, breaking his jaw. The judge in the case, British Columbia Supreme Court justice Joel Groves, called the attack "vicious and unprovoked," and took note of how Kandola had launched the assault. "It is a cowardly-like approach, sneaking up on someone from behind," the judge said of how Kandola circled around to take Smith by surprise.
Spate of Anti-Gay Violent Crime
Canada has been hit by a spate of anti-gay violence in recent years. In Windsor, two episodes of gay bashing took place within two weeks last month. In mid-May, Chris Rabideau was set upon by two men who beat and robbed him; the men shouted anti-gay epithets during the attack. On May 31, two men were assaulted by an individual who, together with two others, hurled anti-gay abuse at them in a pizza restaurant. Though only one of the abusers physically attacked the men, he left one victim with facial injuries severe enough to require reconstructive surgery, reported Xtra! on May 31.
Last October, 27-year-old Christopher Skinner, an openly gay man, was beaten by a number of men who emerged from a black SUV. While Skinner lay on the ground, the men got back into the vehicle and deliberately drive over him. Skinner died later in the hospital. It was only hours later that Skinner’s fiancée, Ryan Cook, learned of Skinner’s murder.
Last September, a gay Ontario man who met a prospective model was given a ride in the man’s truck. The driver suddenly launched into an assault on the passenger, striking him repeatedly and saying, "Because you’re gay you need to be punished, I’m going to fucking kill you, and you’re a faggot." The victim leapt from the vehicle and was taken to the hospital with lacerations, bruises, and a dislocated shoulder.
Four days later, another Ontario man was attacked, this time by a mob of young men who was viciously beaten with a brick and suffered multiple facial contusions and fractures.
The trend has shown up in a recent study of violent crime rates in the nation. Hate crimes spiked by 35% in a one-year period, leaping up in number from 2007 to 2008, reported the Canadian Press on June 14. A little more than half of those crimes targeted victims because of their race; a quarter were motivated by the victim’s religion; and around a sixth were driven by anti-gay animus. But the number of anti-gay hate crimes shot up 100% between 2007 and 2008, the article said, and of anti-gay hate crimes, three-quarters involved violence rather than vandalism or other forms of criminal activity; in contrast, only 38% of the hate crimes motivated by race were violent in nature, and only a quarter of hate crimes targeting religious minorities involved violence.