Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dear Portland 'Phobes: Enough Already!

The City of Roses' reputation as a progressive, forward-thinking city was once again marred on Saturday as another anti-gay attack struck the downtown area, with two men beaten in Old Town and another two men in custody facing charges of assault and intimidation.

Shawn Siefke and Christian Sanchez-Villavencio were walking on NW Flanders when they stopped and asked a man for directions.  Reports are unclear what his response was, but the incident somehow escalated into Siefke and Sanchez-Villavencio physically attacking the man (who is gay) and shouting ant-gay epithets.

Andrew Smith, a man visiting from Newport, happened by and decided to intervene.  Smith, 24, reasoned "I stepped in to help the man because I thought to myself, what if that was my little brother?"  He was repaid for his efforts with being thrown to the ground himself and being reportedly kicked in the head.  The suspects then fled, with the first victim calling the police, who arrested the attackers when they returned to the scene of the crime (WTF, dudes!).

Neither victim was, happily, critically injured.

This attack comes just weeks after another anti-gay attack which resulted in a hand-holding rally across the Hawthorne Bridge and citizen patrols in order to maintain the safety of the waterfront.  With city commissioners showing blatant ignorance of HIV-related issues and wasting taxpayer money in a fearful attempt to keep icky AIDSy urine out of the water, I have to ask: What the hell is going on in Portland?

Are these incidents isolated, or are they evidence of growing anti-gay (and related populations) sentiment in Stumptown?  I hope not, and the hand-holding rally's attendance (in the many hundreds) tend to belie that notion.  However, I now know that I'm a bit more fearful of Old Town after dark, and I don't like that.  My home state of Oregon is supposed to be an example of liberal ideals, with MarioJohn of stating:

"Seattlites sometimes look South with envy. From Oregon’s free-speech protections that enable a thriving sex-positive industry to Portland’s public transportation system, Portland makes 'progressive' Seattle seem a bit milquetoast in comparison."

So why have these incidents taken place?  Is it backlash from a blue-collar workforce that is just tired of teh gayz?  Or are these truly random incidents?  

Only time will tell, but I know this: these attacks and ignorant politicians have no place in my home state, and I hope that this are merely isolated instances of individual assholes doing shitty things.  

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