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|[Video] Support group formed to help gay, bisexual, trans men who are victims of hate crimes|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Thursday, 17 January 2013 16:59|
A new support group to help men who were victims of violence based on their sexual orientation or perceived sexual identity will hold its first meeting Jan. 20 at St. Mark United Methodist Church.
The group, named We Are Surviving Together, is founded and facilitated by Rev. Josh Noblitt of St. Mark UMC and Duncan Teague, a Unitarian Universalist candidate for ministry.
Noblitt and Teague, both gay, were victims of hate crimes based on their sexual orientation.
"We hope that by convening a safe space for men who have experienced this kind of violence, we will call forth a new level of healing found only through sharing our experiences together,” said Noblitt in a statement. Noblitt is also a counselor.
Noblitt was attacked in Piedmont Park in July 2010 and the crime was reported in numerous local media outlets, including the GA Voice. Teague was attacked several years ago in the French Quarter of New Orleans and suffered a broken leg among other injuries.
From the press release
“It is hard to believe that in a city with such a large LGBT population that there aren’t several groups dealing with bias crimes,” Teague said in the release.
Noblitt's young attackers pleaded guilty in 2011 and Noblitt continued a relationship with at least one of his attackers to try to eliminate homophobia as well as bring healing to himself and the young man.
According to police reports and Noblitt, three of the suspects walked up to Noblitt and his partner at the time and asked, “Are y’all gay? Two men laying on a blanket. We ought to beat y’all for that.”
The three youths walked off and returned later with a stick and got into a fight with Noblitt and the other man. During the fight, Noblitt called police from his cell phone. At the same time one of the three youths called for reinforcements. Several more teens showed up on the scene and one pulled a gun on Noblitt, held it to his head, and demanded their money.
Shortly after the attack, Noblitt had a community in the same spot he was attacked in Piedmont Park. Watch the video here.
In the early morning hours of Jan. 1, a fight broke out at a party in Reynoldstown and Luke O'Donovan, 19, who identifes as queer and has a girlfriend, was arrested and charged with five charges of aggravated assault for allegedly stabbing several men.
O'Donovan's friends said the fight started after he was called a "faggot" because he was seen at the party dancing and kissing other men and that O'Donovan is a victim of a "queerbashing." An Atlanta police report states the incident started with a "discussion regarding sexuality."
O'Donovan posted a $35,000 bond on Wednesday after being in jail since Jan. 1.
The We Are Surviving Together meetings will take place Jan 20, Feb. 3 and 17 and March 3 and 17 from 3 — 4:30 p.m. in room 205 at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, 781 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308.
Top photo: Rev. Joshua Noblitt (center) discuss being attacked for being gay with NOH8 photographer Adam Bouska and Bouska's partner, Jeff Parshley, founders of the NOH8 campaign. (via YouTube)
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