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New York, NY – The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, expressed its deep concern today for the victim of a brutal hate crime in Cleburne, TX. According to police reports, the 17 year-old student had gone to a party being thrown by other teens where he was asked by one of the three accused assailants whether he was gay or bisexual. When the student responded “yes” he was struck in the face and beaten until he was nearly unconscious. Other party attendees took the young man to the hospital where he was treated and received facial reconstructive surgery.
“I am dismayed by this act of brutal violence and by what appears to be a spike in hate-
related violence against gay and lesbian teens in Alabama, Texas and across the country,” said GLSEN’s Executive Director Kevin Jennings. “However, violence, bias and harassment is the rule and not the exception for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in schools – and this violence can extend into the community. According to the 2003 National School Climate Survey
, 39% of LGBT students report being verbally or physically assaulted, often with a weapon.”
Exactly three months ago 18 year-old Scotty Joe Weaver was beaten, stabbed and burned in the woods near his mobile home in Bay Minette, AL. According to the Associated Press, “three friends of his have been charged with capital murder in his slaying.”
In Texas the 17 year-old student’s alleged assailants are being held in police custody and are charged with aggravated assault causing severe bodily injury. Police say that a hate crime enhancement may be added to the charges.
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, continue to visit www.glsen.org.