Vancouver Police Are Investigating This Man Over Two Hate Crimes On The SkyTrain

It seems that the SkyTrain in Vancouver has recently become an unsafe place for gay couples as reports of two separate incidences of homophobia have sprung up in the same week.

According to CBC News/Radio Canada, a gay couple boarded the train at the Waterfront Station around 2:30 p.m. on September 28. As soon as they entered, a seated stranger kicked one of them in the foot before threateningly approaching them.

“As they entered the train, another man kicked the foot of one of the young men and then left his seat to aggressively approach him. The victim crouched down in fear as the suspect raised his hand as if to hit him, while yelling obscenities and homophobic insults,” said a police report.

Thankfully, another passenger pulled the attacker away before any punches were thrown.

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the attacker as he released himself and approached the couple a second time. The husband of the initial victim then pushed the train’s yellow emergency strip, but was then hit by the assailant.

Around that time, the train pulled into Granville Station, and the attacker allegedly tried to kick the victims and spit in their faces before exiting the train car. As he walked away, the assailant "continued to hurl profanities and homophobic remarks toward the couple," added the police statement.

“I think what’s most concerning about this particular incident is that the precipitating factor appears to be the sexual orientation of these two individuals,” remarked Sgt. Clint Hampton about the case.

“Fortunately, there weren’t any major injuries,” he added. “The two individuals went to hospital, were checked out, and later released that day. But of course anybody that goes through something like this… it can be traumatic and they’re going to be shaken up over it.”

According to CTV Vancouver, the Vancouver transit police later released the above video of the suspect on Wednesday (Nov 7) and announced his arrest later that day.

While that man, whose identity has been withheld, is out of custody and will face assault charges in a January court hearing, another couple came forward saying that they were also his victims.

On Thursday, Vancouver resident Rylan Friday came forward with the story that he and his partner were also allegedly threatened on the SkyTrain.

According to Global News, Friday and his partner boarded the train between the Joyce-Collingood and Metrotown stations on June 23. He says that when they entered while holding hands, one stranger yelled out, “Hey guys, you’re being f***ing offensive. There’s a f***ing kid here.”

The heckler later started yelling out homophobic slurs as an argument ensued. Fearing violence, Friday and his partner quickly got off the train.

Friday says that the suspect in this instance was, in fact, the same man who attacked the other couple.

Transit police later confirmed that they are investigating two incidents involving this man, and that both will factor into his upcoming court hearing.

h/t: CBC News, CTV Vancouver, Global News

Samuel Woodward Pleads Not Guilty To Blaze Bernstein Murder

We have another update on the story involving the University of Pennsylvania student who was found murdered and buried near his California home.

21-year-old Samuel Woodward pleaded not guilty during an Orange County Superior Court hearing on Friday for the first-degree murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein.

Earlier, Woodward’s bail was set at $5 million, but Judge Kimberly Menninger altered it so Woodward is now being held without bail on the grounds that he’s a potential danger to the community if released, according to 6 ABC.

Woodward is currently on trial for allegedly stabbing and killing Bernstein while he was home for winter break in January.

Bernstein, who was gay and Jewish, went missing and his corpse was later found in a park in Lake Forest, California.

A police investigation later found out that Woodward and Bernstein, who went to the same high school, met up the night of Bernstein’s disappearance. At some point, a fight broke out and Woodward allegedly stabbed Bernstein 20 times in the face and neck.

DNA evidence has connected Woodward to the crime and his cellphone was found to have anti-gay and anti-Semitic content. On top of that, the authorities have collected propaganda found in Woodward’s home for a neo-Nazi group.

Woodward, is due to return to court on January 25, 2019.  If convicted of the hate crime, he could be sentenced to a life in prison.

For more on this, visit CBS News and 48 Hours

Here are clips about people remembering Blaze and the 48 Hours report In The Name of Hate: Blaze Bernstein murder: Was an Ivy League student slain in the name of hate?





h/t: 6 ABC, CBS News

Long Island Man Arrested for Stealing Pride Flags from Church

Sayville Congregational United Church of Christ, located in Sayville, NY is a progressive and inclusive church. The reverend, Ray Bagnuolo, is an openly gay man who has placed pride flags on the church's lawn to promote LGBT pride and to show that the church welcomes people of any sexuality. However, one man has repeatedly stolen the pride flags and, since crime definitely does not pay, he has been arrested, according to ABC News.

The 21-year-old man who stole the pride flags, Ronald Tyler Witt, was arrested at his home in Sayville on Tuesday. He was arrested on six counts of petty larceny as a hate crime.

Bagnuolo says that these thefts are "unnerving" and that "These types of things are meant often to send a message. Sometimes there just a dumb thing that people do, but repeated over and over it begins to feel like there's a targeting going on here and there's a message." I am inclined to agree with that, as the other flags displayed on the church's property remained there. He also said that he does not know Witt but is welcome in the church, as he recognized the thefts as acts of aggression and hate but instead of stealing the flags again, he should talk to the congregation. 

While he does forgive Witt, he is glad that he will be held accountable for his actions, and the rest of the congregation feels the same. 

It's sad to see such crimes in this day and age, but progress is still being made in the advancement of LGBTQ recognition which will hopefully decrease incidents such as this.

h/t: ABC News

Don Lemon Says White Men Are the "Biggest Terror Threat in This Country"

Earlier this week on CNN, openly gay anchor Don Lemon said that white men are “the biggest terror threat to this country.”

In light of current events including the Kentucky Kroger shooting by a white man that left two black people dead, Lemon got really, really blunt on air.

Lemon contrasted the mass murders committed by white men in this country with the “threat” many Americans perceive in the incoming caravan of 5,000 Central Americans fleeing violence.

"But we keep thinking that the biggest terror threat is something else, some people who are marching, you know, towards the border, like it’s imminent. The last time we did this, a couple hundred people came and most of them got tuckered out before they even made it to the border," Lemon explained.

"So we have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them.”


Some on social media have accused Lemon of being anti-white. Others have taken his side, noting that he didn’t other an entire race, and that statistics technically support his comments. Here are the facts:

Lemon famously rang in 2018 by kissing his boyfriend on live TV.

How do you feel about Lemon’s comments? Please let us know in the comments.

h/t: The Advocate

LGBT Network President Calls for Long Island Hate Crime Investigation & Increased Patrols


LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK (October 30, 2018) – David Kilmnick, President/CEO of LGBT Network has called on Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini and Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart to launch an investigation into campaign signs for Perry Gershon  that have been defaced throughout Suffolk County with anti-gay rhetoric. The signs for the challenger in the 1st Congressional District read “Baby Killer” on top and “Gay Lover” below Mr. Gershon’s name in an apparent attempt to win support for Congressman Lee Zeldin.

Kilmnick has also called on Congressman Zeldin to publicly denounce these hateful signs and demand that his campaign staff and supporters cease this dangerous tactic of spreading hate rhetoric and help to remove every single one of them throughout the 1st Congressional district.

“Supporters of Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin have shown their true colors by defacing lawn signs with anti-gay rhetoric. We are not even 72 hours removed from the deadliest anti-Semitic attacks in American history on the Jewish community and it is unconscionable that these signs displaying hate toward the LGBT community would appear throughout Suffolk County. This incident continues an onslaught by Republican candidates on the LGBT community over the past few months. It is imperative that Congressman Zeldin immediately denounce these hate filled signs and immediately cease this tactic that incites violence and results in people being hurt and killed”.

With this past weekend’s horrific and frightening tragedy at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, we must take extra precaution to protect all our families, especially with all the hate that is being spewed from President Trump and supporters of Congressman Lee Zeldin. We are requesting increased patrols at all of LGBT Network’s community centers on Long Island in Bay Shore, Sag Harbor and Woodbury and for the Suffolk County Police Commissioner and Suffolk County DA’s office to launch an investigation into these hate crimes.

There’s been a call to tone down the rhetoric; that’s not enough. It must stop altogether. Hate breeds violence and kills and we are better than that as a country. I am hopeful that in a week we will use all the anger and fear we have and speak with our voices and change this nation around for the better with a powerful message that hate has no place in our country.

Article was reprinted pre request for IMMEDIATE RELEASE from NEW YORK LGBT NETWORK

Gay California Couple Attacked In Key West Over Wearing A Speedo

Two gay men from West Hollywood, California, were vacationing in Key West, Florida, when they became the victims of a hate crime.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, the two men had rented a large boat and dinghy in order to spend the day on Wisteria Island, a small federally-owned uninhabited island located several hundred yards off Key West.

After enjoying the afternoon on the island, the two men were preparing to leave when a couple, identified as Christopher Thomas John Yarema and Stephanie Lynn Burnham, approached shouting obscenities.

According to the police report, one of the gay men was wearing a Speedo-style swimsuit and it upset the couple.

One attacker yelled, “Hey, Mr. Speedo [expletive], get the [expletive] off our island.”

That was followed by Burnham shouting, “You have five seconds to get off, or I will kill you.”

Yarema reportedly punched one of the men and broke his sunglasses, and Burnham then slammed the same man with an oar.

When the man pushed her away in an attempt to defend himself, Yarema pulled out a knife and began slashing at the men yelling, “You knocked down my wife, I’m going to kill you!”

At one point, Yarema punctured the men’s dingy, but the two men were able to escape to their larger rental boat before it had completely deflated.

Once back onboard, they were able to radio the U.S. Coast Guard for help.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that Yarema, a fisherman and roofer, has been charged with aggravated assault and causing property damage.

And Burnham, described as a Key West laborer, is charged with battery and causing property damage.

The boat rental company told the police the damage to the dinghy is estimated at between $2000 and $5000. The sunglasses that were broken in the scuffle were apparently worth about $800.

(h/t Sun-Sentinel)

Welsh Man Assaulted for "Looking Gay"

Why can't people just... not attack people randomly? Unfortunately we don't live in such a world. Twenty-two-year-old Jack Gunter was attacked on October 13th after a night out with his friends, according to BBC. This is not the first time someone has written about an unprovoked attack on a gay man, as Instinct writer Randy Slovacek has written about a man who attacked two gay men in Brooklyn in his article Police Looking For Attacker In Alleged Brooklyn Hate Crime and my follow up article Suspect in Brooklyn Hate Crime Turns Himself In.

The attack happened outside of a chip shop in Bridgend, Wales, where Gunter had slurs such as "f***ot" thrown at him from people across the street and was punched to the ground and kicked in the face. He describes this attack as the most abusive homophobic attack he had suffered since he came out at thirteen. He doesn't know why the attackers assaulted him, but he speculates that it's because they thought he "looked gay." This horrible experience has Gunter so bothered that he no longer goes out with his friends.

These attacks will keep happening unless people become educated on LGBTQ topics and issues. Students in Wales have been taking matters into their own hands by creating the group Digon, that teaches other students about the consequences and impact of homophobic bullying. This is definitely a good thing, as many people don't understand just how horrible homophobia can be as they don't have to worry about it. Hopefully homophobic bullying and, by extension, all bullying will stop or at least decrease in frequency. For now, the best we can do is educate.

h/t: BBC

Twenty Years After His Death, Matthew Shepard Will Be Laid to Rest in the National Cathedral

Twenty years ago this week, Matthew Shepard was beaten, burned and left for dead in Laramie, Wyoming. He died five days later. Now, as reported by the NYT, his ashes are being laid to rest at the National Cathedral in Northwest Washington, D.C..

21 at the time of his death, Shepard was a political science major at the University of Wyoming Police when two 21-year-old men tortured him and tied him to a fence. The men were charged with murder, police at the time said it was motivated by robbery, though Shepard was singled out because he was gay.

Shepard’s death stirred nationwide and resulted in a federal law that made it a federal crime to assault someone because of his or her gender identity or sexual orientation. Shepard’s family and LGBTQ+ rights supporters around the globe have spread his legacy over two decades.

Shepard was cremated. His family didn’t want to bury him in Wyoming fearing it would become a pilgrimage site or be vandalized. Now, they are laying him to rest at the National Cathedral.

The Cathedral has long been supportive of LGBTQ+ people in the church. The official website says the Cathedral “considers LGBT equality the great civil rights issue of church in the 21st century”, and it hosted its first same-sex wedding in 2010.

The ceremony will be presided over by Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest to be consecrated a bishop in the Episcopal Church.

About 200 people have been interred in the Cathedral in the past century, including President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan and U.S. Navy Admiral George Dewey.

"We're comforted to know he will be among other Americans who have done so much for our country," Shepard’s parents said. "This is incredibly meaningful for our family and for everyone who has known him.”

For more: The Matthew Shepard Foundation

h/t: CNN, NYT

A Gay London Student Was Punched By A Homophobe Who Said "All Gays Are Pedophiles"

A gay man was attacked at a London pub by a homophobe.

While there are occasional stories of homophobes meeting justice and karma for their hateful actions, there are always a myriad of stories about gay men being attacked by homophobes who get away with it. This story is, unfortunately, among the latter half.

20-year-old University of Westminster student Sam Duffy was eating alone at a Wetherspoon pub near his home in the Cricklewood neighborhood of London when three loud patrons entered.

According to the Evening Standard, a bald, middle-aged man walked into the pub with two women and the group immediately started making “numerous racist and homophobic remarks” at a nearby table.

Duffy then complained to a member of the staff, which caused the group to focus on him. Duffy subsequently became the target of several insults. Once the man noticed that Duffy was wearing a rainbow wristband, the insults zeroed into homophobic ones. This includes the man making the statement that “all gays are nonces” [pedophiles].

Unfortunately, the situation became a physical altercation as the man sat at Duffy’s table, asked, “give me one good reason why I shouldn’t punch you,” and then hit him in the face.

“The whole incident has left me feeling incredibly vulnerable. I now fear to show any signs of my sexuality or take gay friends in or near the pub and surrounding area in fear of further homophobic attacks,” Duffy told the Evening Standard.

“I have to go past the pub to go to work, and to be honest I get scared when I go past it. I shouldn’t have to feel scared so close to my own home.”

As for the pub, they initially sent Duffy a £20 gift card after he sent a message through the customer support service, according to Pink News. Then, a Wetherspoon representative told Duffy that the pub had banned the attacker.

Unfortunately, that last statement seemed untrue as Duffy came across the man a second time.

On September 3, the student arrived for dinner with his roommate and her mother. “He was in there, having a drink and being served by the same people who were there when I was assaulted,” he told Pink News.

After being confused on what to do, the mother of Duffy's roommate suggested calling the police. Unfortunately, the man left before the police arrived.

Then on a third occasion, Duffy passed by the pub on September 26 and saw the man sitting inside the same establishment. Unfortunately, the police arrived too late and the man left again.

Since then, the authorizes have opened up a hate crime investigation.

“Detectives are investigating after a man was assaulted in a pub on Cricklewood Broadway,” said a police spokesperson. “The 20-year-old victim was dining at approximately 11pm on August 18 when he overheard three people — a man and two women — making homophobic and racist comments. He informed staff of their behaviour.”

“A short time later, the male suspect approached the victim and punched him in the face before all three left. The victim did not require medical treatment. Detectives are treating the assault as a hate crime. There have been no arrests.”

h/t: Evening Standard, Pink News

Police Looking For Attacker In Alleged Brooklyn Hate Crime

Two men were viciously attacked early Sunday morning as they left a gay bar in Brooklyn, New York.

According to the local ABC affiliate, the two men - one 29-years-old, the other 34-years-old - had just left the Metropolitan Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when a man approaching them called out with a homophobic slur.

The incident quickly escalated with the attacker punching the 34-year-old in the face, and throwing the 29-year-old against a tree. Both were knocked unconscious.

The good news is a bystander managed to snap a fairly clear photo of the attacker as he ran away.

One of the victims suffered a broken finger, while the other had to be treated for a fractured shoulder.

Speaking to ABC7, Aidan Pongrice, a neighbor in the area, urged people to take action.

“Not just to find and arrest this one person, we need people to take action to go out and vote and make sure that we don't have people and leaders in this country that actively dog whistle against my very existence," said Pongrice.

The New York Police Department are now asking anyone with any information about the incident or identifying the attacker in question to contact the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-8477.

Watch the report below from ABC7.




(h/t ABC7)