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.
Three young men who beat a gay man in southwest Atlanta while shouting “faggot” at him were sentenced July 13 to serve five years in prison with another five years on probation.
Fulton Superior Court T. Jackson Bedford sentenced Christopher Cain, 18; Dorian Moragne, 19; and Darael Williams, 17, as several loved ones of the defendants audibly cried in court. All men were already on probation for other crimes.
Another defendant, Javaris Bradford, has eluded police and a warrant is out for his arrest. FBI officials say Bradford is the one who videotaped the Feb. 4 attack that was uploaded to a hip hop website and went viral, making the beating a national story. He faces the same charges as the other three defendants: participation in criminal gang activity, robbery by force and two counts of aggravated assault.
Brandon White, 20, who is openly gay, said he wants justice for the brutal attack he endured at the hands of gang members while walking out of a convenience store in southwest Atlanta. The men called him "faggot" over and over and posted video of the attack online.
At a packed press conference, White, standing at about 5 feet tall and surrounded by supporters and organizers, said he at first didn't report the incident to police because the video of his beating by gang members was “embarrassing and humiliating.”
But, he added, he hopes by speaking out – to the police and the public — he can help other gay people stay safe.
“I feel that I was very violated,” White said. “I thought that … if a straight person could walk to the store and not have a problem I should be able to do the same thing. I shouldn't have to worry about whether or not I should have to look over my shoulder or if this person is going to attack me or that person is going attack me for just being a gay male.