Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What happened to "Love thy neighbor"?

Homophobia leads to violence in Gibson County, Tennessee (in red)

Last week, Jerry Pittman, Jr. and his boyfriend Dustin Lee were brutally attacked on the grounds of Grace Fellowship Church in Fruitland, Gibson County. According to reports, Jerry's uncle and two church deacons to beat the two young men while yelling homophobic slurs at the direction of Jerry's father, the pastor of the church.

Tennessee Equality Project's Madison County Committee assisted the young men in making contact with local media at WBBJ to tell their story. The news has spread to local and national news outlets and blogs such as Joe.My.God, Towleroad, LGBTQNation, and the Advocate. TEP supports the following statement from its Madison County Committee leaders in response to the incident:
Tennessee Equality Project's Madison County Committee and leaders statewide stand firmly behind Jerry Pittman, Jr.  and Dustin Lee as the facts of their case continue to emerge. Those facts as reported to us thusfar can only lead to one conclusion: the assault suffered by Mr. Pittman, Jr. and Mr. Lee were motivated by nothing more than hatred, homophobia, intolerance, and a lack of understanding. Particularly disturbing is the fact that Mr. Pittman, Jr. and Mr. Lee had been welcomed to worship services as a couple numerous times in the past. Equally disturbing is that Mr. Pittman's family members (who are leaders of this congregation) initiated, instigated, and carried out this assault. 
The Tennessee Equality Project and its local committees across the state stand ready to assist and advocate for persons who find themselves the victim of discrimination.  
- Drew Baker, Madison County Committee Chair and Tommy Schlindwein & Erin Bumpas Brine, Madison County Committee Vice Chairs
Stay tuned as more information becomes available on this developing story.

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