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Montana Gay Bashing Brings Out Gay Officer

MissoulagaybashingHere's an item I missed which was recently brought to my attention by my dad (thanks, Dad). Wally Catton and Marcus Chebul experienced the following ugly assault here in Missoula in October, according to the Missoula Independent:

Catton and Chebul, who are both 21 and happen to be heterosexual, say they were walking north along Higgins Avenue just south of the bridge when men in a red SUV drove by yelling that Chebul’s hat and glasses looked gay and that they were “fags.” Chebul says it’s not the first time the friends have heard similar things on the strip on weekend nights, and they blew it off as “drunk guys doing drunk-guy things.” But then the car pulled over and two men made a beeline for them. One man pulled off Chebul’s glasses and said, “Now you look less like a fag,” he recalls, and “Why don’t you go suck some dicks instead” when Chebul asked for them back. Then they began punching Catton and Chebul, and Catton ran to the Holiday gas station across the street to call the police. When he came back, a dark-colored sedan had arrived and more men were beating Chebul. When they saw Catton trying to take down their license plates, they punched him down into a bush, he says, and then took off in their cars. Police arrived a few minutes later, they say, and their parents later took them to the hospital. Catton, whose jaw was fractured twice, now has a metal plate in his jaw and his mouth is wired shut for six weeks. Chebul received a concussion and three breaks in his cheekbone. Officer Oak said Oct. 24 that the department had strong leads on suspects and expected to make an arrest within the week.

Some good has come of the incident, however. Scott Oak, an openly gay motorcycle cop on the Missoula Police Force, has stepped up to be a liaison between the police force and the LGBT community in Missoula. He also writes occasional pieces for the Missoula Gayzette, a newsletter for the Western Montana gay community. A recent article, Top Cops, explains his new involvement.

Police chief Rusty Wickman spoke at a recent meeting at the Western Montana Gay & Lesbian Community Center: “We've needed to establish a better relationship with the GLBTI community for a long time. And I don't think we've done a very good job of that in the past. I apologize this wasn't done three years ago. The line between harassment and assault can be very thin. There are barriers between the gay community and the police department, and I need to know what those barriers are. We are your police department, too."

Top Cops [montana gayzette]
City police reach out to gay community through liaison officer [missoulian]
Fighting Back [missoula independent]

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Comments

  1. hello andy....
    based on my own experience, the attackers may have recently missed a step at their local group meeting....and, had succumbed to misdirected rage toward a common target -- anything appearing or acting like one of the faggot persuasion.

    apart from the awful beating, and i hope the subsequent identification of license plates, the community participation between the authorities and lgbt center and others.
    ok, now i return to stick my head in the sand....

    Posted by: ricardo | Nov 9, 2005 6:12:18 PM


  2. Ricardo
    Don't stick your head in the sand. Even in this elightened country(?) the little steps forward matter. Incidents like these can and do wake people up to the idiocy of homophobic behavior.

    Now I am off to Barnes & Noble to buy the new Maureen Dowd book (A chic I would almost switch for) and the Kate Bush CD.

    Posted by: Donald | Nov 9, 2005 6:24:26 PM


  3. Scott Oak, an openly gay motorcycle cop on the Missoula Police Force, has stepped up to be a liaison between the police force and the LGBT community in Missoula.
    Now THIS guy is a hero.
    Let's see if "The Advocate", or "Instict" can leave off some str8 actors or Hollywood twinks bemoaning how they used to get tina for free cause they were so cute and it made them junkies.

    Posted by: PSMike | Nov 9, 2005 7:51:44 PM


  4. Hopefully the MT police can do the same outreach to the Am. Indian community, but I doubt it.

    Posted by: Adam | Nov 9, 2005 10:16:09 PM


  5. Is Amvets still there?

    Posted by: Oliver | Nov 9, 2005 11:06:45 PM


  6. Although missoula is still suffering with discrimination i am happy to say that last weekend a huge showing of supporters of gay, les, and transgender commiunity came to a event hosted by my mother. It was a benifit for a film about my gay twin brother and my transition from male to female. check it out at redwithoutblue.com

    Posted by: clair | Nov 9, 2005 11:35:01 PM


  7. Although missoula is still suffering with discrimination i am happy to say that last weekend a huge showing of supporters of gay, les, and transgender commiunity came to a event hosted by my mother. It was a benifit for a film about my gay twin brother and my transition from male to female. check it out at redwithoutblue.com

    Posted by: clair | Nov 9, 2005 11:35:21 PM


  8. What's the I in GLBTI? Intersexed? We're getting lots of letters here.

    Posted by: Rob | Nov 10, 2005 1:39:06 AM


  9. I really think it would be in the best interest of all gay men to take martial arts classes and/or school ourselves in military fighiting techniques so we can BEAT DOWN these fuck-heads who fuck with us. I would LOVE to read a story about some homophobic asshole/s who decided to fuck with someone because they thought they were gay and get BEATEN within an inch of their lives. I mean seriously possible brain damage bloody fucking bloody body stomping retribution because that's exactly what they deserve. NO MERCY. They DESERVE the "by any means necessary" treatment. No apologies. I know that it doesn't make me any better than them and I'm going down to their level, but that's the only way they will get the message, sorry.

    Posted by: paul | Nov 10, 2005 3:16:43 AM


  10. Incidents like this is the reason why I belong to http://www.pinkpistols.org

    Posted by: Seth | Nov 10, 2005 8:05:25 AM


  11. Did anyone read the linked article? Here's an excerpt:

    "Meanwhile, on campus, Lambda Alliance President Ryan Knobloch says the UM gay rights group has received several recent reports of anti-gay harassment, the most extreme being the treatment student Xavier Old Chief received in his dorm. Old Chief says a handful of men persistently harassed him, slipping messages under his door that said “The only good fag’s a dead fag,” and pounding on his door late at night while saying things like “You fucking fag, we’re going to get you.” Old Chief says he moved into a new dorm Oct. 22. Knobloch says several others have reported recent harassment as well: One gay student’s dorm door was vandalized with “Fuck Fags,” and a gay couple holding hands on campus was verbally abused."

    Instead of Mr. Old Chief having to move from his dorm, why weren't the offenders kicked off campus or removed from school? I thought making threats of violence was harrassment.

    Posted by: Rafe | Nov 10, 2005 11:47:37 AM


  12. I went to school in Bozeman--not too far from Missoula. I once heard someone yell "Go back to San Francisco you fag," yelled out of a passing truck (replete with gun rack). My boyfriend and I often had objects thrown at us and my dorm room, too, was vadalized. I tried to talk to anyone that would listen about the harassment. Unfortunately, no one did anything. I moved off campus the following year and was beaten in the parking lot for my apartment building. The police wouldn't take a report claiming that it was just an altercation between college students at a bar--the parking lot for my building was also the parking lot for a bar. Needless to say, I became very depressed and missed many classes. Three weeks later, Matthew Sheperd was killed. I dropped out of school that semester. I went to talk to the dean of my department about what had happened and he implied that I brought it on myself. I left Montana for Seattle. Sometimes I miss my Main Street apartment overlooking the Bridgers, but most of the good memories I have of Bozeman have been overshadowed by the bad.

    Posted by: jeremy | Nov 10, 2005 12:02:34 PM


  13. Someone clue me in what the "I" stands for in GLBTI. I have no clue.

    Posted by: Stephen | Nov 10, 2005 12:24:45 PM


  14. That is a very amazing story. Amazing, to me, because it really displays how stupid homophobia is. I mean, the victims weren't even gay. However, I also find it interesting because the article, for me, also displays how morally and intellectually bankrupt some people can be and how we as spectators/victims to that sometimes blanket it by calling it "homophobia." I mean, another car came in just to help beat up complete strangers for no reason? what the f*ck is wrong with these people?

    that being said, i've heard such a mix of "reviews" of living in Montana. I do hope to live there once i tire of the city life in like, 30 years.

    Jeremy, your story made me get all misty eyed, man. i was just realizing i was gay in school (yes, i said realizing) when Matthew Shepherd died. Remembering how that event smacked into me in my condition, i can imagine how hard it hit you during yours. *hug* one thing to think about tho, is that for however bad any of us may have it now in this country, it wasn't too long ago when it was 10x's worse, ya know? that's not much consolation for getting beat down for no reason, i know but it's just another perspective.

    thanks Andy.

    Posted by: Derrick | Nov 10, 2005 7:28:45 PM


  15. That's why leather daddies are so cool. Any gay bashers only have to take one look at their ripped bodies and know they don't stand a chance.

    The same muscles that get you talked about in the clubs can also be used to intimidate bashers.

    What's the old saying about turning the sickle into a sword when need be...?

    Posted by: Peter | Nov 10, 2005 7:31:31 PM


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