Gay Man Tortured, Beaten for Hours in New Mexico

Sorry to bring you so much violent, ugly news this week but I think it’s important that these incidents get as much visibility as possible.

EdgewoodPolice in New Mexico report that a woman and a gay man were kidnapped and beaten for hours last weekend during a party at a mobile home in rural Edgewood.

The two victims met up with another woman and one of their attackers before driving to the party. That woman left the party early, but confirmed to police that those who attacked the two victims used anti-gay language toward the man and taped part of the party on a cell phone.

After reportedly threatening to throw their victims into a yard full of “several large barking dogs” they took them to a camper parked in the yard of the mobile home and that is where an all-night torture began:

While some of the partygoers tied up the gay man with rope and began hitting him, “Uriah told them that this was a kidnapping and they were not going to die yet,” according to the warrant. A female from the party lifted the woman’s head and kicked her in the face, the warrant says. The woman said she felt her nose break, the warrant says.

“(The woman) was not tied up, but was held in the camper for most of the night while all of the male subjects kept hitting, kicking, slapping and knocking (the gay man) down,” the warrant states. “The male subjects would knock (the gay man) down and if he did not get up off of the ground within a certain count or if he would make any noise, they would jump on him, hitting and kicking him.

“This continued all night until the sun was about to come up.”

Said Prosecutor Donna Dagnall: “It’s pretty clear to us that his homosexuality was the reason for the beating.”

The male victim suffered “bleeding on the brain and a concussion as well as facial lacerations and bruising” and has been released from a hospital. The female victim did not require hospitalization, according to reports.

Two men, age 17 and 21, are in custody, and have been charged with “two counts of kidnapping, aggravated battery causing great bodily injury, false imprisonment and conspiracy.” Another has not yet been apprehended. The three will be charged with hate crimes.

The most high-profile hate crime case of this kind in New Mexico occurred in February 2005 when James Maestas was beaten unconscious in a motel parking lot near Santa Fe. Just this June, Maestas’ attackers were sent to rehabilitation rather than prison. Upon sentencing, the judge said: “You both would be ruined if I sent you to prison. I would be throwing you away. I don’t want to do that.”

3 Charged in Beating of Gay Man [free new mexican]


  1. says

    Reading about all these attacks being reported in the last few days has horrified me.

    However this one stings even more-I grew up in New Mexico and my little brother (whos till lives there and is 15) recently told me he was gay. He knows I support him no matter what-but part of me was a little afraid-if only because I never wanted him to live in a world where THIS INCIDENT can happen to him. And for what? WHy??? I can never understand this.


  2. Brian says

    Seeing stories like this makes those of us who are in more comfortable situations remember that in most of this country it’s still very dangerous to be out.



  3. Jake says

    I’m sorry but this is a big enough country that if you are gay, you can scoop together whatever money you have and find yourself in a place where you can be accepted. If these people choose to stay in Bumblefuck USA and still like to go to “parties at trailer parks” as an out gay man, what do you want the other people with deep-ingrained mentalities to expect. Sometimes, ok most times, its better to go where you can be around other people that are likeminded about gay people.

    God who are these people who have one chance on planet earth and think they are gonna be out and proud in the middle of nowhere USA. Do yourself a favor and live your life to the fullest. Andy did it, Amanda Lepore did it, and MILLIONS of other gay men did it. I’m surprised we don’t read more of these bashing stories coming out of small towns.

    I know I’m going to get attcked for this posting, but how many times do you read about a gay man rising up like a phoenix to escape where he lived to set up shop in a new city with new found sensibilities and surrounding himself with a community that is understanding. I know this is easy for me to say because I live in New York City, but still… I had to choose to leave what I grew up in and I will always remember where I came from but I will never go back. If I did I probably wouldn’t be alive to write this.

  4. says

    Jake-While I understand what you are saying I want to point out a few things.

    1) the kid was 18. As someone who grew up in Albuquerque (and now lives in Seattle)-it’s not that easy to just up and move. And really, he is a kid, he may not have had the chance.

    2) When I was growing up (in Albuquerque-not very far from Edgewood-maybe 20 minutes) I went to the “most dangerous” high school in the state. I had so many friends that were Gay or Lesbian. They were all out and the never were harrassed by the “gansters” at my school or anyone else. None of them have ever been beaten.

    People can be just as accepting and open minded in “Bumblefuck USA”.

    It’s not like there are not gay bashings in New York.

  5. Brian says

    Gays and lesbians live in trailer parks too, don’t kid yourself. Maybe the trailer was next to his.

    I left the backwater too, but some folks just hate living in urban areas, have jobs that they love that require them to live in these places, or want to live in rural America because it’s all they’ve ever known. I prefer an urban setting myself, but one of the best dates I’ve ever had was sitting on a fence next to a cow pasture drinking beer while watching a big storm roll in across the prairie. That couldn’t have happened in New York City. We should also remember that there are plenty of kind and accepting people in the reddest of states, and gay bashings can occur in the bluest of cities.

  6. says

    Jake-dude, have you already forgotten about what happened to Kevin Avaiance? Just because you move to New York City doesn’t mean you are safe. As the band The Ark puts it so eloquently in their song Father of a Son.

    “And you´re totally fogged in your head
    If you were serious right now
    When you said
    That “it´s because
    They will be bullied in school”
    `Cause that means you let the bullies
    Set the rules”

  7. humarojo says

    Andy, thanks for linking to articles like this one. None of this information gets reported at a national level. The Times would rather do a fluff piece on closeted gay men than actually report on something meaningful.

  8. pat says

    Jake: if we live in a city that we build for ourselves, what about those who will still have to grow up in places like you did? By staying safe in a more understanding city, it is up to us to make sure that what happened to us, should not happen to other gay guys out there. We have safety in numbers in New York City, and perhaps a bit of affluent, our combined effort in getting equality could help those with lesser means outside our city.
    We won’t learn or achieve anything by rounding up gay guys into one address.
    Those gay men who are there might be attacked every so often, but I’m sure they are also touching others and changing the minds of those around them in the Red State slowly but surely.
    I watched “Gandhi’ recently again. There’s a lot to be learnt from this great man, who didn’t tolerate violence, nor bore grudges. He achieved what he envisioned for India, through perseverence and not being afraid.

  9. Ric says

    The bottom line is that this is just a very sad and horrific story about the failure of our society to teach children not to hate and/or fear what they don’t understand so they don’t grow up to be hate mongering idiots. I partially agree with Jake about not living in a place where minds are narrow and expecting to be accepted, but Jeni’s point is clear as well. Getting up and out to NY or L.A. isn’t as easy as it might seem, especially to an 18 year old with very little to go on. (would the streets of Hollywood be any better?) But again, if these stupid fuckers that did this to this poor guy had an even moderate sense if humanity and were given the proper tools as kids, maybe they wouldn’t have decided to hurt someone simply because they could. Yes, this happens in “Bumblefuck USA” but it happens in San Diego CA also. Don’t get me wrong, these assholes deserve the harshest possible punishment. But kids aren’t born knowing hate, that’s something that is taught.

  10. Mike in the Tundra says

    Jake, isn’t that like blaming the victim of a rape because she “was asking for it”? Maybe she was dressed just a little too much on the sexy side.

    I admit that I’m a coward, and I have chosen to live in a place that’s relatively safe. I applaud the people who decide to stay in places not so safe, because they do not wish to be forced to live in a place just because “it’s safe”.

  11. KJ says

    Andy et al,

    Are there organizations that assist GLBT victims of hate crimes if there are challeging medical expenses? If so, an article or comment would allow us to contribute in a way that would allow us to feel a bit more empowered in the face of evil.

  12. James says


    Jeesh, man. Some kid gets his brains beat out and you pull the “it’s your fault because you choose to live where you live” line. So I guess Dwan Prince and Kevin Aviance are also to blame (they lived in NYC and were beat down by homophobes)? And like someone said, the kid is 18. So at 18, you should be living the fab life on either coast? You are wrong here Jake. Plain and simple.


  13. Cory says


    I feel very sorry for your point of view. What you wrote was angry, dismissive and cruel. These were kids, not more than 18-20, who probably never had the chance in living outside the walls they grew up in. Kudos for you in being able to afford to move to a city, although as someone pointed out NYC has had his or her share of hate crimes. I grew up in an affluent family, went to private school and eventually to a small highly ranked liberal arts school in central NY. At the time the school got rid of all the fraternity housing and begin admitting more diverse students. This caused a huge conflict between students resulting in a lesbian friend of mine being harassed, her dorm room being spray painted “Dyke”, “Queer”, “Die bitch die”, and eventually her being beaten with beer and liquor bottles bringing her laundry in from her car one evening. I became more vocal after this and was eventually targeted, finding death threats on my car windshield and having been chased into the woods one evening by guys with baseball bats. Fortunately I wasn’t physically harmed but I was scared out of my fu*&in’ mind and didn’t attend my classes, did all my work in my dorm room. I was 19. I received one F because I got help on a final project we were told we couldn’t get assistance with, something I would have learned had I gone to my classes. I was placed on probation and never went back. I didn’t attend school for eight years and lost a good part of my life. I did go back two years ago and have been working very hard at educating people on equal rights and doing as much as I can to make certain these things do not happen to someone else. Jake, blaming the victim is never the answer. We need to support each other through these hard times…

  14. Peter says

    When I read this news, it reminded me of the scenes in Boys Don’t Cry, where the protagonist is raped by the group of backwater rednecks. A truly horrible scene, but extremely powerful. What motivates these thugs is what motivates a lot of assaults – power.

    The other film that comes to mind is, of course, Brokeback mountain – Ennis’ memory of the ‘two old birds’ who were mutilated by the towns moral vigilantes. Not to mention Jack’s demise at the hands of an “exploding tire”.

    The obvious conclusion is that the thugs who perpetrate these crimes have never seen these films, and probably never will. But if they could ever be brought to understand and have perspective on their own behaviour – these two films would be a good start.

    Its sad that those who need enlightenment the most never put themselves in a position where they can experience that change.

    However, as andy has pointed out many times, a huge part of the responsibility lies with the fact that in most of the US – this kind of crime is still ok. Its basically accepted. As long as GOP attorney general incumbents can utter absurdly discriminatory garbage about gay high-school activist clubs being immoral, this crime will continue to occur.

    The parallels between the civil rights struggle and that of gay rights is very striking, and it is the backwater regions that experience change last. I always just substitute “jew” or “black” for gay, in whatever anti-gay comment someone makes, and it would be completely unacceptable.

    For example, kids in the mall still say “that’s so gay” – meaning that’s so stupid. Its homophobic. What if they said, that’s so jewish, or that’s so african?

    Until that changes, hate crime against gays won’t stop.

  15. ABrancher says

    Well Jake I’m not going to attack you for your post….okay maybe I will…..pull your head out of the sand.
    My partner and I live in rural Alberta “in the middle of nowhere CANADA” with our closest city being 2 hours away. We ranch here in Alberta and that is what my family has done for Four generations since 1912. That is my life and how do you move the ranch to a so called safe place. I can’t remember the last time someone was shot out here (other then a hunting accident maybe) or there has never been a mugging. Can you say that about your safe city?
    I feel we are living our lives to the fullest because this is what we want to do.
    I think by staying on the Family Ranch and not running off to the City we have changed a lot of minds as to what Gay men. There are other men and women out here as well trying to do their part and be positive and product people in our communities. We are Ranchers, Farmers, Paramedics, Truck Drivers and I know people are starting to see us for that. What most people see is what they exposed to on the news reports, pride parades, leather festivals and is that what we want people to think we are “all” about (how we are portrayed by the media). People should not have to run away from there homes, families and the things they love because they are scared to be gay. We have to do our part to make our communities safe by educating people that we are just like everyone else.

  16. Derrick from PHilly says

    What Jake said, and the way he said it, was out of frustration in hearing about continued violence against gay people. Even more depressing is when it’s violence in a location where there’s a strong anti-gay atmosphere and little sympathy. But as y’all reminded him, there are neighborhoods in big liberal cities where gay people are targets of violence.
    I too used to dream of having gay organizations to help young gay people escape from “redneck” anti-gay areas and migrate to the “great gay meccas” in New York, San Franisco, etc.–where they’d be safe. But it was only a dream.

  17. Ben says

    This story craps a big one. It speaks to a continued lack of education on the part of society, religious figures, educators, parents and the larger ‘gay culture’ (cough) about homosexuality and its relation to the larger cultures at work in America.

    Jake’s reaction doesn’t surprise me. It’s a typical flee, fight or fold response option. But don’t rebuke Jake too quickly. His response might be the right answer for some young queers, just not all of them. Some queers will leave for the brights lights of the big cities, others will fold (like Ennis in Brokeback) and be beat and live in solitude with small measures of happiness found in friends and family, and some will fight – as Michael W so imagines.

    Young gays in rural areas are much more open and emboldened thanks to the internet. I did a Browse on MySpace a couple of months ago, using my old rural zipcode. When I was growing up there in the 80s, early 90s – there were NO out men or women except for my cousin’s crazy butch dyke sister. Now…hell, there are dozens of out under 25 gay gals and guys in a rural area of under 30000 people! I was stunned! My sister and I didn’t come out until we moved away. But these kids have the cojones to be it and live it. Frankly, that inspires me far more than the stories of beatings frightens me. These kids do more for advancing awareness and understanding in the larger culture than any clever HRC tactic ever will.

    (That said, as I read this NM story, I wondered what on earth this guy was doing around these people? We gays have got to stick together and protect each other! But I then I remembered some of the shady characters I associated with in my rural days – or even now! – and shut myself up.)

    So let’s not get too despondent. The beatings and attacks are evil – but evil exists so that we can see, understand, grow and appreciate the good. And there’s a lot of good in the world.

  18. Tread says

    Michael W., I’d sure like to see a high profile case where the bashers get what’s coming to them. It’d be nice to set an example for the straight community not to fuck with us anymore because we’ll beat the ever-living shit out of them if they do.

  19. Jonathon says

    This story breaks my heart. I grew up in rural Georgia, surrounded by the same sort of bigots discussed in this article. Fortunately I never suffered physical violence, but I had more than my fair share of verbal harassment both because I am smart and because I am gay. I made the move to Atlanta, which is reasonably more gay-friendly than the rest of the state but even here we have gay bashing and more anti-gay voices than my poor heart can bear.

    I remember hearing stories from my mom and my grandparents about “the old days”, when a man was found to be beating his wife or children a group of men in the community showed up at his house and gave him a dose of his own medicine. I think that it is time we revived that tradition and started making examples of people that would physically assault a member of our community. Perhaps if the gay bashers themselves kidnapped and beaten to a pulp, left to die in a field then there would be less bashers willing to take the chance.

    Yes, I say let’s drag them out and beat them to death, just like was done to Matthew Shepherd. Hang them up like pinatas and keep hitting them until there’s nowhere left on their bodies that isn’t bloody and broken. Let *their* families endure the horror of having to identify mutilated remains. Let *their* families cry for a change. Let *them* live in fear, always looking over their shoulder and wondering if they could be attacked again.

    Ok, so that’s my anger talking. No, I guess I don’t want to see anyone hurt, but damnit I am so sick and tired of reading over and over again how we are targeted JUST BECAUSE WE ARE WHAT WE ARE! I wish we could somehow turn the tables and the bigots could live in fear for a change.

  20. Michael W. says

    Tread: agreed! I think we should initiate a nation-wide self-defense program. Encourage gays to learn how to fight to protect themselves…if necessary, with weapons…it’s the only way to change the stereotype that a gay is someone you can readily and easily beat up…

  21. Blair says

    Poor Jake! What an asshole. But I am so glad that he escaped the trailer park and made it to the big city where he is so safe from harm and surrounded by so many gays that life is just perfect.

    Give me a fucking break.

    Noone deserves to have their ass whooped just for where they live and who they are.

    Shallow Jake, Party of 1; Shallow Jake, Party of 1: Your table is now available…

  22. Frank says

    I passed through Santa Fe on a cross-country move with my partner three years ago. We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant and were almost physically attacked by a Marine type sitting at a nearby table with a female companion. (The restaurant was not far from the motel were James Maestas was attacked.) Santa Fe is typically described as a gay-friendly city.

    My point is, it’s not a matter of geography that dictates anti-gay violence. You can live in a big city surrounded by gay people and gay establishments and still get verbally and physically attacked. You can live in a rural town and never have a hint of trouble. The issue isn’t geography. The issue is that some people think that gays are legitimate targets and that if they beat up a homosexual they will be able to do it without any consequence.

  23. Joe T. says

    Just my opinion: Only sometimes do I see racism=homophobia: like when James Maestas was beaten the Mexicans and/or Mexican-Americans attacking reportedly called him “faggot” and him and his companion “fucking white boys”. In cases like that it’s obvious. Otherwise I’m starting to view homophobia and racism and anti-Semitism, etc., as not necessarily connected at all. Lets not strain to find parallels.

  24. Zeke says

    I know this will stun many of you but I am left speechless by this story and many of the responses here in the comments.

    Let me just say ditto to ABRANCHER and BEN. I am impressed by the depth and eloquence of your comments. I couldn’t have said it any better.

    JoeT., I hate to seem like I’m always climbing up your tree, but bubba, if that is as deep as you can to dig to make a connection between homophobia, racism and anti-Semitism then let me see if I can give you a little head start in linking their common threads: 1) hate 2) ignorance 3) fear 4) stereotyping.

    I don’t think that one has to make a huge stretch to see commonalities between all these forms of bigotry.

    Maybe you can take it from there.

  25. Joe T. says

    Zeke: Hate, ignorance, fear, stereotyping are all too broad as ideas to change my mind. I understand there can be parallels and the like (to all of those ideas connected to every hatred in history), but in cold hard reality I KNOW white homophobes who mostly hang out with blacks; and I know gay-friendly (and gay) racists.

  26. Joe T. says

    Jonathon: I’ve been attacked/queer-bashed in NYC twice (once by whites, and once by a group of blacks on the subway, though that might have been partially race-motivated). Believe me, I turned the tables on both groups of these guys so completely that I almost felt sorry for them afterwards. I know of other cases where it’s happened, too. The tables are sometimes turned on queer-bashers, but those are the cases you’ll never hear about.

  27. Cory says

    Fuck em all, if I EVER come across a gay basher/hetero, I’m bringing out what the Repblican asshat’s have worked so hard to emphasize: my .45. This is bullshit. I am tired of hearing about being “gay bashed”, I’ll pop a cap in the next bitch that tried to bring me down. Besides I’m 5’8″ and 195, I work out daily and I’ll be damned if I’ll be silenced. This is war bitches and I’m running guerilla tactics…

  28. Zeke says

    JoeT, I love ya bubba, God knows I do, but sometimes your train of thought is beyond me.

    Homos in Europe? Homophobic Muslim onslaught?

    Did I miss something in the story (to which this comment thread is dedicated). How the hell did the homos in Europe and homophobic Muslim onslaughts end up crashing into this trailer park in Arizona?

    It’s interesting to me that you earlier, on a different thread (to which I just responded), brought up how, in your opinion, liberals and gays “always” try to make a Republican or religious connection to gay bashers, even when there is none. That, I agree would be wrong. However, you seem to have no problem with bringing homophobic Muslims in Europe into a discussion about a gay bashing in Arizona. Is it the inappropriate insinuations of RELIGIOUS connections that upset you or just the inappropriate insinuations of CHRISTIAN connections by gays and liberals that do?

    I was almost convinced that Strawman arguments were your forte. Now I’m starting to think you’re equally proficient in the ole bait and switch. 😉

  29. Joe T. says

    Mr. Zeke: It’s the Christian connections that bother me. I’m not religious (in fact I think much of religion is silly), but I just don’t believe it and I don’t like playing – as I see it anyway- pretend, or putting false blame on anyone. Especially because I see it as getting away from what causes true homophobic assaults. The Muslim connections don’t bother me at all, since we have facts there: from the executions of gays in Iran to the homophobic attacks in Germany and the Netherlands (etc). I grant you the Muslim/European thing might be a bit offtrack from Arizona, okay (but I at least stayed in the realm of defending oneself from queer-bashers). But why do you keep saying I use Strawman tactics? I think I can back up everything I argue for with substance, facts, data, statistics, personal experience.. (though I’m always open to hearing other sides).

  30. Zeke says


    I am SO tempted to bite at your hook with the question of why I accuse you of Strawman debate tactics. However, it’s clear to me, having read your defense of the accusation; you don’t understand what a Strawman rhetorical tactic is. In order for me to explain my Strawman accusation I would first have to first explain what a Strawman is. That would require an explanation of what a logical fallacy is; which would in turn require an explanation of formal and informal fallacies. Then I would have to relate all of this to specific comments that you made. Not only would it require a lot of time and brain cells (both of which I fear would be wasted), it would also do exactly what Strawman arguments are intended to do in discussion boards; hijacking the board and derailing the discussion by distracting from the actual topic.

    Let’s just suffice it to say; I don’t believe you use these tactics intentionally. You set up a Strawman beautifully but you don’t follow through as effectively as one who actually understands the rhetorical technique would. I think it’s more likely that it comes naturally to you. For some reason this rhetorical “skill” seems to come very naturally to Neocons and fundamentalist Christians/Muslims. Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson and the entire Phelps Clan have built their careers on the razor sharp execution of this technique.

    I suggest you check out Wikipedia for more information on Strawman arguments. Perhaps you will be better able to utilize the technique once you obtain a conscious understanding of the mechanics of its use and have a better philosophical, and psychological understanding of why the technique, used properly, is so effective.

    Most important in the development of your skill, ObiJoe2Kanobi… Keep watching Bill and listening to Rush! Study them closely! They are Grand Masters of the Strawman and can teach grasshopper all the ways of the Dark Side. 😉

    I still love ya bubba!

    I guess I ended up bitin that damn hook after all. Touché! You got me Joe!

  31. Joe T. says

    Zeke: I thought a strawman argument was one creating a fake monster (a strawman) where none exists. Maybe I was wrong (I’ll look it up on wikipedia like you said). Either way, I always try to base my conclusions on outside facts and data, and personal experience.

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