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San Diego LGBT Pride Head Attacked, Beaten at Equality Torch Relay


Rex Wocker reports that the Executive Director of San Diego LGBT Pride, Ron DeHarte, was attacked and beaten in the town of Lemon Grove during an 'Equality Torch Relay' which made its way around 18 incorporated towns and cities in San Diego County and finished in downtown San Diego.

Deharte Wockner writes: "In an interview the following day, deHarte said: "I was waiting for the Equality Torch Relay to come by Main and Broadway and standing in front of the famous overly life-size lemon (statue), and with a rainbow flag big as day ... and someone decided to remove me from Lemon Grove. He started whaling on me and tried to take the flag away and made it very clear he didn't think I should be there: 'Get out of here. What do you think you're doing? You need to get the fuck out of here. Get that out of here. There's no place for you here.' All the while, he was grabbing at the rainbow flag and trying to take it away from me. And he was kicking me and slapping. He hit me good a couple of times. ... I got the side of his fist the first time he hit me, then I think he got my lower jaw on another time. He kicked me a few times. I wasn't bleeding or anything. It certainly hurt. I certainly had soreness as the day went on, and this morning when I woke up, I realized my upper lip was swollen and the inside of my cheek was cut up." (deHarte photo by rex wockner)

The attack ended when the assailant realized he was on video.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports: "In a twist on protesting, organizers mobilized about 140 residents in far-flung corners of the county to walk their own streets carrying a 'torch' as a symbol of the cause. The torch's flames were actually pieces of shaped metal. An attack on the event organizer in Lemon Grove, which resulted in the arrest of an Oceanside man, was the only interruption of what was a relatively peaceful event."

Video of the last moments of the attack, AFTER THE JUMP...

Head of San Diego Pride Attacked, Beaten [wockner]
Carrying the Torch for Gay Marriage [san diego union tribune]

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  1. Yeah, gay bashing is okay as long as it isn't on tape. I'm glad they got this guy on video. I'm sick and tired of phobes saying violence against gays doesn't happen.

    Posted by: taodon | Jun 8, 2009 8:57:41 AM

  2. I hope that sorry m-fer is in jail for asault and a hate crime.

    Posted by: shane | Jun 8, 2009 9:18:41 AM

  3. "the suspect"? Is that thug in the witness protection program? Unless i missed it, why haven't you or the San Diego Union named the @#$%^ who was arrested for this hate crime?

    Posted by: Grego | Jun 8, 2009 9:40:18 AM

  4. from what it looks like he was a young black/hispanic thug....who has NO clue what its like to have thier rights trampled on....disgusting!

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Jun 8, 2009 11:09:34 AM

  5. I agree DA, the man's ethnicity always counts. Boo blatinos! Down with your wicked homophobia.

    Keyword: Bell Curve.


    Posted by: Surprised | Jun 8, 2009 11:20:26 AM

  6. I am disgusted at the previous commentors racism.

    Posted by: More Disgusted American | Jun 8, 2009 11:24:16 AM

  7. Really? It was a parody of your last post.

    Oh the irony.

    Posted by: Surprised | Jun 8, 2009 11:36:59 AM

  8. my old home town! gotta love san diego-our own little piece of the old south right here in california.

    Posted by: alguien | Jun 8, 2009 11:40:47 AM

  9. When will gay men learn how to fight back? Not trying to blame the victim, but why is a beefy looking gay guy allowing himself to get beat up by an unarmed skinny homophobe?

    Posted by: elg | Jun 8, 2009 12:17:01 PM

  10. @Elg:
    He was hardly beaten up, just knocked around a bit. The guy didn't even get the flag out of his hands. And while I'd whole heartedly endorse fighting back (and sending the phobes to the ICU, if you can) in an alley late at night, during a demonstration fighting back can easily be misreported as "rioting" or "street battles" which is what often happens at some anti-globalization protests when a handful of those unconnected to the organizers get all the press. This guy did the right thing, blocking the hits he could and holding on to the flag.

    Posted by: Alex | Jun 8, 2009 12:23:51 PM

  11. The whole of San Diego county is a pit in my opinion.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jun 8, 2009 12:43:09 PM

  12. as usual - comment on towleroad - lathered up in self-hate

    non-violent protest - which is what a gay pride event is for the clueless - means just that non-violent

    if attacked take your lumps dont fight back

    Posted by: facts are facts | Jun 8, 2009 12:45:11 PM

  13. clueless or no, we've taken way too many "lumps." i think it's time we fight back, whenever, wherever, however we can. nobody has ever gotten their proper rights until they stood up and fought for them. and no, i am definitely not blaming the victim here. i'm just sick of phobes getting by w/this shit. all you boys who love to go to the gym so damn much -- use those muscles to take up for yourselves. bullies must be stopped.

    Posted by: Jim | Jun 8, 2009 1:20:13 PM

  14. Jim -- actually the civil rights movement was non-violent and I think there may have been much progress there.

    I believe the Gay Pride movement has been non-violent for every gain past Stonewall.

    I also believe the Woman's Rights Movement was non-violent.

    When the first gay person throws a punch or shoots a gun we have lost the moral high ground.

    There are laws against assualt. The guy assaulted here could have and should have call the cops .... I would have been all for his friends holding the guy down until he could have been arrested....

    Posted by: facts are facts | Jun 8, 2009 1:41:21 PM

  15. fair enough, FAF. i'm just sick and tired of seeing us attacked, injured, victimized over the years.

    to paraphrase woody allen, when you're dealing with nazis/fascists, an op-ed piece in the times just isn't sufficient.

    Posted by: Jim | Jun 8, 2009 1:59:34 PM

  16. FAF, please spare us your 'moral high ground' sermon. There's no such thing as a 100% non-violent movement. The black movement had it and we have had it. Back in the 90's there were a group of queers that would "bash back" and leave a spray painted note where it happened. There is no way you, or anyone else, can control a community as diverse as ours.
    And seriously, you're suggesting that if we're getting beat up to not fight back in self defense? We are NOT pussy's! And I will help defend anyone else who is being beat up. The reality of this world is not all patchouli, peace, love and harmony.
    What disgusts me most is that NO ONE came to this guys aid. They just stood around watching as someone gets fag bashed.

    Posted by: Mr. E | Jun 8, 2009 4:54:45 PM

  17. Deharte shud'a been pack'n heat. It's now the only way.
    Yes I agree, NoBama !!

    Posted by: hadassah weinreb | Jun 8, 2009 6:29:54 PM

  18. Facts are Facts is the very definition of the emasculated weak gay man.

    Thank god I'm not you.

    Fight back!

    Posted by: Seriously | Jun 8, 2009 10:36:59 PM

  19. Fuck the "moral high ground". Everyone has a right to defend themselves....and to do it with as much force as necessary. In this case, I think DeHarte decided he wasn't going to let anyone take his flag from him which hampered his ability to fight back. If he'd let go of the flag, he could have probably gotten a couple of good shots in.

    Posted by: Wheezy | Jun 8, 2009 11:12:22 PM

  20. Hello, girl, you have a huge flagpole in your hand. It's not just a baton. You should have beat his ass with that stick.

    Posted by: gwyneth cornrow | Jun 8, 2009 11:30:10 PM

  21. Yeah sure, fight back with the stick and then that thug pulls a knife out and stabs you in the neck. Never! - fight back. I live in London and too often I read about some poor victim who fought back and was murdered. Is fighting back worth your life? I don't think so.

    Posted by: Jay | Jun 9, 2009 6:17:29 AM

  22. Ah, man, the comments on this site regarding the use of violence make me pause about whether the "gay community" deserves any rights at all, as a "community."

    The message of that man holding onto his flag is way more powerful than a couple of punches to his assailant's face ever would have been.

    Posted by: Aaron | Jun 9, 2009 1:04:45 PM

  23. It does, however, illustrate the point that the LGBT community are peacefully fighting their rights while their opponents are violently trying to prevent them from acquiring those rights.

    Every incident is a microcosm of the larger society. One hung Black man swinging from a tree would ignite violent riots all over Black America.

    How many dead Lesbians/Gays/Trans have ignited the same in the Gay community? Or, better still, when was the last time pacifism worked to achieve civil rights in this country? Dr. King's movement was a peaceful one, but it cannot be divorced from the concurrent violence that helped it along ON BOTH sides. Mahatma Ghandi led a peaceful opposition to British rule in India. But one lone, small man starving himself to death would have done nothing to wrest the jewel from the Victorian Crown.

    When the prize is worth it and all avenues have been closed, you should never be afraid to stand up and fight for your rights.

    Posted by: Rain | Jun 9, 2009 1:45:05 PM

  24. OMG, comments that suggest we should take physical abuse are just misguided. Think for a minute.. What if Rose Parks was assulted by the Barney who arrested her, would her self defense have minimized her actions? Of course not.

    Maybe rainbow flagpoles need to come with sharp points on the ends

    Posted by: grego | Jun 11, 2009 8:10:20 PM

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