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Gay West Virginia University Professor Describes 'Public Shaming' by Homophobic Student at Football Game

Daniel Brewster, a professor of Sociology at West Virginia University, says he was the target of a drunk student who hurled homophobic slurs at him at a football game two weeksago, and only one person came to his defense:

Wv Last Saturday as we celebrated the most electric atmosphere of my life within Mountaineer Field, I was forced to face one of my students who found the "liquid courage" to challenge my sexuality.

I watched as the young man approached from afar, and as he got closer, I could tell that I was his target. He arrived at my row and approached me with words of condemnation of my own sexual orientation, using several defamatory terms in an open social setting to attack a member of the faculty.

I was not only shocked that he would be so audacious, but I was publicly humiliated as hundreds of people interrupted their cheers to witness this "public shaming." Unfortunately, I was not surprised that only one of the onlookers would come to my defense.

Brewster says he has endured anti-gaybullying his whole life, including at WVU, but he's finished with it:

I have been a member of the faculty for 8 years. I have had students openly call me these terms of hate on more than one occasion. I once had a student write an evaluation stating that "the class would be better if the professor were not a ...," I have had students openly yell slurs at me from a distance, in passing, even once in class.

However, this occasion is different. I have seen the bullying that has taken the lives of Tyler, Jamey, as well as others like Seth Walsh, Asher Brown, and Billy Lucas. This bullying is rampant; the stories that we hear about illustrate an epidemic. As a society, we must stop this intolerance. We must work to end bullying.

After the game, I went home and all I could think about was this student's taunting. I am not a teenager; I am not a student on this campus. I am a member of the faculty, and yet even I was not even off-limits to the bullying, hate speech and intimidation tactics. I have little doubt that this student is not the "exception," though I am also not convinced that he is "the rule." I often discuss in all of my courses of the effects of discrimination, prejudice and hate crimes.

Enough is Enough [the daily athenaeum]

Our tipster adds: "One of our professors just wrote an op ed piece about his gay bashing experience two weeks ago at the WVU football game. I heard the word faggot used 27 times (I counted to ignore it in my own way, I guess) and some students had tied an LSU stuffed tiger to a rope and were swinging it around. One of them yelled "WATCH OUT THE TIGER HAS AIDS DONT TOUCH IT". I'm a member of the WVU Queer Student Union and our pride week is coming up very soon. We are trying to get the word out about the homophobia on our campus, since West Virginia is 15 years + behind the times, in social regards."

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  1. The guy was drunk. Drunks say the stupidest things...

    Did I mention that the guy was drunk?

    Posted by: Jose Soto | Oct 3, 2011 12:39:38 PM

  2. Doesn't matter IF he was drubk or not...avoid VA liek the HATE and BIGoT state it sister lives there in Fredericksburg - and I refuse to visit her there...they aren't getting a god-dammed penny of my tax dollars.

    Posted by: Gay American | Oct 3, 2011 12:47:41 PM

  3. I am disgusted by this. I am from West Virginia and live in Columbus, OH now. West Virginia has always been known as a fairly tolerant state...I had very few problems living and coming out there. My campus life at Marshall University was empowering and accepting back in the mid-90's.
    I am not sure if the student that verbally attacked the professor is from West Virginia but I guarantee a lot of the fans around him are. Shame!
    Rise up West Virginia!!

    Posted by: Travis | Oct 3, 2011 12:50:12 PM

  4. Doesn't matter that he was drunk. Drunk is not an alibi. For many people liquor serves as a truth serium.

    Posted by: oliver | Oct 3, 2011 12:51:11 PM

  5. Hey "gay american", it's West Virginia...not Virginia. Been a state since 1863.

    Posted by: Travis | Oct 3, 2011 12:53:01 PM

  6. Okay, so he's not going to be bullied anymore - but what is he doing about it other than writing an op-ed? Since this took place at a university event he should use that against the kid and get him thrown out of school. Or he should've kicked his ass.

    Posted by: pc | Oct 3, 2011 12:54:48 PM

  7. Props to the professor for speaking out and fighting back.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 3, 2011 12:55:16 PM

  8. I think the story may have been here at towleroad but weren't they doing PSA's at West Virginia's football stadium about racism by fans as well?

    Posted by: Chitown kev | Oct 3, 2011 12:56:52 PM

  9. I think GAY AMERICAN is drunk, he doesn't know how to spell or that VA and WV are two different places.

    Posted by: FernLaPlante | Oct 3, 2011 12:57:01 PM

  10. To the last comment... This story is about WEST Virginia not Virginia. they are two completely different states. If you refuse to visit your sister then that is your loss, not Virginia's

    Posted by: Dan | Oct 3, 2011 1:09:02 PM

  11. This incident occurred two weeks ago - what is the response of the WV University administration? Surely the faculty association has opined about a student publicly disrespecting a prof?

    Posted by: Dickster | Oct 3, 2011 1:11:04 PM

  12. So the fu*k what it someone calls you a "fag"? Why do we care? I mean really. I grew up and came out in a small town in Texas at the height of the AIDS crisis. It was anything but cool to be queer. Epithets, threats, you name it, I experienced it. Oh and that's along with the racial slurs. Guess what helps - fighting back. Maybe it's because I never was afraid of being gay. It never bothered me; I knew I was different by age 4. Lucky I guess. We're crippling gay youth. This coddling of them, stroking them and saying "there, there that was a big mean bully who called you [insert slur here]. Stop with the songs and cries for acceptance from others and the stopping of hatred. They will always hate us. Love yourself, buck up and just don't let them win. Stand up and fight back. Don't bloody hang yourself. There is nothing a bible thumping bigot hates more than an healthy, happy homo. Be one.

    Posted by: April in Austin | Oct 3, 2011 1:11:04 PM

  13. I thought it was supposed to be getting better?

    Posted by: Edd | Oct 3, 2011 1:12:09 PM

  14. April, I think one important thing--of many-- to take away from this is that only ONE person came to his defense.

    What the hell is going on on that campus that no one else in the stands would have told the guy to shut the F*&K up??

    Also, you can email the professor here:

    Posted by: rob | Oct 3, 2011 1:32:47 PM

  15. No one is going to offer us respect, dignity, rights or acceptance. We have to go out there one by one and take what is ours. Each one of us. We need to vote it into effect, we need to voice it into effect, we need to preach it into effect. We need to silence the voice of oppression by raising our voices against it. Don't wait for me to do it, don't wait for the next guy to do it. We need to do it together.

    Posted by: Jeff | Oct 3, 2011 1:54:09 PM

  16. Incredible ! The most successful country in the world, the most developed country in the world,and it just takes a drunken ass to besmirch the reputation so proudly earned.
    This drunk ranks with the other evangelical haters who have emboldened the extreme fascist right into the light of day.
    Bachman, Palin,and all the other fringe lunatics now think they are free to attack us in any forum.......even manipulating laws to deprive us of our rights.

    WE need to reelect Pres. that the Supreme Court does not get another of these creeps on the bench.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Oct 3, 2011 2:22:15 PM

  17. As a native West Virginian, I went to WVU for the first year of my undergrad (before transferring) thirty years ago, and the atmosphere was better then. WV is, indeed, historically a very accepting place, particularly as mostly-rural, mostly-poor states go. High Street (the main street in town) had a very high number of gay business owners and even gay and gay-friendly bars then -- right downtown, right off-campus -- and everybody knew it and nobody cared.

    However, the people who own this country have done an excellent job of dumbing down the population and turning Americans against each other.

    Things are not only not getting better, they are going to get a lot worse first. Americans are slaves to a handful of billionaires and we've had more than two generations made intentionally increasingly stupid so as to keep us docile and distracted. As they continue to destroy this country, no matter what strides we make in human rights, we're going to see a lot more of this.

    Good for the professor for speaking out. Your tipster has it exactly right regarding how far behind the times socially WV has always been. The difference is now the culture isn't simply retro, it's been deliberately poisoned.

    Posted by: anonwvualum | Oct 3, 2011 2:32:25 PM

  18. I predict someone is going to be dropping a class.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Oct 3, 2011 2:35:28 PM

  19. Not to attack the victim, but an OpEd piece hardly seems like much of a forceful response. Does being called a fag REALLY humiliate you? You're a professor. The punk is a student. Ever think of calling stadium security? Got an iPhone? Know how to snap a pic? Know how to post in online in order to publically identify the punk? Why are you counting on other people to step in to defend you? You have to be willing to defend yourself--not necessarily responding to the attacker with physical force, but at least being willing to take an action of consequence. It's not clear at all that writing an OpEd will have much consequence.

    Posted by: Spartacus | Oct 3, 2011 2:57:57 PM

  20. @Rob Why should someone have to come to the defense of a grown man when one of his students calls him a fag? Why can he not defend himself? Any straight man would have. Which I am sure is what all the bystanders were thinking.

    And if he HAD been a man about it and had responded appropriately, the little punk would have retreated, having learned his lesson.

    Instead, he behaved like a typical sissy, apparently, and I therefore have no sympathy at all for him.

    Being attacked or threatened by a mob is one thing; being physically threatened by someone who is much bigger and stronger than you is another, but allowing yourself to be publicly humiliated by one of your own students or by another man of the same size is truly pathetic and any gay man who allows that to happen has only himself to blame for becoming a constant target.

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 3, 2011 3:10:02 PM

  21. @Rick--Yeah, physically assaulting a student is not gonna cause any problems for the professor at all. No matter what the student was saying, that would only get the professor in trouble with the school as well as the law. And I love that you equate using violence to solve your problems with being a "man". Go back to your cave.

    Posted by: StillmarriedinCA | Oct 3, 2011 3:34:53 PM

  22. @STILLMARRIEDINCA Who said anything about assaulting the student? I wasn't there, but from the description, it sounded as thought the professor just sat there and allowed himself to be verbally abused, waiting--like a little woman would do--for someone to "come to his defense." He didn't even "talk back" to the student or put him in his place verbally. No, he just wimped out, which, as I say, no straight man would have done in exactly the same situation.

    As for using violence, it sometimes is necessary when you yourself are threatened by it--it doesn't sound like that was the case here, but it often is when gay men are attacked....and under those circumstances, yes, they should have enough courage to respond accordingly, and if they don't, then they are indeed cowards and less than you apparently are, based on your remarks.

    Squeal though some of you might, the world is never going to respect any of you for being cowardly little pu$$ies, no matter how much you whine......You can either behave like men or face the consequences of not doing so.....

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 3, 2011 3:48:41 PM

  23. The Elie Wiesel quote in the professor's full statement should be required reading for every public university administrator.

    Posted by: Skye Winspur | Oct 3, 2011 3:50:04 PM

  24. Anybody who follows college football knows what that stadium is like. This is sadly very mild compared to stuff that happens there all the time. Virginia Tech and Penn State (big rivals) won't play them anymore due to safety concerns. That stadium is an embarrassment to the state of West Virginia. The state as a whole is actually pretty tolerant and peaceful.

    Posted by: Matt | Oct 3, 2011 4:08:05 PM

  25. Defend yourself. Drunk guys go down easier. Take that any way you want...

    Posted by: RDUB | Oct 3, 2011 4:10:05 PM

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