Below is a disturbing e mail I received concerning queer bashing - which sadly is still a serious threat to many around the country. Even in these enlightened times and in big cities, small towns, and just about everywhere, many men are scared of 'the queer' and scared of their own sexuality, hence the violence shown to innocent gay men. The e mail below shocked me when I read it and please be aware that it is a little heavy and scarey. Do not read if you think this could disturb you.
I recently read your pages on how you are a MEN ONLY VENUE and I want to share an incident with you. I have created a hotmail account to send this to you and I will close it as soon as I have sent it. I live in fear because of the ignorance of others..
I am a 38 year old gay man. I had never been threatened or anything until 2 years ago. I was abducted by some guys I think were Russian or Polish while walking home from work late. I was bundled into a van and driven out to a lake some way from where I live. They told me they were going to kill me because I was queer. They spat in my face screaming that I was queer and unworthy of breathing. I actually shit and pissed in my pants as I have never been so scared. They had me tied up and told me they had done this before. They said they drugged guys in bars and drowned them in various lakes up and down the country. They said this was not the first time they had done this. I screamed that I was not queer and shouted at them I was married with 2 children and pretended all sorts of things I babbled and screamed. I was acting angry at them and screaming at them that they had made a mistake. John, I cannot tell you how awful it was, how utterly frightening it was and the looks on their faces of real hate towards me, the queer and it was like some scene from a horror film.
I was beaten, kicked and punched and I just crawled into a ball on the ground. My nose and cheekbone were broken and this went on for what seemed like hours. At one time I was just left in the cold and I could hear them arguing in a foreign language.
There was a moment when I thought it would be best to just die - to be out of this pain and fear and just be at peace, but something inside me got angry. Eventually they left me at the side of the road, dumping me out of the van as it drove and I broke my collar bone and right shoulder.
I was interviewed by the police while in hospital and they really gave me an attitude of 'don't give a damn' and I knew then that these guys would not be found and that the police would give it zero attention - just another queer being beaten. I kept phoning the police in the weeks and months after and they acted irritated at my calls. I eventually gave up in resignation that my attackers would never be caught.
I quit my job. I packed my bags and left the town and have never been back. I moved to London where the anonymity of large crowds can hide me. I have felt safer here but have rarely visited gay bars and am still too damned scared to do much at all. I rarely go out alone in the dark. I am slowly re building my confidence and have a good job now, but it has taken me all this time to be able to put it on paper. I cannot tell you how long it has taken me to write this to you .
I know the law of equality was introduced some time ago but the stupidity of it all is the lack of education to the people, as homophobia and abuse is still happening. I am here to tell you how absolutely frightening it was. Your venue offers what you call a safe haven, a refuge, and this is still very needed. Until the people accept what the law states, this will continue. I read your web site often and admire what you do there. You have taken great risks at being an escort and in running a gay venue. I admire that and am pleased to read that you have never had any problems. I am sure I was just in the wrong place and the wrong time and sadly for me is an incident I can never forget. Please stay men only and please stay open . I shall visit one day when I get the guts.
From John in reply:
The e mail above horrified me and as I read it I could see pictures in my head - like some movie - of what this guy went through. I have never had any problems like this and I am sure many of you out there have not either, but I did loose a friend some decades ago who was kicked to death while cruising in a park in west London, by a group of 13 year old boys, and another friend back in the 70's who was beaten to death by a bloke with an iron bar screaming homophobic abuse at him ( he went to jail as he was caught - but the kids were never found ) and my sympathy goes out to the guy above.
I hope he does come and visit and tells me who he is - as it took great guts to write to me and I would suggest he starts to talk about this with someone - either a counsellor or at least - a friend with a sympathetic and intelligent ear, as keeping it inside will not help and it does need to be shared and spoken of and get it out in the open. It's amazing how much healing can take place when any problem is shared.
I wish him well. If he ever gets in contact again he would be welcome to come and visit Hamilton Hall as my guest.
Homophobia is alive and well and there are still random acts of violence against gay men and women, there is still much ignorance and fear and with countries like Iran executing two 15 year old boys for being gay and with the Pope ranting against gays and so much more, the law may say one thing but the mass of ignorance that still exists amongst many in our population, is frightening.
If you would like to comment on this or add your own story, please e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and everything will be kept strictly private and confidential
Dear John: I read the e mail on your site about the man who was beaten in a homophobic attack and must say that I have been queer bashed a couple of times and back in the 80's 'set up' by the 'pretty police' and arrested outside the Colehurn (gay) Pub in Earls Court for cruising a guy inside the pub who turned out to be a copper. Although I argued against the courts and the conviction, I was fined £150 for indecent behaviour with intent to sollicit for sexual purposes, even though it was the policeman who flashed his dick at me in the bogs and the policeman who approached me on the kurb outside, all of which they denied. The homophobic bigotry from the police at the time was disgraceful. Marcus M. Dear John. Your 'HORROR STORY OF QUEER BASHING' reminded me of just a few years ago when I was arrested for having too many drinks one night and sitting in the back of my car with no intentions of driving home, just sleeping it off. I was arrested and taken to the cells where 2 police officers called me queer and puff and all sorts of other offensive words and indicated they disapproved of my being gay and considered it to be less than human. I actually laughed at them and pointed out how ignorant they were, which got me smacked around for a while and badly bruised in the face which they claimed came from the other person in the cell with me who had attacked me when they were not around. It seems Hammersmith Police Station had a reputation of abuse and I was in the wrong place to mouth off in reply. Queer bashing continues and not always by kids or the less intelligent. ( name withheld ) Dear John and Kristian Three in a bed with your B&B was screened here in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday evening and I was touched by you and what you do that I was compelled to write to firstly say, I think Andrew was a pretentious sap, and that you both presented yourselves with dignity,self-respect and generosity. So charming, friendly and hospitible are you and also Hamilton House, that I am almost sorry that I am not a gay/bisexual man and can\'t visit/stay in your company for a while (if/when we finally make our way to enchanting England). I also cried along with you when Claire paid and expressed her heartfelt comments to you - she was correct in every regard. I don\'t normally do this, but I was so touched I just wanted to say hello from downunder and also thank you for being the people you are and having the courage, foresight and selflessness to open up your lives and elegant B&B to a community group who, sadly, even in the 21st century, sometimes still have to fight for their right to just be. Thank you and all the best Wanda A happily married, middle-aged hetro-woman