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28 Dec 2010

Fellow gay men did not help, says gay-bashing victim

A gay man, who was attacked outside a gay bar in downtown Austin, Texas and in the presence of at least 20 onlookers – some of whom are likely to be gay men, say he is shocked that no one tried to help him and his friend.

A 26-year-old local activist and his friend were attacked by five men right on 4th Street in downtown Austin, Texas – where several gay bars are located – at about 1.30am on Sunday morning.

Bobby Beltran is a gay activist who helped organise this year’s QueerBomb in Austin, Texas.

The Dallas Voice, a gay newspaper, reported that Bobby Beltran an activist who helped organise this year’s QueerBomb in Austin and his friend had hugged each other goodbye on the sidewalk after leaving a gay bar when some men in a passing vehicle yelled, “Fucking faggots, stop that queer shit!”

As Beltran yelled at the men to “get out of here,” all five of them jumped out of the vehicle which they left in the middle of the street, and attacked him and his friend for several minutes.

Beltran said he fought back but sustained cuts and bruises and a black eye while his friend may have suffered a broken jaw, the Voice reported. Their attackers then quickly drove off. 

He told the paper: “I’ve never in my life been in any kind of violent situation, especially a hate crime, so it’s been pretty traumatic. Austin is supposed to be a gay haven, especially on 4th Street. What scares me even more is that nobody even helped.

“I come from Brownsville, Texas. Even down there I was out since I was 13, and I never got picked on in high school. To find out that it’s here in Austin on 4th Street, and knowing that fellow gay men were not doing anything about it, is just shocking.”

Beltran also said he yelled out the license plate of the vehicle as he ran after the attackers, but no one wrote it down and he doesn’t remember it.

The incident is the third anti-gay attack reported in Austin this year.

What Would You Do? 
American television network ABC's "hidden camera, ethical dilemma series" What Would You Do? decided to see how people would react if they witnessed a hate crime – in this case a Hispanic man being attacked on the street.

This experiment was inspired by a real life incident when Jose Sucuzhanay was walking home from a party in Brooklyn, N.Y., in December 2008 when two strangers attacked him with an aluminum bat. The Ecuadorian died a week later from his injuries.

From a control room nearby, his brother Diego Sucuzhanay watched people's reactions and many of them walking on by as the "victim" was attacked and on the floor begging for help.

"Some of them appeared Latino themselves," the host of the programme John Quinones himself noted. "You would think they would jump in."

But why didn't they? It's interesting to watch men decide to do nothing and/or say they were afraid that the gang would turn on them while a petite young woman got out of her car and physically intervened.

Other videos:

United States

Reader's Comments

1. 2010-12-28 20:12  
This sounds more like in Malaysia without the bashing... But mentally bashing someone is also as bad as physically...
2. 2010-12-28 20:53  
those videos are soooo inspiring!!
3. 2010-12-28 21:30  
In Australia you can be charged by police for "not helping" but here on "Gay Street" they have alot of security, so remember to be friendly to security staff! you would be stupid to go somewhere with no security..
Comment edited on 2010-12-28 21:33:11
4. 2010-12-28 21:55  
"In Australia you can be charged by police for "not helping" but here on "Gay Street" they have alot of security, so remember to be friendly to security staff! you would be stupid to go somewhere with no security.. "

But Texas is one of the least gay-friendly states here in the USA - most of the southern states share this view. It isn't really surprising to me to read this, however shocking and dismaying it is. People down there are just anti in a lot of ways, and it's sickening to be reminded of it. Some Texans and other Southerners still think they can make a comeback from losing the Civil War, for crying out loud! :(
5. 2010-12-28 23:04  
Omg! I was just in Austin for a Conference just 2 months back! And boy was I at 4th Street. I was even staying at Marriott 4th Street. To be very honest, I totally didn't think Texas was all that gay friendly. Just 2 streets down the road at 6th Street, there are tonnes of homophobes loitering around.
The city feels safe because its just an absolute dead town (it comes alive really because of regularly held International Conferences). So many of the local homophobes would probably just seek entertainment bashing us up.
Poor thing - get this guys. Dont even bother visiting that city. Its really quite a sad place. And now with this, even sadder. Tragic!

Comment #6 was deleted by its author on 2010-12-28 23:25
7. 2010-12-28 23:18  
I cant believe people stand there and do NOTHING! wow.
8. 2010-12-28 23:52  
If i lived in Austin Texas i would be exercising my rights under the american constitution; concealed carry .So if anyone wants to hurt me and they think it,s worth risking their lives for then bring it on. The pocket freight train will get the job done every time, Glock 36 in 45 acp; or they could always meet my two best friends mr smith and mr wesson. !!!!!!!!!!!!
Get a firearms licence and carry a gun it,s your right under the american constitution. Freedom Liberty Justice for all. god bless the USA
9. 2010-12-29 00:24  
I agree, there is nothing in Texas I want. Esp since that moron Bush came from Texas. It is legal to carry a gun there and that is exactly what I'd do.

Let's see how those idiots would like staring down the barrel of a 38 special as they got out of their car.
10. 2010-12-29 00:48  
very sad that nobody helped out.. at least getting the license plate and vehicle/people descriptions if they were unwilling to get involved physically..
11. 2010-12-29 01:22  
it's sad to see how many people let the bullying continue, but some of the bystanders were truly inspiring!
12. 2010-12-29 01:33  
Texas is like the epicenter of GOP-brand homophobia in the US. Austin may be progressive by Texas's archaic standards, but that's a bit like being the smartest kid in special ed. This is the state that brought the world George W. Bush. And Wyoming, another state with a high-profile gay-bashing (and murder -- Matthew Shephard) unleashed Dick Cheney. Need anyone really say more?

I continue to be humiliated by my own countrymen.
13. 2010-12-29 01:59  
That woman in the last video, is so beautiful. Yeah, I know, like most of you, we wouldn't ever think so, ever. But it's people like her that fight for better lives for all of us. If someone like that fought for so many of us, I think we would all be alot less damaged... and maybe feel like the world is just slightly safer with guardians around like her.

Be less superficial, take time to see the wonderful people within less attractive shells.

That's a daily reminder to myself.

I would say that I wished someone fought for me while coming out, but that would be redundant in this circle, considering everyone probably feels the same way.
14. 2010-12-29 03:55  
lets be honest, the majority of people stand back and don't get involved in any type of assault - homophobic or not. it is observed all over the world, in all manner of situations. if you see a large number of people not helping when you arrive, your natural survival instinct is to fear there is a real risk of serious physical harm to yourself if you do get involved. these events are exascerbated by laws that can potentially leave you liable to a criminal or civil charge if you seriously injure or kill an attacker - fortunately these are being changed in some countries. as for the trigger happy gunslingers above, consider the consequences if you pull out your gun, and get one shot off before they are upon you - i would suggest you would emerge far worse than if you didn't have a gun. talk is cheap, but in a real life situation, do not underestimate the power of millions of years of evolution and survival instinct.
15. 2010-12-29 04:06  
I think we should start beating up straight people, just because we dont like the way they look or just because we hate the way they dress up, we need to start a revolution, gay people needs to start to go out there and beat up the straight people to send a message, they think they can get away with anything, those stupid heteros.
16. 2010-12-29 04:15  
What group of 100% straight dudes would pile into a car and drive along a gay street at 1:30 am Sunday morning, checking out the guys instead of working the horny chicks in a straight bar trying to get laid? There could be a "ken mehlman" or two in the car that night.

Ken Mehlman: "the former Republican Party chairman who ran George W. Bush's gay-bashing 2004 presidential campaign, has come out ..." see www.metafilter.com/95124/Ken-Mehlman-comes-out
17. 2010-12-29 06:16  
And if they were REAL thugs...what kinda shape would miss arnandes be in now??????? SURELY...nobody is advocating we all become vigilantes and take on vicious thugs?
SURELY the response that should be advocated is to call the police?????
18. 2010-12-29 06:19  
And that last woman PRAYING!?!!!!!!!!!!!????????????
Stop wasting time...and phone for a damn ambulance!!!!!!!!!!
19. 2010-12-29 09:01  
Don't even try to blame the bystanders for your stupid actions. Don't even try to use the gay-bashing card because this is not it. What happened was the result of him opening his mouth without thinking. This sounds like a small town ignorant fool that just moved to a big city thinking he is hot shot and can say whatever he wants. And that's what happens to people who thinks they are hot shot. I feel sorry for his friends who took a beating because of his stupid actions.

I grew up in LA and whether you're straight or gay, you always get these guys driving by calling names. You just ignore and move on. If I was there, I would not help him.
Comment #20 was deleted by its author on 2010-12-29 09:40
21. 2010-12-29 09:42  
So that justifies these morons getting out of their car and beating the day lights out of two men, good answer. I live in LA dude, no one is so bloody stupid as to yell at guys in WeHo because many live at the gym and are more then capable of defending themselves!!
As for myself, I was the kid who got his ass kicked regularly by bullies and my older brother.  After years of weight lifting and martial arts training I no longer get hassled and when I do (got yelled at by a moron in a car in my home town of San Jose, no wonder I moved) I don't back down, I say bring it on and I will send you crying back to your mommy.
Coming to the aid of those who are in need in humane my fellow humans.  Yes, you take a risk of getting hurt as well but I have come to the aid of a half a dozen people over the years, and with one exception I never had to use force to resolve the situation just my presences and the fact that someone questioned what was happening was enough to end it.
I am not suggesting we gather up pitch forks and have at the thugs but sometimes the police are not available. We profess to live in a civil society and as such we are by design suppose to look out for one another so intervening during such an attack could mean the diffeence between life and death.  For all those bible thumps who would rather hide behind the coats of th cops remember what Kan asked God after killing his brother, "what, am I my brother's keeper?" Indeed ladies and gentleman YOU ARE your brother's keeper!! This is not a world of magic, so if you want society were there is no crime YOU MUST participate!!!  Community Watches work and serve to reduce crime, so why not expand that to the world around you, where ever you go?!?
Just a thought ....
22. 2010-12-29 10:03  
Very touching and inspiring videos. Can move you to tears. Can make you stronger to face the world.
23. 2010-12-29 10:28  
Totally agree with #14. It's easy to criticize others for not jumping in to "do something," but I'd be admittedly reluctant to take on five men who were already in a bit of a rage. I'd certainly call the police immediately and may try to verbally intervene, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't go barreling into the middle of a 5-on-1 fight.
24. 2010-12-29 10:42  
seems ironic to me that some one that organises an event ignobly termed as 'Queer bomb' as if it's to be used as a badge of honour then gets verbally abused and attacked as 'queer' in the traditional heterosexual negative, doesn't work does it fella's appropriating a hate slur thinking it's smart, lets face it 'Oueer - Poof - Faggot' they are all heterosexual hate slurs and unworthy of our useage and how many men were murdered having them spat at them stupid here may now think differently about being a 'queer' and the lesson to be learned is even in liberal countries still be aware and conscious of what your doing it's just a fact of life gay men should be more street savvy. I got rolled out side my house one night not a anti gay reason just robbery the neighbours heard but didn't come out though eventually my brave little Thai Ex heard and came and chased them up the road with a sword..lol.. it can happen any where any time for any reason just opportunistic events best to not use them as reasons to be come professional victims but become more intuitive and street smart I'm never intoxicated on the streets it dulls your intuitive sences, your common sence (like screeming back abuse) and leaves you open to aggression
Comment edited on 2010-12-29 10:57:34
Comment #25 was deleted by its author on 2010-12-29 10:45
26. 2010-12-29 10:49  
The 3rd video made me tear up.
Comment #27 was deleted by its author on 2010-12-29 10:51
28. 2010-12-29 10:53  
Excellent, it's the victims fault, also a good answer! The question isn't whether these guys asked to be beaten, the question is would you sit by and over analysis the situation then attempt to help them?!?

Glad to know we value life so much that we are reluctant to risk our own!!! What if it was your mom, your father, your brother?!? Would you be so reluctant then, I should hope not, but whose to say that the life you save won't have amazing impact on the future, more than yours or your family's lives?!? That said, why shouldn't you risk it all for a stranger?!? For God sake man up!!!
29. 2010-12-29 11:09  
This world is a cruel place but its people like those heroes who stands up for other people who cant stand for themselves in that video that makes this life a better place...Those are the real humans worth call an angel...
30. 2010-12-29 11:23  
it's easy to judge when you weren't there yourself but the sad reality is, that most people wouldn't know what to do if they were to find themselves in such a situation...
31. 2010-12-29 11:44  
Even without the reporting of this incident, Texas would be one of the last places I would want to visit on the planet. The wacko's in Texas aren't all in Waco.

As far as helping out in a situation like this; it's a difficult call, we'd all like to help, but better a live coward than a dead hero. Unfortunately killing and bullying seem to be a way of life in America. From books to computer games to cinema, it's fed to Americans from a very young age and the weak minded soak it up.
32. 2010-12-29 12:20  
I live in Seattle but I still own a house in Austin (since 2004 and lived there from 1991-2007).

Austin is VERY gay friendly, more so than San Francisco or Los Angeles or even New York. The city of Austin has ZERO tolerance for gay bashings. The Dallas Voice hates Austin because it is much safer than Dallas. I used to live in Dallas (1992-93, 1994-95). Dallas is jealous since it has a gay area and Austin does not (gay people live and work anywhere they want in Austin).

I bet this story does NOT have all the facts.

That being said, when someone yells at you. You ignore them. You do NOT taunt them; taunting someone anywhere in the world is stupid.

It's a shame that Fridae would only promote something like this. 3 bashings in 1 year in a metro area of 2 million people; very small. The city is very friendly and lots of gay positive things. Why does Fridae ignore those?

If you believe the facts in this story, you are missing out on a lively and fun city.

33. 2010-12-29 13:03  
Sheesh, this is so NOT about Austin... Could have been Dallas or Brooklyn or wherever.
34. 2010-12-29 15:04  
And they wonder why the world sees USA as morally corrupt...
35. 2010-12-29 15:12  
hey, lagunabro would have your back, i would fight, no problem

those gay onlookers were most probablly gay activists more concerned about kinky sex programs then helping gay men at the most critical movement of need

my daddy taught me to fight for myself and others in distress

that's why super heroes have secret identies

now there are gay mayors in Texas so its a very tolerant place

but guys fight sometimes, so learn to protect yourself and your brothers

Texas Cowboys are such hotties, I love going to the country western bars and doing the Texas two step, real gay men are from Texas the long horn state

Kind of like the cowboys in Madonna's Don't Tell Me Video

36. 2010-12-29 15:14  
we also need more hunky strong gay cops and bouncers
37. 2010-12-29 15:19  
It will take sometime to make American people friendly to gay like Canada. The laws and education are the only ways to change next generation to be more open to gay people. As long as Gay marriage is not recognized in Federal law and protected by US constitutions, there is not way you can touch educating children about gay in school.

One of the biggest lawsuite pertaining to gay education happend few years ago in Vancouver. The school board introduced Gay love story book for 7 years old kids, which was opposed by religion grounds and parents. The fight went all the way up to The Supreme Court. The ruling was so encouraging to gay people. The court could not see what is the different between gay love and straight love since Canadian constitutions are no longer differential gay and straight people, they are the same. Therefore educating about LOVE (gay or straight) can be as young as they can understand. As far as the rights of parents pertaining to this school program, well, The School board and government are responsible and have the right to education all Canadians in the way in line with our Constitutions, Not parents. Cheeeeeer!!!

This is the ultimate way for USA. Legalize gay marriage is very important step to produce gay friendly americans in next generation, otherwise it is hard when the laws against it.

Canadian gays are very lucky. We have everything from the highest laws to protect our equal rights. Well, We fought for years to get to this level. Never give up, Americans. You will be like us soon. Eventually The Supreme Court of USA will change entirely what kind of gay future there; either to hell or heaven. We all pray for the best outcome. I believe it should be heavan unless the Supreme judges are blind and humanless. I have 80% of confident that Gay marriage will be legalize before 2020 in USA.
38. 2010-12-29 17:17  
It's called the Bystander Intervention Effect.
39. 2010-12-29 19:40  
Should mobilize a vigilante patrol group like "The Pink Poisse" in the American TV series "Queer As Folk", where fault finding homophobic assholes were bashed up by groups of queers..!:)
40. 2010-12-29 22:04  
well ...whats the use of all those lumps of muscles..why not put to good use ? .... for display only
41. 2010-12-29 22:46  
OMG! This is shocking, no one even help that poor guy. I hope he will recover soon. My sincere prayers for you. XX
42. 2010-12-30 02:14  
I love the two actors. And that lady....she owned that guy even its all acting.
43. 2010-12-30 03:29  
its always sad to see these kind of news being reported.

Time and time again I feel that if everyone has a "gay friend" or a "gay relative", somewhere close to them, they'd understand, that we're all just humans like them just with a different preference.

Life brings us to many interesting situations but never something too big to overcome and from this case, we all here will continue to learn and grow from it. Its encouraging to see that people are continuing to step up to gay rights everyday and surely it will only get better.

As long we all play our part in encouraging and spreading sincere and genuine Love, care and concern, I really do believe an understanding will grow from all these someday.

There will always be an "ideal" world that we want, but lets be real and accept that there will always be a defect and wrong somewhere somehow, but its about minimizing these injudicious events.

Till then, spread Love my friends :)
44. 2010-12-30 06:28  
Btw #14 in totally incorrect about the laws in the US, please take care about quoting laws of other nations. The Good Samaritan laws cover you if you come to someones aid. Whether you help someone in a car accident or in this case defend someone from bodily injury these laws protect you proved you acting in the moment.

For example hunting down an attacker after the fact isn't covered, that truly is the job of your locate law enforcement. And though I am no fan of guns the Good Samaritan laws actually proves for payment of the bullets you fire to stop someone from committing an unlawful violent act. That said, it must be in the moment and because firearms are considered 'deadly force' you must only use them if you feel someone's life in threatened.

Also if you are injured defending someone acts like Victims of Violent Crime in California pay for your injuries. Protect yourself and know the laws!!

Why do I know all of this all too well, because I did get seriously injured defending someone in front of my own home in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles. Violence can happened anywhere and though I bear the scars of my action to this day (lost a tooth and have a nice half inch scar under my left eye) my actions saved a nurse who was being threaten while rendering aid and averted further violence.

I could say, "I have done my part, sustained injury myself and no one came to my aid! To Hell with the world!" Instead I see my actions as part of the greater good, so regardless of what others do or don't I refuse to lay down my values and sit by helplessly while people suffer before my eyes. Such shame would weigh heavier on me than any physical scars!
45. 2010-12-30 07:47  
This journalist is amazing! I'd like to know more about him. (I am talking about the TV clips.) He reminds me of the "Good night, and good luck" journalist.
46. 2010-12-30 15:30  
nobody's help? no suprise i think...wherever that is...what make us think that gay/les are more loyal to own community when come to personal safety? neither is straight people.

so saying the world are getting selfish, no matter what sexual preference is, we just need to live with it :)
Comment #47 was deleted by its author on 2010-12-30 15:31
Comment #48 was deleted by its author on 2010-12-30 19:15
49. 2010-12-30 19:15  
I think what's needed is a public education campaign targeted at the LGBT communities of various regions, based on the different situation, laws and threats that apply there. Without telling what gays can and should do, it's only human instinct to care most for his OWN safety when one encounters a fellow gay being abused by a gang of hooligans. It's only understandable why most bystanders would not intervene.

It's only in the LGBT community's interests if the public become more aware of, and responsible for, the price of hate crimes. In simple words, we need to make sure that more of such offenders get prosecuted and jailed so that the public know that the hate crime laws are not just for show. We can never eliminate hate crimes, because mentally ill people like these gay-bashers do live amongst us. But what we can do to protect ourselves is to remind them that there's a legal price to pay for gay-bashing.

In order to accomplish this, gay businesses (including pubs, pride parades, etc.) in those places where gay-bashing is a threat must take the necessary steps:
1) CCTV installed to monitor the surroundings
2) Quick access to security personnel (e.g. pub's own security guards, the building's security guards, police posts)
3) Other security equipment such as siren, spot lights, electroshock weapons, etc. which are permissible by law

Patrons should also be educated as to how to respond in such situations. For example, they should inform the pub's manager immediately. The manager should be trained to respond appropriately. For example, turning on a siren and a spotlight; calming down the customers; calling for the most accessible security personnel; ordering the abusers to stop the assault using a loudspeaker and informing them that security personnel had been alerted and will be arriving in a short while.

Better still, the music could be stopped and the manager/organiser could request all the customers to assemble at the scene and use their camera-enabled hand-held devices to capture the actions and become eye-witnesses to the crime (at the customers' own risk; the pub makes it clear they are not responsible for any injury or losses arising from such participation).

If the above steps are taken, such gay-bashers wouldn't dare to bully us at our 'territory' (i.e. gay pubs and pride parades). More of such gay-bashers need to be arrested and jailed so that public awareness about the price for hate crimes can be raised.
50. 2010-12-30 19:19  
"they could always meet my two best friends mr smith and mr wesson. !!!!!!!!!!!!" (comment No. 8, from 'christain' - and no, I don't think he means 'Christian')
So what's the rule then - shoot first, then think and ask questions later?? In this case, you would have killed 3 actors for chrissakes!
And what's the situation? 3 thugs attacking an innocent bypasser, who happens to be gay or Hispanic, or 3 members of one drug gang, possibly armed, attacking a single guy from an encroaching gang? And if you succeed in hurting one of the attackers, he can sue you for assault!!
Does your medical insurance cover you leaping into a street brawl?
I am not defending the inaction of the bypassers, but we shouldn't be too hasty to condemn them. After all, what did you do last time you walked past a street fight?
51. 2010-12-31 03:37  
In 9th grade, waiting at a Minneapolis city bus stop, after buying a Christmas gift for my mother, I was jumped and assaulted by several guys who ran across the street and singled me out without provocation. I was beat in front of 30 people, gift was not taken, and not one person provided protection or assistance. I found my own help with security in a bank building. This is HUMAN behavior.

I lived in Austin for 10 years immersed in the gay life. I felt I was in the most liberal of Texas cities, but......... it's all relative.

Like #24, I equate queer to faggot in connotation and feel gay use is similar to black races using the word "nigger" amongst themselves and then expecting the world to change around them. Sensibility?

Look for an opportunity to challenge your safety instinct...... We can find power in giving.

52. 2011-01-03 20:37  
It makes me sick to see people being bullied .
The love in this world is dying .. There is no compassion for humans any more only hate ..
That's why people like us in the GLBT must learn to love each other & build this community stronger ..
We must help out & reach out to each other & the new generation , give them guidance & love (^_−)−☆
All we need is REAL LOVE in this world .
53. 2011-02-15 03:16  
It's sad..bt to be expected.

If you notice, there's a lot of internalised homophobia even amongst the gay community, all thanks to society + an often low self-esteem. I hope we can all work on this together; by that I do not mean the superficial "we're-here-we're-queer-we're fabulous" crap; it's about substantial and positive acknowledgement of our sexuality as a matter of fact, just like our nose is a part of our face.
I believe that together, we will achieve this psychological Holy Grail better...Happy Valentine's Day to all!

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