The alleged crime took place in downtown Grand Rapids on Wednesday night.
Possible hate crime in Grand Rapids under investigation
Man attacked after leaving a meeting for Equality Michigan
By Tara Cavanaugh
Originally printed 7/28/2011 (Issue 1930 - Between The Lines News)
GRAND RAPIDS- When David Battjes left an Equality Michigan meeting Wednesday night, he felt good. As a board member of West Michigan Pride, and a member of the Until Love Is = campaign, he was happy to meet Equality Michigan's new executive director and make connections between the three groups.
But on the way to his car, he became a victim.
As he passed two men, "they grabbed me and threw me up against a wall," he said.
"They called me a faggot, said you don't deserve to live, you don't belong on the face of the earth, and one of them slugged me.
"As I doubled over, they kind of relaxed their grip. I broke free.
"And I ran as fast as I could. They called me a cocksucker, a faggot, and some other words I couldn't make out because I was far enough away. I didn't want to hear any more," Battjes said. "My goal was just to get away from there, as far away as I could."
He doesn't think he was followed by the two men, or that they targeted him. But he was wearing a West Michigan Pride t-shirt.
Battjes reported the incident to the Grand Rapids Police, who are looking into the incident as a possible hate crime, according to the Grand Rapids Press.
Battjes plans to recover by being in the company of friends, his church and his husband Michael, whom he married ten months ago in Iowa City. "It's been really encouraging and overwhelming, the support and concern in the community," he said. "I've been estranged from my kids for a few years, and two of them have even reached out to me, saying no one should have to endure anything like this."
Battjes said this is the first time he's been a victim. He's visible in the community, so "I've had the comments," he said. "But nothing physical has ever happened to us."
"We're disappointed that this happened," said Michael Gregor, communications director at Equality Michigan. "Someone that's attending our event and supporting the movement for equality, and a leader in the Grand Rapids community. It clearly demonstrates where we're at in Michigan ... that we have a long way to go in moving toward hate crime legislation. As well as showing the general public that this type of behavior and hate crimes are not acceptable at all."
- Michigan LGBTQ&A Career Fair Coming March 5
- West Mich. Conversation On Marriage Equality
- LGBT Successes Provide One Bright Spot For Democrats
- Michigan Study Seeks LBT Women For Focus Group
- Looming Dilemma For Upcoming Historic Marriage Case
- 'Matt Shepard Is A Friend Of Mine' Comes To Detroit
- Is This The Beginning Of The End For Conversion Therapy?
- Michigan Education Conference Discusses Status OF LGBT Youth In Schools
- KGLRC Announces 2014 REACH Award Winners
- Affirmations Hosts Upcoming HIV/AIDS Art Exhibit
- Aut Bar To Host Film Festival Meet Up
- Commission On Civil Rights Appoints LGBT Community Leaders In Michigan
- Affirmations Announces New Executive Director
- Establishing LGBT Relationships: A Look Into The Regional Detroit LGBT Chamber Of Commerce
- Michigan Laws Contributing To Statewide Brain Drain
- Syphilis In The News
- U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Jury Findings In Shirvell Case
- Michigan's Musical Lesbian Love Story
- New Study Reflects Harm On LGBT Employees Due To Lack Of Employment Protections
- 'Home Sweet Home' To Benefit Homeless LGBTQ Youth In Washtenaw County
- Flint Exhibit To Feature Transgender Stories
- AIDS/HIV Organizations
- Allegan County Health Department
- Henry Ford Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases
- Dessert Diva
- Double Trouble Entertainment
- American Mattress Gallery Inc
- Political Organizations
- LAHR-PAC (Lansing Association for Human Rights Political Action Committee)
- Religious & Spiritual
- Detroit Unity Temple
- Silk Screening
- Flaunt it Sportswear
- Greenfield Animal Hospital
- Youth Services
- Neutral Zone
Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more
- EXCLUSIVE! Ricky Martin Talks Love Life ('I'm Enjoying Being Single'), Shirtless Selfies, Swoon-Worthy Texts & How He'd React To Having Gay Sons
- Marriage Of 300 Same-Sex Couples Ruled Valid In Michigan
- Controversial Musician Cameron Carpenter: Don't Call Me The 'Flamboyant Organist'
- Q&A: John Waters On Kink Freaks, James Franco, His Collection Of A**hole Art & Why He May Retire From Film
- How Caspar Decision Impacts Michiganders
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
Dancing, music, delicious food and a party atmosphere will greet the hundreds of people coming out to the 2015 Ultimate LGBT Wedding and Anniversary Expo March 21.View More Marriage
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!