News Round-Up: July 9, 2021

(screen capture via NBC News)

Some news items you might have missed:

NBC News: Hospitalized unvaccinated patients are “shocked” that Covid-19 truly exists and that it can make people very sick and even kill them. “A comment they make all the time is that they wish that they knew they were going to end up in the hospital this sick and they would have made a different choice and got the vaccine.” José Tobias Carranza Serrano, 18, confessed to assaulting and robbing a 37-year-old intellectually disabled man on June 23 because he believed the man to be gay. The assault has left the victim still clinging to life where he is still intubated. In his confession, Serrano reportedly showed no remorse.

ABC News: The Michigan elections bureau has determined that organizers of a ballot drive to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people failed to collect  the roughly 340,000 needed. But Fair and Equal Michigan, which spent $2.9 million on the effort, says the Bureau of Elections threw out thousands of signatures that are valid. The group plans to file a lawsuit.

Washington Blade: A federal judge today blocked a new law in Tennessee that required businesses and other entities that allow transgender people to use the public restroom that matches their gender to post a government-prescribed warning sign.

Washington Post: President Biden on Friday fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, a holdover from the Trump administration who had alienated crucial Democratic constituencies with policies designed to clamp down benefits and an uncompromising anti-union stance.

Next Shark: Out Filipino American influencer Bretman Rock (People’s Choice Awards Beauty Influencer of the Year in 2019) graced the cover of Teen Vogue’s July issue. The social media star has over 17 million followers on Instagram, 12.1 million followers on TikTok and 8.71 million subscribers on YouTube.

Spain: 4th Suspect Arrested In Brutal Murder Of Samuel Luiz

Samuel Luiz (image via Facebook)
Samuel Luiz (image via Facebook)
Samuel Luiz (image via Facebook)

A fourth suspect has been arrested and charged in the murder of Samuel Luiz, a 24-year-old gay man in Spain.

In a Twitter statement, the Policía Nacional announced the arrest of a man aged between 20 and 25. In addition to murder, he is charged with allegedly stealing the victim’s mobile phone.

This comes after 3 A Coruña residents were arrested in connection with the death of Luiz on Wednesday. The deadly assault was perpetrated by more than a dozen people near a nightclub in the Galician city.

The fourth suspect is apparently friends with the initial suspects, according La Vanguardia, a Spanish-speaking newspaper.

None of the suspects knew the victim prior to the attack according to reports.

The incident began when Luiz reportedly stepped out of the nightclub to video chat with a friend. The attacker apparently believed Luiz was recording him and demanded he stop – “Either stop recording or I’ll kill you, f*g,” yelled one of the attackers.

After initially beating Luiz for a couple of minutes, the attacker left the scene but quickly returned with a mob of friends who all joined in kicking and beating Luiz.

Surveillance footage captured the assault which stretched out for several blocks along the street until Luiz collapsed and passed out.

Media reports say the video clips show the group continued to cheer the attack on as they continued to kick and beat him.

Luiz died just hours later on Saturday at the A Coruña Hospital. A spokesman for the police told the press, “They showed him no mercy.”

NYC Hate Crime Leaves Victim’s Jaw Broken In Two Places

Sina Rezaie
Sina Rezaie
Sina Rezaie (image via Instagram)

A 29-year-old doctor was viciously attacked for no apparent reason early Saturday morning in New York City leaving him hospitalized.

Sina Rezaie says he was walking home from the subway in Greenwich Village when he heard a man shout an anti-gay slur.

“He called me a ‘fa**ot’ and then half a block later, he came from behind and kicked and punched me multiple times,” Rezaie told NBC News from his hospital bed late Saturday.

After the attacker fled the scene, Rezaie stumbled his way to a nearby bar where two friends, Laurie Beck and Richard Delay were working.

Beck says she noticed Rezaie through the window staggering and walking erratically on the sidewalk.

Delay ran outside to check on the doctor before calling to Beck to bring some supplies like a bottle of water and paper towels.

“I saw him holding his mouth, blood running out from face,” Delay told NBC News. “He said that he had gotten attacked by some guy who said something to him as he came off the train. Apparently the guy called him a slur and then threw him to the ground, and started kicking him repeatedly.”

The assault left the doctor with a broken jaw in two places. Due to the extent of his injuries, Rezaie had to undergo emergency surgery to wire his mouth shut with metal plates and screws which will have to remain for at least a month.

Although there are surveillance cameras throughout the area, police have yet to announce any arrests or suspects.

His friends have set up a crowdfunding campaign to help Rezaie

Meanwhile, Rezaie – who says he’s always felt safe in his neighborhood – still has no idea why he was the target of an apparent hate crime.

“I don’t know why this happened to me,” said the physician.

In a post to his Instagram account, Rezaie thanked his friends and followers for the many get-well messages he’s received and added he is now at home recuperating.

News Round-Up: June 25, 2021

Out singer/songwriter KENTÖ

Out singer/songwriter KENTÖ
Out singer/songwriter KENTÖ

Some news items you might have missed:

Nevada Independent: After receiving a cancer diagnosis in March 2020, Shawn Dixon decided she would organize the first-ever Pride parade in her small town of less than 8,000 residents. Her dream of “years and years” will become a reality in Winnemucca, Nevada, on July 16 & 17.

Reuters: Respect LGBT rights or leave the European Union, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told his Hungarian counterpart as the bloc’s leaders confronted Viktor Orban over a law that bans schools from using materials seen as promoting homosexuality.

Instinct Magazine: The valedictorian of a New Jersey high school was almost censored and silenced during his graduation speech by his principal when he began to touch on mental health and his sexuality. But thankfully, the student’s memorization skills saved the day.

New York Times: The Manhattan district attorney’s office has informed Donald Trump’s lawyers that criminal charges against his family business, the Trump Organization, in connection with fringe benefits the company awarded its chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, could be announced as soon as next week.

Justice Dept: Michael Atkinson, 28, Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon, 21, and Daryl Henry, 24, were sentenced to prison terms for their involvement in targeting gay men for violent crimes. The sentences ranged from 11-22 years for luring five men (using the Grindr dating app) to a vacant apartment in Dallas where they held the men at gunpoint, kidnapped, carjacked, and assaulted them.

Out Music: I recently shared the latest from out singer/songwriter Kentö, and today the artist (top photo) drops the official music video for the single, “Silhouette.”

“Silhouette” is the first single off of Kentö’s upcoming album release, Strangers, slated for release later this year. Kentö shares, “I feel like I’m finally making music that is really expressing the sounds that have been in my head all along.”

Trump Supporter Charged In Defacing Pride Memorial

Alexander Jerich (mug shot)

Incidents like this really beg the question “What were they thinking???”

Alexander Jerich, 20, turned himself in to the police Thursday afternoon after cellphone video went viral showing him purposely defacing the LGBTQ Pride rainbow walk in Delray Beach earlier this week.

CBS12 News reports Jerich was charged with criminal mischief over $1,000, reckless driving, and evidence of prejudice (felony enhancement).

Under a new law (Section 806.135, Florida Statutes “Destroying or demolishing a memorial or historic property”), this would be considered a 2nd degree felony. Jerich could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Nicholas Coppola is a member of the Palm Beach County LGBTQ Community Center in Lake Worth Beach, and one of the leaders behind this rainbow artwork that was years in the making.

“There are many things that indicate this is a hate crime targeted against the community,” Coppola said. “I hate to say I was saddened, but not surprised. There’s a part of me that expected it. Unfortunately, we deal with this every day.”

The city had just unveiled the new intersection on Saturday. The artwork was dedicated to those who lost their lives in the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando five years ago.

News Round-Up: June 14, 2021

A young man donates blood (image via Depositphotos)

A young man donates blood (image via Depositphotos)

Some news items you might have missed:

The Advocate: Sexually active gay men who have had the same sexual partner for the previous three months will now be able to donate blood, platelets, and plasma in the U.K. after new eligibility criteria go into force on World Blood Donor Day.

OUT: The Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League suspended defensive lineman Chris Larsen after learning of his potential involvement in a hate crime that left the victim with a broken nose, cheekbone and orbital bone shattered, a splint required for his hip bone and a concussion. American Idol alum David Archuleta has come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in a new post on Instagram. “I like to keep to myself but also thought this was important to share because I know so many other people from religious upbringings feel the same way,” the 30-year-old wrote.

Wall Street Journal: A new Covid-19 vaccine from Novavax was found to be 90.4% effective at preventing symptomatic disease in adults in a large clinical trial involving nearly 30,000 participants. Those results could move the shot a step closer to global use.

The Daily Beast: Number crunchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle studied COVID-19 stats from all over the world, charted the trends and concluded that as many as 9.7 million people could die by late September. If the trend line continues, COVID-19 could kill 20 million by 2023, according to IHME’s model.

Politico: Out Democrat Matt Putorti is launching a campaign against Trump cultist Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), aiming to knock out one of the Republican Party’s rising stars and a newly minted member of House leadership. Putorti is a 37-year-old attorney from Upstate New York focused on LGBTQ+ equality, reducing gun violence, and immigration.

Man Disables Security Cams In Advance Of Brutal Hate Crime

Stock photo of a crime scene

Stock photo of a crime scene

A Florida man has been arrested after cutting the power to the home of a gay couple and then brutally attacking one of them.

Damiek Jones, 31, has been arrested and charged in the vicious stabbing attack that took place late Sunday night in New Smyrna Beach.

The victim and his boyfriend told police there were at home when the power went out. Stepping outside to check the circuit breaker, Jones ambushed the victim hitting him in the head, possibly with brass knuckles according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

The attacker, later identified as Jones, then stabbed the victim repeatedly in the back of his thighs and head. During the attack, a red bandana covering Jones’ face came off whereupon the victim recognized him.

According to the couple, Jones knew the residence had security cameras in place which would explain why he disabled power to the house.

The victim’s partner heard yelling and came to the rescue chasing Jones as he fled the scene. During the chase, the boyfriend saw Jones throw items into a neighbor’s yard.

Police were called to the home at 11:16 pm and with the aid of a police dog recovered a chisel (the presumed weapon), the bandana, and a scarf. A backpack was also found containing nunchucks, a knife, pills, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Mugshot of Damiek Jones
Damiek Jones (police mugshot)

Additionally, a journal was found in the backpack which included chilling passages detailing Jones’ animus towards queer people.

“I now understand that to hate them all is a requirement. (The victim and boyfriend) and now (names two women), all of you shall have a moment of fate to look forward too,” wrote Jones according to the police report.

In light the journal entry, New Smyrna Beach police determined Jones “committed the crime with prejudice based on the sexual orientation of the victim.”

Jones was arrested and charged on Monday with committing a second-degree misdemeanor with prejudice, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a Schedule IV substance.

He is currently being held in the Volusia County Branch Jail on $15,500 bail.

(source: Daytona Beach News-Journal)

Adult Performer Matthew Camp Woke Up To Arson Attack

The home of adult performer Matthew Camp was destroyed in an arson attack he believes was a hate crime
The home of adult performer Matthew Camp was destroyed in an arson attack he believes was a hate crime
The home of Matthew Camp destroyed in an arson attack (images via Instagram)

Adult performer Matthew Camp woke up in the early morning hours of January 14 to find his home in Poughkeepsie, New York had been set ablaze in an apparent hate crime.

“An arsonist poured gasoline on the front porch of my home and set it on fire in an apparent hate crime,” writes Camp in an Instagram post. “I was asleep inside. I am alive to face this person one day but everything I have ever owned is gone.”

“Share this story because queer people are still under attack all over the world,” added Camp. “Our voices will not be silenced.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Matthew Camp (@matthewcamp)

The former go-go boy turned sex-positive advocate and OnlyFans star went on to share that since the attack “I’m just living day to day trying to piece together what’s left.”

He closed his post thanking friends and fans for their support and “continued fight to keep our queer families safe.”

Despite the vast damage to the home, Camp and his friend Six Carter were able to escape the fire unharmed.

(images via Instagram)

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up by friends to help rebuild his life and replace some of his belongings.

A home security camera captured the arsonist coming up the steps of Camp’s home just seconds before the blaze and splashing a liquid (presumably gasoline) all over the front porch. The time stamp on the video shows it was 5:09 am.

The city’s police and fire departments received 911 calls reporting the fire at 5:12 am.

The Poughkeepsie Journal reports that once the fire was out, “an investigation quickly determined that it was a case of arson.” The identity of the arsonist is still unknown but authorities are continuing to investigate.

The home was previously owned by a “Satanist,” Joe ‘Netherworld’ Mendillo who died in January of last year. Camp purchased the residence in October.

The home is apparently well-known in the area as the “Halloween House.” The nickname is apparently derived from decorations both outside and inside the residence and a hearse reportedly used to sit in the driveway.

I interviewed Camp a couple of years ago as he was launching a new video series project. I found him to be not only polite and well-spoken, but sharp as a tack regarding business and how he views life. You can listen to our chat below.