P.A. man gets death threats over sexual orientation
A night out ended in panic for a Prince Albert man who was threatened while walking home through a park.
On Friday night Adrian Starblanket was taking advantage of the weekend and enjoying himself on the dance floor at Belly Up Pub and Grill until two men began shouting rude comments at him.
“These two guys in the crowd kept yelling fag and faggot to me personally because I was the only guy dancing on the dance floor,” Starblanket said.
“Those are hurtful and harsh words,” he added.
Starblanket said at the time he chose to ignore the men and didn’t bother to confront them about it. He said it is not the first time he has been bullied for being gay.
But, what happened later in the evening is what really concerned him.
Starblanket said he decided to leave the bar around 2:30 a.m. and attempted to call a cab. However, despite his efforts Starblanket said he was unable to reach any cab company due to the large traffic volumes at that time and decided to begin the one hour journey home by foot.
“I noticed when I turned around for the first time in Kinsmen Park those two guys that were yelling fag and faggot followed me from Belly Up,” Starblanket said. “And I was wondering why they were getting closer and closer without saying anything, so I turned around and said what’s up, why are you guys following me? And they said because you are gay.”
“They said look at the way you dress, look at the way you walk and the way you talk, obviously no guys are like that in Prince Albert.”
Starblanket said at that point he decided it would be best to just keep on walking.
“All of a sudden they were like we have a knife and we are going to kill you because you are gay, and I started to panic at that point,” he said.
“When I looked in front of me there were four other guys that must have been their friends or their posse or whatever. They said … we don’t like gay people in Prince Albert and they all started running after me and I booked it to where I live.”
Starblanket said he did manage to make it home that night, but he ran the entire way.
“I was too terrified to look back,” he said.
Bullying and violence is a continuing issue for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and two spirit community (GLBT2).
Jennifer Brockman co-chair of the Q-network, a local support group to the GLBT2 community in Prince Albert said bashing and bullying against the GLBT2 community happens more often than people report.
“I have had people who have shared their stories with me or I have heard about people that have been bashed and often they don’t report it and they don’t go to the police and they don’t speak up about it because of the fear of further harassment or discrimination,” she said.
Sergeant Kelly Mclean with the Prince Albert Police Service said they do in fact rarely receive calls or complaints about it.
“We haven’t come across any,” he said.
“I wish they would (inform police). Information is the key that is the fuel that drives us and we need to know if this type of thing is going on.”
“If he was threatened with physical violence that is part of a criminal offence and we can investigate and look into the circumstances on how it occurred and then we have it in our system,” he added.
Brockman said abuse amongst the GLBT2 community is seen everywhere.
“Not only do people get violently attacked, but they are verbally assaulted,” Brockman said. “I have seen homophobic graffiti around town, so it doesn’t create a safe environment when people see that.”
“This bullying doesn’t just happen to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or two spirit people, but even people who perceive to be … it’s hurtful to so many in the community; anybody who doesn’t look like they follow community norms, or gender norms, or dress like someone else thinks they should dress. So, it can be really scary out there for a number of people,” she added.
Starblanket said it is scary and added Friday night’s incident will be hard to forget.
“If I would have stopped or turned around or even said something I know I would have been stabbed and I wouldn’t be here telling this story and that upsets me,” he said.