A Nashville resident was attacked in the parking lot of his apartment complex late Saturday night in an apparent hate crime. Jayson Brazeal, who is working hard to recover right now, says he never expected to be a victim of such a vicious physical attack in this day and age simply for being gay.
“[T]his was a hate crime and no one deserves what I’m going through. It [has] not only has wrecked my face and body, but my heart and mind as well.”
Brazeal’s injuries include two broken jaws, a broken nose, the loss of his front teeth, multiple fractures and lacerations, and multiple stitches in various places.
*Be advised, these photos are disturbing.
Brazeal tells Scary Mommy that the events of the beating are still a little foggy, but cannot imagine why anyone would target him — or any other gay person minding their own lives — to physically assault at random. He says that neither his wallet nor anything else was stolen, so this wasn’t a mugging, but rather a targeted physical attack because of his sexual orientation.
He says he remembers the man yelling some homophobic slurs at him before things got physical, but not much after that due to the extreme physical trauma. The few other details he can recall, he’s been asked not to speak about publically during the police investigation.
Brazeal is scheduled for surgery later to repair his broken jaws and that for now, he’s just grateful to still be alive, given the extent of his beating.
“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. This must stop. Just because someone is not your type of ‘normal’ you get to beat them to a pulp? No. Just no. In a million years, I would never think this would happen to me — as I’m sure anyone involved in a hate crime would feel as well. My mind is blown.”
It’s hard to believe in the year of our lord 2018 that this STILL has to be the nightmare of the LGBTQ community and parents of gay children everywhere. Brazeal didn’t get into an altercation of any kind beforehand, and this wasn’t an escalation of a disagreement, or any other fucked-up kind of precursor to physical assault. He was arriving home, at his own home, and was attacked in the parking lot by a random stranger who had some kind of problem with Jayson’s sexual orientation (and probably with his exquisite makeup skills, because DAMN).
Now, let’s talk about this a little deeper for a second. This attack, while horrific, shouldn’t just be another random terrible occurrence that we are shocked and appalled about, but then continue on our way into another depressing news cycle. It’s so much bigger than that. They all are. I think we are rapidly becoming desensitized to how often this happens, how disgusting it is, and the effects it has on our society. Hate crimes of this nature seem to be on the rise these days, whether they’re happening more often, being reported more often, or being classified more accurately. These crimes affect more than just the victim as well. It affects literally everyone in our society as we try valiantly to raise our children in a world where you shouldn’t have to worry about having a target on your back for your gender identity or your sexual orientation.
Events like these underscore our continued need for education and conversation about sexual orientation and gender identity, with our peers and with our children. And further, they should serve to highlight, now more than ever, how we can no longer stand idly by silent for the sake of keeping the peace with our friends, family, and neighbors when they display open homophobia. When someone drops the word “faggot” randomly in conversation, and you don’t say anything, you are silently condoning its use. When your cousin at Sunday dinner displays anger or low-key aggression toward “them damn gay dudes” while you’re gabbing with your auntie over the latest season of Queer Eye, you need to shut his ass down. I know you hate confrontation, but really. If you don’t say anything, who else will?
And this guy.
Fuck this guy in particular.
The propagation of this kind of biased and hateful thought process going unchallenged is what leads to the kind of open aggression and physical violence that’s happening right now.
Please. Talk to your kids. Talk to your friends. Talk to your neighbors. Talk to your dumb ass cousin. Let them know in no uncertain terms your stance on this kind of reprehensible nonsense and that it will not be tolerated.