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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 14, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 41
West Seattle hate crime victims turn hate into help
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West Seattle hate crime victims turn hate into help

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Lyle Evans and Chris Ilovar, a Gay couple living in West Seattle who were the victims of a hate crime, have refused to let the attack keep them down. In fact, when generosity was offered to them, they paid it forward to LGBT youth, turning a story of hate into help.

Late last month, vandals smashed glass and slashed tires of the couple's cars outside their West Seattle home. The vandals left a letter laced with profanity demanding that the men Get the fuck out of' the neighborhood and that the Bible says God forbids men committing indecent acts with each other.

The note was signed 'KKK.'

The vandalism and threats were typical of the ignorance - complete with misspellings and nonsensical statements - that accompany anything penned by a bigot.

Although Lyle and Chris are not the first, and sadly wont be the last, Gay couple who have caught the brunt of homophobia and hate, it is the way they immediately reacted that caught the attention of not only the Seattle LGBT community, but the greater community as well. The men bought and immediately displayed a rainbow Pride flag and an American flag, proclaiming, 'Take that, haters.'

The vandals' message was not received well by anyone in the neighborhood, which houses more than one Gay couple. According to the men, the incident brought the neighborhood closer together.

But the story doesn't end there. Seattle Gay News has learned just how much of a class act Lyle and Chris are. After being contacted by a local church whose members offered to pay for the damage done to their vehicles, the men accepted the money under one condition: it would be donated to Washington state's Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

'It is a pleasure to be able to help with the cost of repairs to your vehicles,' wrote Troy Jones, lead pastor of the New Life Church in Renton, in a letter to Chris and Lyle. 'As stated in our prior phone call, we are truly sorry for the treatment you received by very misguided 'Christians.' Their behavior does not represent Christians or the Jesus we believe in. We believe that you and all people deserve the highest respect.'

Pastor Jones said the New Life Church hoped 'this [money fund] would, in a small way, help the healing process of the offense you have experienced. We pray God's best for you both.'

Lyle and Chris were inspired by the act of generosity, and Chris wrote a $500 check to GLSEN.

'Chris and his partner wanted to donate the money to educating youth on how to be supportive of the LGBT community,' said Ashlee Norris, GLSEN Washington member.

In addition, Chris' employer, LexisNexis, has agreed to match the donation through their LexisNexis Cares program, bringing Lyle and Chris' donation to $1,000.

GLSEN Washington says it will put the donation to good use, fulfilling the couple's wish to educate youth about the LGBT community.

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