by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Drag King Ceasar Hart, producer of the monthly Small Town, Big HART's Drag Revue in Hoqiuam, Wash., has announced that proceeds from door, Jell-O shots, and a raffle for a $100 bill will go to Parker Perry Z, who struggles to pay for medical bills after an alleged bashing over Labor Day weekend in Olympia. The fundraiser is scheduled for September 17, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Simpson Avenue Grill, 825 Simpson Ave, Hoquiam, WA 98550.
'Sadly, over Labor Day weekend one of our cast members and number one supporter of the Grays Harbor community was attacked outside a bar in Olympia after performing for a fundraising benefit for Capital City Pride,' Ceasar Hart said in a statement on the event's official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/339047413104212/.
'The damage was extensive, and the community reached out to Small Town, Big HART's to see what we could do to help,' said Hart. 'When the community speaks, we listen.'
Hart says that by coming together as a community they plan to not only to raise money but to 'help make this experience a little less horrible for Parker and his family.'
Additionally, Hart says that the fundraiser will serve as a vehicle to 'raise awareness that violence and hatred can no longer happen.'
'We will not sit by or stand for abuse against an innocent human,' said Hart, who was a co-emcee of Seattle's Pride Parade, current Mister Neighbours title holder, and founding member of Social Outreach Seattle. 'This happens every second of every day to members of the LGBTQIA [community] across the globe. Stop the VIOLENCE! Stop the HATE!'
Parker Perry Z is the drag king character created by Lila Hadway. Hadway has performed as Parker for 10 years. Hadway says the attack that took place in Olympia left her scared for her safety and the safety of other performers.
Hadway told KOMO News that just after midnight August 28, as she was loading up her gear after a benefit show at the Fourth Avenue Tavern, a Transgender friend of hers was heckled and Hadway's own wife, Angela, was threatened. That's when Hadway says she stepped in.
Hadway told KOMO, 'I was like 'hey can we just leave this alone?'
When things began to get out of hand and as a man approached her, she let him know that she was a woman dressed like a man.
'The guy said, you look like a man so I'm going to fight you like a man. So he walked up and blasted me twice in the left side of my face,' Hadway said.
At first, citing little evidence and not enough witnesses to the attack, Olympia Police Departmen did not classify the attack as a possible hate crime and shockingly closed the case within days of the incident. However, when Hart and others began to make noise about the alleged mistreatment of the case, the Olympia PD opened the case again and is asking anyone that may have witnessed the incident to contact them immediately at 360-753-8300.
'Since the night of the incident, more information has become available leading police to investigate a possible hate crime involving sexual orientation or gender identity in addition to the assault,' police said in a news release.
Police said officers investigated a disturbance downtown that morning involving 10 to 13 people. Police say racial slurs and insults about sexual orientation may have been made by people in the disturbance. The suspects are at large, but no description has been made available to the public.
Olympia PD said it has two liaison officers with to LGBTQ community 'who are available to assist in gathering information and ensuring our community members are safe and heard.'
Anna Schlecht, co-chair of Capital City Pride, said Hadway helped raise money the night of her attack benefiting her organization. Capital City Pride, which has been around more than 25 years, is both a Gay-rights advocacy group as well as host of Olympia's annual Pride festival. Aside from Capital City Pride, Olympia is home to several support groups, such as Stonewall Youth, PFLAG, Pizza Klatch, Community Youth Services, and SAGE.
At the event this Saturday, Hart says there will be a comedy show starting at 8 p.m. that will run until about 9:30 p.m., which is when the $5 door charge will begin for the drag show.
'Please bring tipping money, as performers are donating tips from their first and second numbers,' said Hart, adding, 'Last-performance tips are for performers.'
Ceasar Hart would like to thank the Simpson Avenue Grill for making the event possible on such short notice.
'Let's pack this place to show Parker Perry the love and support we should be giving during a time like this,' concludes Hart. 'There is never a reason to physically assault another human being unless protecting oneself against this type of horrible hate. Your community is with you, Parker, through every step of this, and we are all deeply sorry this happened.'
The attack is not something that is characteristic of Olympia residents. Like most communities, there can always be the need for a better understanding between the LGBTQ community and other residents.
Olympia received high marks in terms of its acceptance of community members, as one of three Washington cities to receive the top score for LGBT inclusiveness by the Human Rights Campaign.
The 2015 Municipal Equality Index rates cities across the nation based on their protection of civil rights for the LGBTQ community.
Olympia, Seattle, and Bellevue each scored 100 out of 100 possible points. Cities were evaluated for their nondiscrimination laws, municipal services, employee treatment, law enforcement practices, and overall relationship with the LGBTQ community.
The Human Rights Campaign reports that 47 cities earned perfect scores in 2015 compared with 38 cities in 2014. The average score was 56 points. It remains to be seen if this attack, and others like it (which residents in Seattle and Olympia say are on the rise this year) will negatively impact its HRC rating. Other Washington cities on the 2015 index include Tacoma, which fell just short of perfection with a score of 99; Pullman at 59; Spokane at 71; Vancouver at 64 points, and Vashon at 79.
Olympia PD officials say, 'Hate crimes are illegal, unacceptable, and hurt all in the community. No one should threaten or assault you based upon bias. The Olympia Police Department pledges to vigorously investigate hate crimes and to work towards removing barriers to reporting of these crimes.'
The Olympia PD advises that if you have been the victim of a hate crime, know of, or have witnessed a hate crime, report it immediately by calling 911. Actions you can take to help responding officers and investigators, according to Olympia PD, are to identify witnesses to the crime and encourage them to help the police document what happened, and help the police preserve evidence of the crime (document your injuries; provide a medical release if you sought medical treatment; give a full account of what happened; provide a description of people, vehicles, and weapons if they were used; remember what was said by the perpetrator).
A person is guilty of malicious harassment if he or she maliciously and intentionally commits a crime because of his or her perception of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap.
A hate crime can include causing physical injury to the victim or another person; physical damage to or destruction of the property of the victim or another person; or threatening a specific person or group of persons and places that person, or members of the specific group of persons, in reasonable fear of harm to person or property.
Hate crimes are referred to as malicious or harassment or bias crimes. Malicious harassment is a class C felony (RCW 9A.36.080 - Malicious Harassment).
Some members of the LGBTQ community might not want to come forward and report a crime if they are a victim. Sensitivity and mistrust sometimes still remain between members of the LGBTQ community and several police jurisdictions across the country. However, they say, as do Seattle police officials, that it is important to report hate crimes because a person who commits a hate crime cannot be brought to justice and held accountable for his or her acts if the crime is not reported. In addition, collecting accurate data on the number of hate crimes is one of the only ways in which police, prosecutors, elected officials, and community organizations can determine the extent of the problem of hate crimes in our community.
'Unlike other crimes that target individuals, bias-related crimes have a tremendous effect on an entire community,' say Olympia police officials. 'When one person is targeted because of his or her race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or other characteristic, others in the community who were not the direct targets of the hate crime may also feel at risk. Tensions between different communities can also arise as a result of hate crimes.'
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