Early Thursday morning, Cameron Nelson became the third gay Utahn in less than two weeks to report being attacked because of their sexual identity.
Nelson was on the job at an American Fork hair salon when he said two or three people began beating him up and yelling anti-gay slurs at him.
The 32-year-old was taking out the garbage at the salon near Center Street and 100 North at 12:45 a.m. when the assault began. Nelson said he is gay and that he believes that was why the attackers, whom he did not know, targeted him.
Sgt. Gregg Ludlow of the American Fork Police Department called the remarks made toward Nelson “disgusting” and said the actions of Nelson’s attackers were “quite repugnant.”
Nelson was taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries and a broken nose, Ludlow said.
Police in Salt Lake City are still investigating attacks on two other gay men.
The two were attacked in separate incidents on Aug. 26. Dane Hall, 20, was assaulted by four men as he left a club. The suspects repeatedly punched Hall and stomped the side of his head. His cheekbone was shattered and he lost six teeth.
In the other assault, a group of men broke into a gay man’s apartment near 33 W. 200 South and beat up his boyfriend.
LGBT community activist Eric Ethington claims the recent attacks stem from a lack of concern among state officials.
“This is what happens when our legislature and our local government refuse to take the problems in our state seriously,” Ethington said. “Violence based on sexual orientation is not acceptable.”
Ethington plans on holding a rally in Salt Lake City to bring light to the attacks.
Meanwhile, Salt Lake City police are hosting a seminar at 8 p.m. Friday in Liberty Park to educate the community on how to report crime tips anonymously.
Events planned in response to beating of gay men
Three gay men have reported being beaten and called anti-gay slurs in the last two weeks, including Dane Hall in Salt Lake City. These are some of the community events planned in response.
Vigil • City of Hope Salt Lake will lead a fireside vigil and a glow-light march to raise awareness of and condemn violence against LGBT people. Dane Hall will speak and Salt Lake City Police will share how to report tips anonymously, Friday, Sept. 9, 8-10 p.m., at Liberty Park, corner near 900 South and 700 East, Salt Lake City. For more information, email email@example.com.
Panel discussion • The Women’s Democratic Club of Utah will host a panel with leaders of Equality Utah, the Utah Pride Center and the Stonewall Democrats to discuss equality for the LGBT community, Saturday, Sept. 10, at noon, Red Lion Hotel, 161 W. 600 South, Salt Lake City. Lunch is $22. RSVP by 9 p.m. Wednesday to Billie Gay Larson, 801-949-9321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reward • The Q Business Alliance has created a reward fund to encourage arrests in hate-motivated crimes directed at members of the LGBT community. To donate, email email@example.com or call Michael Sanders, 801-364-0664.
How to help
One suspect involved in the American Fork assault of Cameron Nelson was described as roughly 5 feet 9 inches tall with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing black cut-off shorts and combat boots. Investigators are asking anyone with information about the attack to call the American Fork Police Department at 801-763-3020.