LGBTs living in welcoming environs, some even with myriad legal protections on the books, sometimes take for granted that elsewhere in the U.S. you can be vilified at such a level that your very lives are in danger for just living in your neighborhood minding your own business.

A gay couple in my state, living in Clayton (Johnston County, as you can see on the map, not far from Raleigh), suffered a year-long harassment campaign by neighbors, according to another resident who is afraid to even state her support for the couple. If that wasn’t bad enough, their house has just been burned to a crisp; it has been ruled arson by authorities. (WRAL):

A neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash against her, said there have been at least three separate incidents of anti-gay harassment at the home. A note with derogatory language was left in the mailbox, an anti-gay slur was written on the house with marker, and the tires of a car parked in the garage were slashed, the neighbor said.

“For this to happen here… it’s heartbreaking,” she said. “I can’t even put into words how horrible it is for them.”

Bizzell confirmed that the sheriff’s office was aware of two of those incidents, but would not say which two. He would not confirm whether they are related to the arson investigation.

“I felt sick to my stomach. I felt so sorry for the two gentlemen. They lost everything,” the couple’s friend and neighbor said. “We do believe that this is a hate crime.”

For god’s sake, people. No one deserves to be driven from their home by thuggish homophobes afraid to show their faces, perpetrating terrorism — yes, this is terrorism, a hate crime.

The Red Cross is helping the couple through this trauma, supplying the victims with food, clothes as well as contacts for insurance.

In our legislature, the lawmaker representing Johnston County (District 12) is Sen. David Rouzer (R, email: David.Rouzer@ncleg.net). What does he think about constituents that have been driven out of their home because of bigotry?

Hat tip, LezGetReal

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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