Three stories, three different places.
A lesbian couple has faced two hate crimes within a week, with anti-gay slurs tagged on their home and vehicles, and a fire destroying their business.
Couple Lindsay Curnow and Juliet Leigh have lived peacefully in the small coastal village of Mangawhai Heads, Northland, for seven years. They said their sexuality has never been an issue before in the community.
But now they live in fear, not wanting to leave their home and return to something worse.
Two weeks ago the couple had their home and vehicles tagged with offensive anti-gay slurs.
Then a week later their shed, which is at the heart of their mail-order bulb business, was completely destroyed by fire.
“They’ve really invaded our privacy. It was a bit like being burgled, you know that sort of violation that you have,” Leigh said.
A Carroll County man told Channel 2 Action News that he believes he was the target of a hate crime.
Chris Staples said someone threw a rock through his window with a piece of paper attached that was covered in anti-gay slurs.
“I was watching TV and just finished smoking a cigarette and I heard this big thud. Boom!” Staples told Channel 2’s George Howell.
The rock had a threatening note attached.
“It said, ‘we know you’re gay. And God hates gays. You won’t be raping anybody in the county and God’s going to make sure that you burn in hell.’ And something about my daddy… my daddy will make sure you burn in hell,”
Then hours later, he woke up to flames filling his bedroom.
The principal of Jarvis Collegiate Institute said allegations that students are hurling slushies, shoes and homophobic slurs at residents of the Gay Village are being “treated very seriously.”
However, Enza Anderson, who has been harassed in the past, called the students “teens of terror” and has organized a public meeting to discuss what she describes as homophobia in the community after a recent attack.
Paul Winsor, a local florist, was singled out by a group of about 12 students who soaked him with two frozen beverages last Monday.
The 49-year-old narrowly dodged an airborne chunk of ice as he chased the teens before they ducked into the school at Jarvis and Wellesley Sts.
“A slushie drink is one thing — it stains your clothes and hurts your pride — but when it escalates to chunks of ice, that’s dangerous,” he said.
Just as there are gay people everywhere, in every nation and culture, there are also pig ignorant bigots. Sad, but true.