House Venue Vandalized with Homophobic Hate Speech
CW: Talk of homophobic hate speech in this article.
After a hateful and homophobic message was spray painted on the garage door of LGBTQ safe space and house venue, Paradise Island, on early Sunday morning, its residents are turning hate into a positive by starting a fundraiser for OUTreach Denton, which provides resources for the LGBTQ community.
Lena Glover who has lived at this home since 2011, has seen many faces come and go in those halls. From those seeking asylum and generally looking for somewhere to live, Glover has made it a point to create safe LGBTQIA and intersectional space down to the ads she places when seeking new roommates. The shows held in the backyard ran by mainly queer people always strived to be a place to bring marginalized groups together.
Glover and her partner were out for a friend's birthday party when one of her roommates texted their roommate group chat around 12:45 a.m. to say there were strange noises coming from the front yard. Ultimately, they dismissed it.
It wasn't until Glover got home around 3:50 a.m. while approaching the driveway, that they saw a homophobic slur in black spray paint on their garage. She immediately took a picture and sent it to her roommate group chat along with the text, "OMFG". They also noticed their rainbow flag which adorns their front porch was sliced up.
Glover then went inside to call 911 but came back out saying she didn't want to leave the front porch.
"I was shocked [...] I think I started to cry when explaining to the dispatcher what it said," Glover said.
She said it was a struggle to get the dispatcher to understand what had happened as they thought it was gang related and she had to repeat herself telling what the spray paint read.
The police showed up an hour later. Because they don't have any suspects - there wasn't much that could be done. The officer told Glover if she went online to file the report with the case number she could use it to show her homeowner's insurance to cover damages, but nothing else can be done without any suspects.
After receiving the picture, one of her roommates Dewey Marshall, immediately woke up and came out to comfort her.
"I was terrified at first," Marshall said. "Of course, we are still on alert for the perpetrator to return."
Marshall and Glover stayed up all night in upset and brainstorming on what to do about the situation. They created a GoFundMe page with proceeds directly benefitting OUTreach Denton. The page has currently raised $1,150 of their $1,500 goal. Marshall said they are going to raise the goal to $2,500 because people have been so willing to donate.
"The support from the community was far more than I thought it could have been," Marshall said. "It's been incredible to hear from the community how much people care."
Marshall then came up with the idea to organize an event for this upcoming Friday, June 22, to bring people together in support of the LGBTQ+ community. Glover said they are going to put a huge sign in the yard with how much money they raise for LGBTQ visibility and support through OUTreach Denton.
"Whoever did it will see that it backfired tremendously," Glover said. "We feel that the community getting together and partying to celebrate Pride, love and support, is one of the best ways to respond."
Many in the community have offered to help cleanup or paint the garage. Glover said the city of Denton also reached to clean it up for free and she will be accepting the offer.
The event will be this upcoming Friday and will take place from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. For more info, visit the Facebook event.
Header image photographed by Lena Glover
Header image layout design by Mateo Granados