HRC condemns horrific attack against two gay men living outside of Atlanta, Georgia and has asked the FBI and DOJ to provide local law enforcement with assistance they may need.
Anthony Gooden Jr. and Marquez Tolbert were asleep alongside one another when, in the middle of the night, scalding hot water was poured on them. As a result of the attack, both men were severely wounded, suffered second and third degree burns, according to The Washington Post.
Tolbert has said that his mother’s boyfriend, Martin Blackwell, is responsible for the vicious act. According to WSB-TV, Blackwell is currently in Fulton County Police custody, and has been charged with two counts of aggravated battery. According to a police report obtained by the news station, Blackwall admitted responsibility for the attack, and said to investigators:
"They was stuck together like two hot dogs, so I poured a little hot water on them and helped them out...They was stuck like two hot dogs. They'll be alright, it was just a little hot water."
According to Project Q, the attack happened on February 12. It appears as though Tolbert started only sharing his story publicly this week.“The pain doesn’t let you sleep,” Tolbert told WSB-TV. “It’s excruciating, 24 hours a day. It doesn’t go anywhere, it doesn’t dial down. It’s just there.”
"This horrific attack serves as a chilling reminder of the threat of violence too many LGBT still face in their daily lives," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "This brutal act of violence against two young men sleeping at home shocks the conscience, and should awaken the nation to the bigotry and hate that, sadly, continue to stalk our community."
LGBT people suffer disproportionate levels of harassment and physical violence. Just last year, at least 21 transgender people -- nearly all transgender women of color -- were the victims of homicide. Late last year, the Human Rights Campaign and the Trans People of Color Coalition released a report and testified at a Congressional hearing in November with other advocates about the realities that conspire to put transgender people at risk of violence. Sadly, we have already seen similar anti-transgender attacks this year.
This attack comes at a tense time for the LGBT community in Georgia. Just this week, the Georgia legislature passed HB 757, a dangerous piece of anti-LGBT legislation that could allow a business owner or employee to refuse service to LGBT people. It could also undermine local non-discrimination ordinances that protect LGBT people, permit hospitals to refuse to provide medically necessary care and allow a taxpayer-funded service provider to discriminate by denying a job because of the applicant's religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
HRC sent notifications today to local and federal elected officials, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice, about this awful attack and urged that officials ensure the incident is thoroughly investigated.