Oct 21, 2010 12:35 AM by John Romero

People don purple to speak out against homophobic bullying

You've probably seen the groups on Facebook encouraging others to wear purple to make a stand against homophobic bullying. Eric Attard, the director of the Pikes Peak Gay and Lesbian Community Center says bullying is a very real problem in our community. "There's absolutely a presence of bullying based off of perceived sexual orientation." he explains. In fact, Eric has experienced it himself. "My partner and I sit outside every morning and have coffee. I've had people drive by and scream fag or gay out their car windows. I experience it on a fairly regular basis." he says.

And it's a feeling Anthony Hergesheimer knows all too well. In 2007 the then 16 year old was brutally attacked in Pueblo as he walked home from school. "I was walking home one day and I was attacked by about 6 guys in a car." he explains, "One got out of the car and hit me in the face with an aerosol can and almost broke my nose. I had to get surgery."

Both men see society's hesitation when it comes to accepting gays. They say that's one reason there are so many hate crimes and suicides. "It bothers me to know there are kids out there that still get picked on for something that they can't control." says Hergesheimer. "To not have that support is very difficult to process through that. I believe that's one of the reasons why we are so disproportionately affected by suicide within our community." explains Attard, "Saying that being gay is a choice is just like saying heterosexuality is a choice." Each hope a day of support like Wednesday can go a long way in mending fences. "We were seeing a lot of people wearing purple and it made me really happy to see so many people pitching in." says Hergesheimer, "To others it might seem small but to us this is pretty big for us."



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