AMARILLO, Texas — A Texas gay couple say that the national media attention they received after finding “leave or die fags,” painted on their Clarendon, Texas home only made matters worse, until readers of an LGBTQ blog pitched in to give the couple a new start.
Jeremy Jeffers and Joshua Harrison chose to contact the media early this month when they felt that the death threat and vandalism they’d suffered were being ignored by local police.
“They walked around and took our statement,” Jeremy recalls, “but they didn’t offer to set up a patrol or bother to ask any questions around the neighborhood. We went to the media because we knew that if our story got out, then people might be aware of what happened, so would be hesitant to physically attack us.”
The media attention did bring heightened scrutiny to the incident, Harrison notes, but further alienated the couple from the small, close-knit town.
Since word of the media’s involvement spread, the local cleaning service where Harrison worked began losing clients, resulting in loss of employment for Harrison. Additionally, the couple says they’d been refused service at some local establishments and verbally assaulted at others.
The Owldolatrous Press, religious-oriented LGBTQ blog, stepped in with a “Donations” button at the end of the follow-up story, prompting donors from across the country to contribute to help the couple leave Clarendon. LGBT Advocacy Group Equality Texas also stepped in to assist the couple in their search for jobs and housing in nearby Amarillo, Texas where there exists a small but thriving gay community.
This week, Jeffers and Harrison will receive $2690 in donations and the keys to their new apartment in Amarillo, where they are grateful to be out of harm’s way, yet still close to family and friends.
The couple says that their recent trials have only brought them closer together as a pair.
“Sometimes the stress gets to us, but we’ve bonded together in so many ways because of this.”
The couple expressed gratitude for the many statements of support and encouragement they’ve received. “The support of the gay community has been amazing. For awhile I was wondering if we were really a community or a family anymore. And the gay community reaching out. We were so scared. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone.”
Filed under: Texas