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Colorado LGBT Groups Rally in Wake of Vicious Beating

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Wednesday March 7, 2012

After a Colorado lesbian was allegedly assaulted by a Colorado Mesa University (CMU) football player at a Grand Junction, Colo, bar, local LGBT groups and other officials got together to discuss how to raise awareness about hate crimes, local news station News 11 reported.

Shane Williams, 20, allegedly had an argument with Chelsea Gallagher and her girlfriend Ashley Davis. The incident escalated into a violent physical altercation and Gallagher claims that he slammed her into the ground, which knocked her out and gave her a fractured skull, Denver's ABC 7 News reported.

"Going outside to when they started kind of making comments about us being gay and saying that Ashley looked like a boy and stuff," Gallagher said. Davis claims that a man named Dakota shouted anti-gay epithets at her and Gallagher and at two other women before Williams attacked Gallagher.

Police arrested Williams on suspicion of second-degree assault, possession of a fake I.D. and being a minor in possession of alcohol.

"It's pretty terrifying to have to go through that on a regular basis, to be aware that something could happen to you," Donovan Haynne, CMU's gay straight alliance's president said. "People used homophobic slurs towards me, there was people who actually acted out and were physically violent towards me because of my sexuality," he said.

News Channel 5, a Colorado news station, reported that there has been a 13% increase in anti-gay hate crimes.

"We get calls at least a couple of times a month, from someone who has been mistreated, beaten up for being different, whether it's in the schools, whether they're adults, kids, it's just on the rise," Western Equality president Jerry Shelton said.

"To have homophobia not exist and discrimination as a whole, whether it's racially motivated or motivated based on sexual orientation, to have that not exist and have a happier and healthier campus as well as community," Haynne added.

Williams has been suspended from the college's football team and is scheduled to appear in court on April 3.