Members of the local gay and Latino communities are reeling from two unrelated events that unfolded Monday--the late-night gay-bashing of bar patrons at the Silver Fox by Marines, and hateful notes telling “wetbacks” to "go back to Baja” found on several cars at Cherry Beach Monday afternoon.
Hours after reportedly mentioning it was their first time at a gay bay, four marines ended their novel experience with the alleged physical assault of at least two other patrons, according to getoutlb.com.
The fight took place around closing time and left at least one of the victims in the hospital, while the fleeing attackers were arrested by arriving police; the four were identified as Marines who were held by police pending transfer to their military base, according to getoutlb.com.
Anyone with information about that incident is encouraged to contact John Barnes, manager of the Silver Fox, at 562-439-6343.
In a separate incident that took place less than three miles away, Mexicans were the target of haters who accused them of taking over the beach below Cherry Avenue, according to ocweekly.com.
“You Mexicans [underlined] took over Cherry Beach (No white people allowed). Now you invade our beach. Go back to Baja, wetbacks,” read one of the notes pictured at ocweekly.com.
As the article’s author, well known Ask a Mexican columnist and author Gustavo Arellano, pointed out wryly, the majority of Mexican-born Long Beach residents hail from Michoacán, not Baja California.
One of the notes made it to the car of California State University, Long Beach lecturer Griselda Suarez, who works in the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies. Suarez reported the incident to police but was “shrugged off” as freedom of speech, according to ocweekly.com. Long Beach Police Department could not be reached immediately about the report.
Said one note: “The Mexicans invaded this beach now--sad.” This hate fortunately did not cross over into violence as with the marines' alleged beatdown of two men at Silver Fox, well known to be a gay bar.
The actions of a nefarious few may come as a shock to others in the community who consider Belmont Shore, like greater Long Beach, to be largely supportive of those identifying as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, queer) or of Latino descent.
However, last year's people rallied the local gay population to remain vigilantly careful and look out for one another. The reaction to those violent attacks was a November, 2011 forum at Bixby Park, hosted by Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal with assistance from Long Beach police department, and attended by more than 100 community members.
It is unknown whether the most recent gay-bashing incident on Labor Day will result in hate crime charges.
Do you think there is a problem with racism or prejudice against the LGBTQ community in Belmont Shore? Let us know in the comments.