Gay man assaulted in Akron, Ohio, for defending women's rights
Right-wingers put women seeking safe abortions in danger
Charles Wright, a 50-year-old gay man and former vice-president of Cleveland’s National Organization for Women, regularly escorts women into the Akron Women’s Medical Group, along with his partner, Tom Reke. Women seeking care are often confronted by hostile right-wing protesters opposed to a women’s right to choose.
But on July 18, things became violent when Wright was physically assaulted by one of the right-wingers, who broke six of Wright’s ribs. The assailant, whose name is unknown, is a member of the extreme-right religious group Jericho Riders Motorcycle Ministry, which regularly preaches homophobic and anti-women rhetoric. The Jericho Riders arrived at the Akron, Ohio, clinic to join protesters harassing women seeking safe abortions.
The assailant saw Charles and Tom embracing each other and began yelling homophobic slurs at the couple. When Charles vocally expressed his offense at the comments, he was assaulted. His aggressor rode off on his motorcycle immediately after.
The Akron Police Department, whose precinct is across the street from the clinic, did not respond until long after the assailant had left the scene. The protesters refused to give the name of the assailant, claiming that they did not know him. However, Charles and Tom both witnessed the protesters greeting the assailant with a familiar "welcome, brother!" The Akron police are treating the incident as simple assault—as opposed to felonious assault—which means they will make no effort to investigate the crime.
A protest was held on Aug. 1 to demand justice for Wright and call for an end to the attacks on LGBT and women’s rights. The Party for Socialism and Liberation joins the Akron community in its struggle against homophobia, women’s oppression and all forms of bigotry.
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