Self-defense classes: Gay community on Capitol Hill reacts to violent attacks

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SEATTLE — People in the local gay community on Seattle’s Capitol Hill are working to take safety back into their own hands.

“We have to keep looking out for each other,” said Mac McGregor, who wants to use his 40 years of martial arts experience to help people defend themselves. “Put safety in our own hands, and learn some things to protect ourselves.”

The martial arts class was organized by a social outreach group in response to a series of recent violent attacks on people around Capitol Hill. It was held at Neighbors Nightclub, one of the oldest gay clubs on the hill, and also the scene of an arson attack a year ago.

The class attracted Douglas, who says several straight men recently accosted him on the street for being gay.

“I was definitely intimidated. I knew what could happen and it was a very real fear.”

Capitol Hill is not the only place dealing with homophobic attacks. Last month in Tacoma, a woman was out looking for her dog when an attacker choked, stabbed, and wrote homophobic slurs on her before neighbors ran to her rescue.

As a transgender male, McGregor says he’s angered by the attacks. As a martial arts instructor, he believes he can make a difference.

"This is our community. We have to protect ourselves and take our community back from crime."




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  • Earthly Bird (@earthlybird)

    From a technical point of view, the move shown is rubbish and the yell isn’t going to do anything other than lower your morale when the attackers add that to the mocking arsenal. I’m gay and I take self-defense lessons for the very same purpose, but my choice of a real world combat is a serious one. I realize we’re fighting hate, and hate hurts not only our bodies but also our feelings; but the fact stands that you can’t respect a student’s feelings in training if you expect him or her to be able to survive against haters. So a self-defense lesson shouldn’t take it easy “just because they’re gay” (see how homophobic that sounds in and of itself?). What it should do is protect you against every kind of assault out there. I’m not disclosing what it is that I practice because it would sound like I’m raising one particular flag as opposed to so many others, and that’s just not the point. The point is that the stance, arm angle, hand angle, yelling and freezing afterwards are all just plain useless in a combat. Pick a martial art and practice it, guys. I seriously mean it. Could be karate, judo, jiu-jitsu, krav maga, muay thai, anything real.

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