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."