KENAI, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska woman has said she believes she is being targeted as a member of the LGBTQ community and wants to warn others after she says she experienced multiple instances of harassment and violence in the past two months.
Peninsula Clarion reported Thursday that Kenai Peninsula College employee Tammie Willis is a member of the LGBT Alliance at the college and is an organizer for the annual Soldotna Pride in the Park event coinciding with other nationwide Pride marches.
Willis says she first received a note on her car in mid-November containing homophobic slurs and threats a few days after the first planning meeting for the 2020 Pride March was publically announced.
She says the windshield of her car was smashed a week later and she was attacked in her home days after that.
“I mean it is an assumption; I can’t say it is because I’m gay,” Willis said. “But when you look at it within the context of the note and the activities and the timeline, it definitely lends itself to looking like it’s targeted.”
Alaska State Troopers reported the latest attack in their daily dispatches after Willis was sent to the hospital with cuts and bruises on her arms, legs and stomach. The Dec. 9 attack occurred two days after the second Pride planning meeting was publicly announced.
Willis’ name is not mentioned in the dispatch, and the incident was listed as an “assault/burglary,” the newspaper reported.
An investigation is ongoing and is being approached as an isolated incident, said Ken Marsh, an officer with the Department of Public Safety.
Willis said she would continue to advocate for the LGBTQ community and hopes her story can help prevent an attack on anyone else, she said.
“I don’t want it to be about me,” Willis said. “I want it to be about helping the LGBTQ community find safety, or at least acknowledging the lack of safety on the peninsula.”
The Soldotna Pride in the Park organizers have scheduled a town hall meeting open to the public Jan. 4 at the Soldotna Public Library to discuss the safety of LGBTQ residents.