He has allegedly been assaulted, called "f***ing queer," suffered death threats against his son, and had his house burned down. And now he's fighting back
Last week, a gay man from Oklahoma named Randy Gamel-Medler filed a federal lawsuit against nine people from Blaine County, including the Mayor of Hitchcock and the County Sheriff. According to Gamel-Medler, he, his partner, and his son have suffered months of harassment on account of his sexuality and his son's race. (Gamel-Medler and his partner are white, while his son is African American.) Their repeated pleas to local police and government officials fell on deaf ears, according to the lawsuit.
"When our family moved to the town of Hitchcock in rural Oklahoma we thought we were buying our last house, we wanted to know our neighbors by their first names and grow old together, but we were soon met with hatred, suspicion, and discrimination," Randy Gamel-Medler said in a statement. "We were terrorized, murder threats were made against our seven year-old African-American son."
Gamel-Medler, who serves as Town Clerk, maintains that officials conspired to run him out of office through a concerted campaign to ignore his pleas for help.
On May 28, Gamel-Medler heard glass breaking in his garage and called to report a burglary. Once we saw fire, he called the fire department. He claims that several of the defendants in the lawsuit, including Hitchcock Mayor Rick Edsall, sat in lawn chairs and watched as the house burned down. The fire department, located just one block away, didn't arrive on the scene until Gamel-Medler's house had burned down—completely.
"We must not forget that after years of progress, crimes of bias still exist. The allegations in Hitchcock are horrific, and show the intersection of hate aimed at the both the African-American and LGBTQ Communities. Freedom Oklahoma stands with all victims of bias, and will work vigilantly to ensure the state of Oklahoma passes Bias-Crime Protections for all Oklahomans," said Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson in a statement.
Town officials, for their part, deny any wrongdoing. Blaine County Undersheriff David Robertson, who is one of the nine defendents, told the Associated Press that they "don't take too kindly to being called racist and homophobic, because we're not." He continued, saying he "cannot find one person who made any racist statements against his child or against him for being a homosexual."
"We lost everything from 27 years," said Gamel-Medler, who has since moved to El Paso, Texas. "Everything that we had is gone."
Gays With Kids will be following this story as it develops, and will be sure to keep our readers posted.