A boy in Georgia who had “gay” shaved into his head by family members has been placed in protective custody.
Video of the 12-year-old youth being berated by his family went viral on social media earlier this month. In the video, the boy — identified only as Tyler — is surrounded by family members, who call him a “gay ass bitch” and accuse him of “doing gay shit.”
The video zooms in on the boy’s head, showing “GAY” has been shaved into his hair. A man in the video is also shown slapping and punching the boy.
The video was uploaded to Instagram Live on June 17 by the boy’s mother, where it caused outcry and demands for police intervention.
The City of Atlanta Police Department last week confirmed its Special Victim’s Unit had launched an investigation to identify the boy, as well as those in the video with him.
APD called the video “difficult to watch” and the behavior of the adults “absolutely unacceptable.”
“Investigators were able to find the incident location and identify the juvenile and he was placed in the care of the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) on the evening of 6/18/2021,” APD said in a statement. “At this time, we are working closely with DFCS and the investigation continues.”
Prior to being placed in protective custody, a second video was uploaded to Instagram showing the same youth claiming that he was “good.”
“My brother and them, they didn’t abuse me,” he says in the video. “They were just showing me, like, you need to stop doing that.”
In the background, someone can be heard telling him to “say it.”
Devin Barrington-Ward, a local activist and candidate for city council, told FOX 11, “My heart was broken because I saw a piece of myself in that.”
“As a Black queer man, I have experienced some of the same homophobia and some of the same abuse by the hands of people that I love as a child,” Barrington-Ward said. “If you saw that and you didn’t see anything wrong with that, you’re part of the problem.”
Atlanta Black Pride President Terence Stewart told the Daily Dot, “So often in the Black community, we’re not given the tools that are needed to identify or understand [gender or sexuality]. There is no doubt from this video that this is not the first time this child has gone through this.”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!