West Virginia party store manager shouted slurs at gay customer — then chased him with his shirt off: lawsuit
LGBT pride flags (Shutterstock)

On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that Fairness West Virginia, an LGBTQ advocacy group, is filing suit on behalf of Trevor Anderson, a gay man who alleges a manager at Spirit Halloween store in Charleston shouted anti-gay slurs at him — then menaced him in the parking lot and chased him with his shirt off.

"Anderson had been assembling a costume for a Clue-themed Halloween party, and his inspiration was Mr. Green, portrayed as a closeted gay man in a 1985 film adaptation of the board game," reported Nico Lang. "As a queer person himself, Anderson decided to liberate Mr. Green by giving him a coming out party fit for 2022. Aiming for a more gender-fluid interpretation of the character, he purchased a plaid mini-skirt and a belly shirt, among other random accessories." He reportedly went back to the store to return items that didn't fit.

According to the suit, the manager, Thelmon Penn, had followed him through the store when he first bought the items, and then refused to accept a return on them, saying, “Maybe you just shouldn’t be trying on women's clothing.”

When Anderson demanded Penn's number to file a complaint, he said “I’m not giving my number to a f*ggot.” As he left the store, Penn allegedly chased after him, screaming, “Get out, get out, f**king f*ggot.”

But that wasn't the end of the interaction. According to the suit, Penn continued to pursue him in the parking lot, forcing him to run.

"Because it was raining that day, Anderson took shelter in the entrance of a nearby DMV while he called his partner, Jonathan Pereira, who had also been present during the incident," said the report. "Anderson walked to meet him at their car. That’s when Anderson says Penn spotted him through the mass of spectators and began charging at him across the parking lot. Anderson says the image of Penn racing in his direction was 'surreal.' 'He didn’t have a shirt on,' he recalls. 'In the hollow I grew up in, if somebody’s angry, they rip their shirt off. That’s rage.'"

Penn then allegedly banged on the trunk after they got in the car, screaming at them, before they pulled away.

Anderson says that he has been so badly traumatized by the incident that he has been trapped in his house, crying daily, with his partner on the brink of leaving him because he can't handle the situation. He is seeking damages for pain and suffering.

You can read more here.

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