We hate writing these posts, but here we are again writing about brutal violence hurting our own LGBT community. Yesterday we brought you the chilling news out of Brazil that a 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death by his own mother because he was gay. This time, the violence is on American soil.
33 year-old Derek Whitener loves to be on stage. Whitener is a huge part of the local theater community in Dallas as a performer and costume designer. He was currently performing as Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Firehouse Theatre.
After a matinee performance, Whitener was getting groceries at Target when two masked men attacked him in the parking lot. They horrifically bludgeoned him with a pipe. The injuries he sustained from the attack were severe, leaving him with a fractured skull. An ambulance rushed him to Baylor University Medical Center, where he underwent an intense surgery to stop the bleeding in his brain.
Whitener is currently recovering in the ICU there. Doctors are waiting for the swelling in his brain to go down before they can confirm that the surgery was a success. A motive has yet to be established in this case, but it for sure wasn’t robbery. The two men didn’t steal anything.
Derek is one of the most creative, passionate, and unique individuals I have ever met in my life. He just accepted a position as the artistic director of the Firehouse Theatre, a community theatre in Dallas. The level of outreach he has done through his artistic endeavors (singing, acting, costuming, etc.) has touched the lives of countless individuals. I know he has inspired me to be a better artist since the day I met him over ten years ago.
Please help one of my dearest friends overcome this horrific tragedy. Let us drive out hate by coming together and showing what love can do.
We wish a speedy recovery for Whitener and hope he is back on stage soon. That beautiful smile needs to be shining bright in the spotlight, not suffering in a hospital bed.