Student de­fends gay men, hailed as hero

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Milwaukee Wisconsin - Contact Jim St­ingl at (414) 224-2017 or jst­ingl@ Con­nect with my pub­lic page at Face­­nal­ist.Jim.St­ingl

Ter­rance Man­nery is sure he did the right thing, even if it got him punched in the face a few times.

He was work­ing ear­lier this month at a down­town dessert shop in Salt Lake City. Ter­rance, a Mil­wau­kee na­tive and 2015 Ron­ald Rea­gan High School grad­u­ate, is out there at­tend­ing Neu­mont Col­lege of Com­puter Science.

It was near clos­ing time on a Satur­day night. Four men who had left the Utah Pride Fes­ti­val across the street ran into the shop, called Doki Doki, to seek refuge from a mob of men chas­ing them and yelling anti­gay slurs and threats.

Ter­rance headed for the door to pre­vent the trou­ble­mak­ers from com­ing inside. Some­one had to do it. At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, he de­cided that was him.

“My thought process was that you guys are al­ready ha­rass­ing peo­ple to the point where they felt they had to come inside our store just to be safe. I’m not go­ing to let you and your friends in to cause more trou­ble,” he told me in a phone in­ter­view.

The mob greeted him with fly­ing fists and by jam­ming him against a glass door. A stack of chairs had fallen be­tween the outer and in­ner doors, pre­vent­ing any­one in the shop from com­ing out to help Ter­rance.

He punched back to de­fend him­self and pushed the in­trud­ers out­side to­ward the street. With by­standers walk­ing up and po­lice on the way, the dozen or more bul­lies ran off.

Ter­rance, 21, had a cut above his lip and an­other near his eye, but he was OK.

“My main thing was mak­ing sure ev­ery­one inside the store was safe. I kinda wish some of the peo­ple could have been ar­rested, but the main goal was ac­com­plished,” he said.

Po­lice in Salt Lake City are ask­ing for leads, and the Utah Gay & Les­bian Cham­ber of Com­merce is of­fer­ing a $5,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion re­sult­ing in pros­e­cu­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, there is no sur­veil­lance video.

At first, Ter­rance wasn’t go­ing to tell his mom liv­ing back here in Glen­dale. But news sto­ries about the in­ci­dent be­gan pop­ping up on so­cial me­dia, so he sent her a text so she wouldn’t freak out.

“He knew I would have caught a plane there right away. So he made sure I knew,” Martina Man­nery told me.

She is proud of her son and says she raised him to ac­cept ev­ery­one de­spite our dif­fer­ences.

“You don’t treat any­one dif­fer­ently, no mat­ter what’s go­ing on. They’re some­one’s fa­ther, sis­ter, mother, what­ever. You can’t treat them bad just be­cause of their sex­u­al­ity,” Martina said.

I heard about this story from Cory Kils­donk, who was Ter­rance’s teacher at Mil­wau­kee’s IDEAL Char­ter School through eighth grade.

“Even dur­ing the typ­i­cally tu­mul­tuous times of early ado­les­cence, he stood out as a sen­si­tive yet out­go­ing per­son with a strong sense of em­pa­thy. Def­i­nitely not sur­prised that he stepped up in this man­ner,” said Cory, who has since switched pro­fes­sions and is now a Mil­wau­kee fire­fighter.

As word of the in­ci­dent spread, peo­ple be­gan show­ing up at Doki Doki to thank Ter­rance. Even the men he was pro­tect­ing re­turned to ex­press grat­i­tude.

It’s alarm­ing and sad to see this kind of harassment of LGBTQ peo­ple. “Even though progress is be­ing made, there’s still a lot fur­ther to go,” Ter­rance said.

Tracey Dean, chair­woman of the Utah gay busi­ness group, called Ter­rance a lo­cal hero. It’s a word he’s been try­ing to brush aside as he ex­plains that he was just do­ing the right thing.

That hasn’t worked, he said with a laugh, “be­cause it’s some­thing heroes would say.”

Colum­nist Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel USA TO­DAY NET­WORK – WIS.

Jim St­ingl


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