by Joey Leslie
Staff Writer

When some friends from Halls, Tenn. made the 45-minute drive to Jackson for a night out, they had no idea they were about to be involved in an incident that has led to a planned protest on Saturday, August 4.

On Saturday, July 14, Mandy Greer, of Halls, and two friends met at Tequila Joe’s, a bar in Jackson. Greer claims that shortly after arriving she was assaulted by a male patron of the bar after he made a slur against her sexual orientation.

Greer said the man told her, “There’s no room for faggots in here.”

“I said, ‘Sorry, I think you have it mistaken,’” Greer explained. “I’m a lesbian.”

As she turned away to continue dancing, Greer said the man struck her in the eye with a beer bottle. Another patron tried to pull Greer out of the way of the disgruntled man, but, according to Greer, he was still able to hit her with the bottle several more times before the two fell to the floor and began to wrestle.

Greer said a bouncer pulled her off of the man by her neck, drug her to the door and pulled her outside where he held her in a choke-hold. She said another bouncer came outside and ripped her shirt during the altercation as she tried to fight free of the bouncer’s grip.          

Managers at Tequila Joe’s who were present the night of the incident were contacted three times for comment, but no response was received by press time.

Greer said her attacker fled through a back door.

Hostile atmosphere

From the time she entered the bar until she left the hospital early the next morning, Greer said she felt surrounded by hostility, as if most people blamed her for the incident.

She said that during the night, a particular bouncer repeatedly told her and her friend Mike, who was at the bar with her that evening, they could not dance in certain areas of the bar that were “out in the open.”

Greer said later that night police told her there was nothing they could do after the assailant fled the scene and no police report was filed that evening. She said no pictures were taken and no witnesses’ names or statements were written down by police.

Investigating officers from the Jackson Police Department were contacted three times for comment, but no formal response was received by press time.

In an ambulance en route to the hospital, Greer said an EMT told her she needed to “look more feminine.”

“She said, ‘you know, if you didn’t look like a boy, this wouldn’t have happened,’” Greer explained.

Andrea Laws, a friend of Greer also of Halls who was not at the bar that night, said they had often felt the brunt of bigotry in the Jackson bar scene.

“I used to go to that spot [Tequila Joe’s] every now and then and always had something rude said to me, but never anything like that happen,” said Laws. “A lot of people in this area are very hostile to queer people.”

Uprising

Greer said she now has only blurred and bubbled vision in her left eye and can’t see in her periphery. She said she plans to take legal action against all whom she feels acted inappropriately that night.

While the trauma of that evening is still evident in the wounds on Greer’s face, it is the emotional trauma she endured that night that has hoards of people, including several of Greer’s closest friends, planning a civil protest outside of the bar to raise awareness of bigotry in the Jackson area.

Heather Hebert, a Memphis resident, helped organize the protest scheduled for the evening of August 4.

“People are just outraged,” Hebert said. “It started out small, but people realize this is ridiculous and we really need to do something. The list of participants is growing.”

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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