Over the weekend, Shaun Shaffer put up gay and trans Pride flags outside his home in South Seattle. But Sunday morning, Shaffer says he noticed something strange: his neighbor quietly carving something on a nearby fence. Later, Shaffer saw the full carving: "Leviticus 20:13 & 18:22," two verses condemning homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 warns, "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable," and 20:13 explains that people who engage in these "detestable" relations "are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
"I remember watching him doing this, but I couldn't tell what he was doing. He was covering it and not making eye contact," Shaffer commented in a public Facebook post. That day, he filed a police report.
Shaffer runs XL Bears, a popular social group for gay bears in Seattle. He claims the verse is in response to his household and their lifestyle. "We're always having parties for all sorts of queer events," Shaffer told The Stranger. "My house constantly has gays coming and going. There are three drag queens that live in my house, and we're gay people."
"I think Seattle gays live in a bubble," says Shaffer. "People need to be reminded that everyone isn't necessarily tolerant. We have a growing number of trans members, both in Seattle and as visitors in my home, so I will be taking extra precautions. Gotta stay vigilant."
Shaffer has not seen his neighbor since the incident.
"At this point, I can tell you that we take hate crimes very seriously and that this will be reviewed by our bias crimes investigator," said Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, a spokesman for SPD.