Teens Attempt Throwing Lesbian Classmate Off Cliff on Day of Silence

Ashley Sams, 18, and Corinne Schwab, also 18, as well as a 17-year old friend whose name has not been released due to her juvenile status, posted bail yesterday on charges of attempted murder for trying to push their lesbian friend, Cheyenne Williams, off a cliff.

Sams and Schwab are charged with kidnapping and attempted murder. Williams’ mother said the attack was a hate crime, motivated by the fact that her daughter is openly gay.

But the detective handling the case said he would not characterize the alleged attack as a hate crime. It appears the incident started as a prank but escalated to the point Williams was frightened and sustained minor injuries, said Detective Joie Peters.

Furthermore, Cheyenne’s mother says that the victim won’t return to Jackson County High School this year: “Dee Johnson said she is concerned her daughter, Cheyenne Williams, wouldn’t be safe if she returned to finish her senior year. Even if the girls who allegedly attacked Williams weren’t back at school, some of their friends would be, Johnson said.”

However, reports are conflicting: the four girls were close friends, and Cheyenne (or “Chey”) had been out for some time. Debate is heated on whether or not the incident is a hate crime or if it’s just a “prank gone awry.”

School officials said the “Day of Silence” anti-violence event Friday, promoted by the national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Alliance, did spark some controversy on campus. While some students wore stickers in support of the observance, others protested the event by wearing stickers that said “Gay is not the way.” It wasn’t clear which side of the debate the three suspects were on.

Cheyenne signed a sworn criminal complaint saying that she was abducted on Friday by the three girls. Other reports claim that the girls were just going tanning.

Based on Williams’s statement, a local prosecutor issued arrest warrants for the three suspects.

“The charges were initially brought without a police investigation,” Kentucky State Trooper John Hawkins told Associated Press reporter Roger Alford.


The White House does not plan to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell this year
. The press secretary told reporters Wednesday that Obama will give the Pentagon until Dec. 1 for their study on the issue, which as one intrepid reporter noticed, won’t give Congress a lot of time to pass, well, anything. Said Press Secretary Gibbs: The President has a process and a proposal, I think, that he believes is the best way forward to seeing, again, the commitment that he’s made for many years in trying to — changing that law.” (@huffington post)

This little gem of knowledge comes on the heels of the GetEqual protests and Lt. Dan Choi’s civil disobedience. And now it turns out that park police kept the press away from Choi’s demonstration at the White House gate, which of course defeats the whole purpose of civil disobedience. Choi’s protest didn’t make it into major news outlets or the AP. What’s the point of “hollering” if no one hears about it? Gibbs has said the White House had nothing to do with it and the park police screwed up. Either way, a Washington Post editorial recently advised the DADT protestors to shift their focus: “Change the scene of action from the White House to the Capitol. Repeal of don’t ask don’t tell requires congressional action. And nothing says ‘Listen to me!’ like civil disobedience in the office of the Speaker or the Senate Majority Leader.” (@washingtonpost)

Obvs, Gibbs’ announcement of Obama’s plan flies in the face of the timeline we all thought we had, which repealed DADT in 2010. Queerty wants to know if Joe Solmonese of the HRC openly lied when he said DADT would be repealed in 2010. (He’s sketchy no matter what, I say.) Some people are saying the White House had previously shut down the notion that we would see a repeal this year. That would make Solmonese’s declaration in February pretty suspect.

The Advocate has a look at the different perspectives on how exactly that meeting went down. Some other anonymous people (gotta love Washington) say the White House didn’t shut anything down, they were just reluctant to commit to anything at all. Well, that’s much better! (@advocate)

Rosie O’Donnell brings Mike Huckabee on her show to talk about weight loss… just kidding, that’s just what she told him she wanted to talk about, at about the five minute mark she transitions to a much more interesting topic… gay parenting. (@queerty)

Reporting a violent crime can be hard enough, but it can be even tougher for gay, lesbian, transgender and intersexual victims. Being outed, being ridiculed, the fact that most health care professionals assume a patient is straight — all these factors make it hard for LGBT people to seek the proper help.

Victims may go without adequate care — or justice — when they are viewed through “straight goggles,” Jenkins said. “That’s … when you assume everyone you meet is heterosexual until they tell you otherwise,” she said.

That prejudice can stand in the way of services for victims who already may be isolated by unique threats and stigmas, said Hildegard Koenig, a victim’s advocate with the Utah Domestic Violence Council.

“They could lose their jobs, they could lose housing, they could lose their children because they don’t have legal rights,” Koenig said. (@sltrib)

Westboro went to Boulder Colorado and nobody wanted to hang out with them, but like a lot of people came out to h8 them, including Mike Manning from The Real World! These days, counter-protesters always seem to outnumber the Westboro folks, which warms my heart. (@kdvr)

Also, in The New York Times, people react to the stroy of Harold & Clay: “Sonoma County’s separation of two elderly gay partners, Harold Scull and Clay M. Greene, and its sale of their belongings has drawn attention from around the Bay Area. Last month, a legal complaint was filed by Mr. Greene, the survivor of the couple. It alleges callous and unlawful behavior on the part of the officials who separated the men — Mr. Greene, 78, and Mr. Scull, who was 89 when he died nearly two years ago. It accuses the county and its employees of elder abuse and fraud.”

Jon Stewart’s latest GayWatch looks at Lindsay Graham. Some ralliers in South Carolina called Graham a homoseckshul and questioned why he wanted to reform immigration law.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Friendly Fire – Gaywatch Edition
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

The U.K.’s conservative party has been trying to woo LGBT voters, but as elections draw near in Britain, the Tories are embroiled in fresh GLBT controversies. (@edge)

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Sarah lives in Chicago with her partner and her big white Great Dane. She is a lawyer by day and a beer brewer/bread baker/knitter by night. She & her partner are currently learning how to grow their own food, and eventually they hope to move to a small farm outside the city. In 2009-2010, before jetting off to law school, Sarah was Autostraddle's Managing Editor.

Sarah has written 127 articles for us.


  1. My sister, who is the most incredible 14 y/o straight ally ever, was openly mocked by teachers when she and her friends participated in the Day of Silence. The teacher, during class, called them “stupid kids” over and over, and when one of them spoke up to defend themselves, the teacher cut him off saying, “Oops! Mason just killed a gay person!”

    This is the state of things in rural Pennsylvania. I’m actually amazed at how provocative the Day of Silence really is.

  2. I don’t understand how attempting to push someone off a cliff could be considered a prank to begin with. Something about this is strange.. stories range from a hate crime, to a prank, to.. going tanning?

    “sneak across the rainbow bridge”. I love John Stewart.

    • the weirdest thing is that one of those girls has an easily accessible facebook profile, and the last post on her wall is “going tanning…” from when she you know, went tanning, with her three friends. And then somehow someone ended up almost getting thrown off a cliff or something. Kids these days. Who needs skin cancer, even.

      • I’m sayin’. I thought kids were vicious and evil when *I* was in high school in the 80s. Did you also see what the kids at Constance McMillen’s school did to her, AFTER the whole flap about the prom cancellation?

        And it’s not just the kids who are experiencing a wave of angry and sometimes violent anti-gayness in the US, I’ve noticed. It seems even more venomous and hate-inspired than I remember it being when I was in my 20s trying to come out.

  3. i mostly can’t believe people actually push people off cliffs? like, really? how is this real?

  4. wtf, world? really? i just don’t understand people sometimes. like “oh hey, let’s push someone off a cliff today!” “what a good idea!”

  5. Attempted cliff pushing, kinda sounds like the climax of a Dukes of Hazzard ep. That’s all I can think of ’cause out here in the real world it just seems so unfathomable. World, you continue to astound me.

  6. Apparently there’s nothing better to do in McKee, KY than to try to push a lesbian off a cliff. Appalling. Absolutely appalling.

  7. Great, i’m from Kentucky and I have never heard of anything so hateful or rediculous. This just gives people more reason to hate the state.

  8. Jon Stewart mocking the DADT protesters left a bad taste in my mouth. Oh, you silly shrill activists, always harshing our groove by drawing attention to a continuing injustice. Can’t you just have faith in Obama? He says he’ll get around to it. And as we all know, the LGBT community has never ever been lied to by a poitician who claimed to be our friend.

    And you know that if gays did sit down and shut up, and Obama and congress did nothing, people would just shrug and say it was our own fault for not speaking out and creating urgency on the matter. It’s like the Dan Chois of the world are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

    • You’re right, and it seems like Jon Stewart ought to know better doesn’t it? People need to hear about the frustration and anger etc.

  9. this reminds me of the movie jawbreaker, and how a “prank” can lead to death, or brain stroke from stupidity.

  10. Re: Tories courting gay votes, the Tory candidate for my constituency just knocked on my door, thus waking me from nap, thus making me grumpy. This is not the way to win gay votes!

    Also, it’s a damn shame these warm fuzzy feelings aren’t backed up by their voting record: http://mygayvote.co.uk/

    He apologised for Section 28 which is a mistake from last century, but a quarter of tories voted against the Equality Act only three years ago. I’m afraid Cameron et al will have to follow up their words with actions before many gay voters will even entertain voting for them.

  11. The girl in the red in the mugshot photo’s hair is a hate crime…

  12. this si aweful but we shouldnt judge either party involved. We have no clue what really happened or why. Its sad to think people exist that want to ruin the lives of those involved in the Constance Mcmillen prom . Some went so far as to write colleges where they applied. Westboro church gives all Christians a bad name. If these pro-gay groups and extremem Chrisitans want recognition,there are better ways to go about it. “Day of Silence” is an infringement like a “Day of Payer.”Think about it. Schools need tot focus on education.

    • Roddma, I was reading and curious about what you had to say (in spite of being hard to read), up until the “Day of Silence” remark. What the heck, where’s the comparison?

      I also might’ve been really rubbed the wrong way with the comment about pro-gay groups being lumped in with extreme Christian groups. WTF?

      I call troll shenanigans.

  13. this si aweful but we shouldnt judge either party involved. We have no clue what really happened or why. Its sad to think people exist that want to ruin the lives of those involved in the Constance Mcmillen prom . Some went so far as to write colleges where they applied. Westboro church gives all Christians a bad name. If these pro-gay groups and extremem Chrisitans want recognition,there are better ways to go about it. “Day of Silence” is an infringement like a “Day of Payer.”Think about it. Schools need to focus on education.

    • “Day of Silence” is NOTHING like “Day of Prayer”. The only similarity they have is that they start with ‘Day of…’ For starters, “Day of Silence” is organized by GLSEN, while the other was designated by the US Congress and has a law formalizing it. One is there to fight harrassment and bullying and the other asks people to turn to god in prayer and meditation or something. See? Nothing alike.

      And seriously, I don’t really care what their reasons are for TRYING TO THROW THEIR FRIEND OFF A CLIFF. They tried to THROW HER OF A CLIFF! I mean, how bad a friend do you have to be for someone to want to throw you off a cliff? I’ll answer that: a really really REALLY bad friend, or gay I guess.

      I’m cranky.

Comments are closed.