Mom Orders Son to “Beat the Gay” Out of His Brother

Mary Gowan of Whiteville, North Carolina will certainly not be winning any parent of the year awards after she told her 12-year-old son to “beat the gay out” of his 15-year-old brother.

The case is starting to attract national attention in light of ongoing attacks on gay rights in Russia and concerns about LGBQT teens in the United States, a nation that despite progressive laws and culture can still be very dangerous for out members of the LGBQT community. For teens especially, repressive and abusive tactics like this can be incredibly damaging, shaping their future sexuality in addition to making them feel ashamed of who they are.

She’s being charged with misdemeanor child abuse for ordering the beating, and may receive hate crimes charges as well. She claimed the beating was necessary because her son had been visiting the home of an adult gay man. Gowan says she thinks her son was being molested, which is a reminder that many homophobic people consider adult gay men to be pedophiles, assuming that homosexuality is perversive.

Such attitudes have been at the root of numerous attacks on the gay community from people and organizations claiming to be interested in protecting children from predators.

If indeed her son was being molested, that’s a crime and should be treated as such, but the appropriate way to handle it is to report it to the police, not to tell a young boy to beat his older brother with a belt. Gowan forced her older son to strip down to his underwear so his younger sibling could beat him, warning him that he wasn’t allowed to fight back. Not satisfied with her younger son’s work, she took up the belt and a stick to continue the beating, which is when police arrived. He ended up with an abrasion on his back from his mother’s attentions along with undoubted emotional trauma. It’s likely his brother is suffering as well.

The mother says she doesn’t support the “gay lifestyle” and believes her son is young and easily influenced, giving her all the more reason to want to protect his interests. However, beating children doesn’t sound very much like looking after their welfare. In fact, it seems an awful lot like the opposite, especially if a parent suspects that a child is being exploited or abused by another adult and responds to that by punishing her own child.

Allegedly she did approach the police but wasn’t satisfied with their investigation — possibly because they looked into the case and didn’t find anything to pursue?

Her son’s orientation aside, beating children is never acceptable. One can only hope that the full force of the law will be brought down upon Gowan to send a sharp signal to parents that domestic violence will not be tolerated in her community. This would also sound a warning to parents of LGBQT teens; the police are watching, and the court will take action if necessary.

Given that queer youth are at radically increased risk of abuse from their parents and others, it’s critical for authorities to take a hardline stance on hate crimes like this one.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.


Kate S.
Kate S4 years ago


Kellyanne M.
Kellyanne M4 years ago

Oh, Michelle, if only that were possible. sigh.

Michelle Spradley

Is it possible to beat the stupid out of people, and simultaneously beat common sense and intelligence into them?

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

religion is killing our youth, and poisoning our world, and all for the sake of dated fairy tales that have almost no relevance in the real issues of the day. we are allowing parents to KILL innocent BABIES and teens and children all bc "god told me so"... come on ppl

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

so let me get this straight.. you fear your child has been molested so you think its best to beat them for getting molested? that's like breaking a girls legs for "getting herself raped".... hope she is punished to the full extent allowable by law

Dagmar Breg
Past Member 4 years ago

Can we beat the bitch out of this woman? Maybe if we hit her hard enough.

Heather O.
Heather O4 years ago

Can I PLEASE beat the stupid out of her? PLEASE??? PRETTY PLEASE??? I PROMISE I'll do a VERY thorough job.

*hand over heart*

Marc P.
Marc P4 years ago

Gabriel L.: You State "Is no one considering that he was being taken advantage of by an older man? Got morals? Got values?" Apparently you cannot read too well. The Mother THOUGHT the boy was being molested. there is absolutely NO evidence in the story that would substantiate that claim. In fact, the story indicates that the police had investigated that accusation. MY Morals drive me to make very sure I have ALL the facts before I start pointing fingers and assigning names like "Pedophile" to people... And my values are those taught in the Bible. (though I am not religious.) That is why I do not falsely accuse people, or pass judgement, or cast stones. What kind of paranoiac schizoids have we become where all of a sudden every male role model is considered a pedophile???

BMutiny TCorporationsEvil

There was also Sean Paddock, of Johnson County, N.C., who died from suffocation in 2006, age 4, after he'd been wrapped tightly in a blanket. His mother Lynn Paddock, who said she had come across the Pearls' website, was charged with first-degree murder. Sean's siblings testified that they were beaten each day with a plumbing tube that the Pearls recommend.
The Pearls, along with many conservative Christians, say the Bible calls for corporal punishment. "To give up the use of the rod is to give up our views of human nature, God, eternity," they write in the book.
And Michael Pearl rejects the notion that his teachings bear any responsibility for the childrens' deaths.
But other Christians appear to disagree. Crystal Lutton, who runs a Christian blog that opposes corporal punishment, told the Times that the Pearl's methods carry a big risk. "If you don't get results, the only thing to do is to punish harder and harder," she said.
Some Christian groups are working to pressure booksellers such as Amazon not to carry the Pearls' book.
The issue of corporal punishment had already been making headlines recently. Last week, a Texas woman posted online a video from 2004 that showed her father, a judge, whipping her with a belt when she was 16
Do not think this mother was different from MANY Conservative Christian mothers {as one must assume she was!}. Care2 members generally live in a different WORLD than these "typical" parents do! This sort of

BMutiny TCorporationsEvil

In their self-published book, To Train Up a Child, Pearl, 66, and his wife Debi, 60, recommend the systematic use of "the rod" to teach young children to submit to authority. They offer instructions on how to use a switch for hitting children as young as six months, and describe how to use other implements, including a quarter-inch flexible plumbing line.
Older children, the Pearls say, should be hit with a belt, wooden spoon or willow switch, hard enough to sting.
There are 670,000 copies of the book in circulation, and it's especially popular among Christian home-schoolers...
But Dr. Frances Chalmers, a state pediatrician who examined Hana's death, suggested to the Times that their teachings may have played a role in Hana's death. "My fear is that this book, while perhaps well intended, could easily be misinterpreted and could lead to what I consider significant abuse," she said.
That may also have happened in the case of Lydia Schatz, who was adopted from Liberia at the age of 4 by Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz of Paradise, Calif. She died last year, age 7, after her parents had whipped her for hours, with pauses for prayer....Like the Williamses, the Schatzes owned a copy of To Train Up a Child, and the local district attorney criticized it as a dangerous influence.
There was also Sean Paddock, of Johnson County, N.C., who died from suffocation in 2006, age 4, after he'd been wrapped tightly in a blanket. His mother Lynn Paddock, who said she had come acros