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University of Idaho professor documents hate with new film, Gotts Point

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Steven Nelson in Gotts Point.
  • Steven Nelson in Gotts Point.

In early 2016, Steven Nelson was lured to Gotts Point in southern Idaho, brutally beaten, stripped naked and robbed. The University of Idaho alumnus, in his 40s, died hours later of a heart attack after walking barefoot to get help.

Before he died, Nelson offered details about his attackers to police, and the men were later sentenced to decades in prison for his murder, according to news reports. The attack against Nelson, an openly gay man, appeared to be homophobic, part of a setup by a group posting sexual ads online.

Now, Denise Bennett, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Idaho, is creating a documentary about Nelson called Gotts Point. The film looks at Nelson's case, as well as the lack of protections in place at the state level for LGBT people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Bennett, who taught Nelson when he was a student and knew him well as a friend, will screen the documentary at 7 pm Thursday night, Aug. 23, at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, 508 S. Main St., in Moscow. Doors open at 6:30 pm. She hopes the film can spur change.

"I felt compelled to make a film that could maybe provoke some cultural or legislative changes in Idaho," she says.

Admission is by donation, and the proceeds will support Bennett's oral history project "Idaho Queered," in which she's been collaborating with other groups to collect and archive the stories of LGBTQ Idahoans to assist social scientists with future research.

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