Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter April 16, 2007

Ryan Skipper, a 25 year old gay Florida man, was murdered in mid-March. According to new reports, Ryan was attacked in his car. He was stabbed twenty times and his body was dumped by a road. One of the men who is accused of the murder, is reported as having said, “Ryan Skipper was messing with him, that Ryan Skipper was a homosexual, so [he] killed him.” This murder brings back memories of the murder of another gay man, Matthew Shepard. Both men were young men. In both cases, the murders are believed to be hate crimes. News reports stating things about both Matthew Shepard and Ryan Skipper contained information that damaged their reputations.

The Pensito Review web site indicates a Sheriff’s Department spokesman said Ryan Skipper found one of the men accused of murdering him when Ryan was driving around. The article states Ryan Skipper took the man to Ryan’s home, where they smoked pot and talked about using Ryan’s computer to forge checks. The article indicates that one of Ryan’s two roommates was home all night and says Ryan Skipper did not come home. The roommate indicates Ryan was not the kind of person to be involved in the activities reported by the Sheriff’s Department.

A few articles about Ryan can be found on the following web sites:

•The Ledger Online. The Ledger article discusses who Ryan was and gives some insights into the kind of person Ryan was.

Pensito Review. The article discusses very contradictory information about Ryan’s activities the day he was murdered.

ExpressGayNews. This article has information about a friend of Ryan’s who says Ryan would not pick up a hitchhiker and did not pick people up off the street.

365Gay.Com. The 365Gay.Com article states the men accused of murdering Ryan drove Ryan’s car to the homes of some friends to show them the bloody interior.

Gay City News. The Gay City News article indicates the men arrested with Ryan Skipper’s murder are using the gay panic defense.

Gay.Com News. This article indicates the murder was initially investigated as a murder robbery, because Ryan Skipper’s car and computer had been stolen.

Stop Hate created a memorial page for Ryan Skipper. You are welcome to visit the memorial page.

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Ryan Skipper’s murder brings to our attention the serious nature of hate crimes. Fortunately, individuals are making a difference. Beejae is one of those people. Beejae is a musician. He is planning a Stop Hate Crimes 2007 tour. The tour is starting August 24. Information about the tour can be found on Beejae’s web site and on Beejae’s SoundClick site.

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Many people wonder what they can do to make a difference. The good news is that you do not have to be a political leader or give a speech to make a difference in your community. Saturday, May 5 is a day to write on your calendar. The second annual Walk for Kindness starts May 5. The Walk for Kindness is intended to help people be more aware of the impact of kindness. Currently, walks have been organized in Ellensburg, Washington, and Sacramento, California. Information on how to organize a Walk for Kindness in your own community can be found on the Walk for Kindness

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Stop Hate 2000 usually does not promote religious events. We chose to break with that policy this month for a very important reason. Many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified people hate themselves. They hate themselves, because they have internalized all of the societal hate they feel. Self-hate is one of the worst and one of the most silent types of “hate crimes.” Some people who experienced ex-gay therapy felt intense self-hate. A conference is being held in California for people who received ex-gay therapy or were part of ex-gay ministries.

Two activist groups Soulforce and Beyond Ex-Gay are joining forces to host The Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference: Undoing the Damage Affirming our Lives Together. The conference is being held June 29 to July 1 at the University of California - Irving. Information about the conference can be found on the conference web page.

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Sunday, April 15 was Yom HaShoah, the holocaust memorial day. Information about the holocaust memorial day can be found on the Anti-Defamation League web site.

The Anti-Defamation League reports good news. In the United States, 2006 was the second year in a row where there was a decline in anti-Semitic incidents. People interested in following trends in hate crimes May want to check the and review the Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.

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A few news stories we are following appear below:

•The Rocky Mountain News has an article about a gay Pueblo, Colorado teenager who is thought to have been taunted and beaten because he is gay. The teenager, Anthony Hergesheimer, suffered a broken nose. According to the article, people were throwing things at him. Six students believed to be involved in the attack were suspended from school.

•An Advocate/Gay.Com news story reports that a poll says the majority of Americans would vote for a gay person for President, if their party nominated a well qualified gay candidate. Should this poll represent how Americans feel about gay people, this may show a very positive trend regarding the acceptance of gay people in society.

•According to an article on the Advocate/Gay.Com site, the Polish President, Lech Kaczynski stated the human race would “disappear if homosexuality were freely promoted.”

•An article in the Rocky Mountain News tells about a young gay woman who was assaulted by a man. According to the news story, two men made sexual advances. She rejected the advances, telling the men that she was gay. One of the men punched her and kicked her in the face. The Rocky Mountain News story did not say the assault was a hate crime. This crime could be a hate crime, based on either gender or sexual orientation.

•Fred Phelps' church gained public fame for picketing at the funerals of gay people and of military personnel killed in the Iraq conflict. An Advocate news article reports that a bill that would keep protesters at least 150 feet away from a funeral was sent to the Governor of Kansas for approval.

Anybody with news about hate crimes or discrimination is welcome to email us.

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