Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter August, 2009

Will’s father commented about how difficult school is for queer students. “Most parents worry about if they make a grade, make a team, or do things like that. When we sent Willi to school, we worried that it would be the last time we would see him.” Stated in interview in the documentary movie Anti-Gay Hate Crime: A & E Investigative Reports. Available from Amazon.Com and Amazon.Ca.
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Some members of the Stop Hate 2000 extended family are grieving the recent suicide of a young gay person. Our hearts and prayers are with the family, loved ones, and friends. Our hopes and prayers are that future generations of gay, bisexual, and trans-identified youth will find society to be more loving and accepting, because of what we do.

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This August marked the twentieth anniversary of a gay hate crime committed against a straight man in Ottawa, Canada. August 21, 1989, Alain Brosseau was murdered because some youth thought he was gay. According to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation article, Alain was on his way home from work when a group of teenagers beat him. They dangled him, by his ankles, over the side of a bridge and let him fall. He did not survive the fall. Alain Brosseau was murdered for being gay, and he was not gay. His death resulted in the establishment of the first police hate-crimes group in Canada. Alain’s death proves that work to reduce hate crimes against gay people is not just a gay issue. Hate crimes against gay people is very much an issue that should be of concern to straight people too.
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In Tel Aviv, Israel there was an armed attack on a gay youth center. According to an article in the August 27 Xtra West newspaper, “Deadly attack on Tel Aviv gay centre hits too close to home,” a gunman shot thirteen people. Two people died in the attack and four people were in critical condition. The youth center was closed due to the attack. Gay nightclubs and bars are also closed, due to fear of violence.
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Transgender and transsexual people tend to be very marginalized. Even within the queer community, trans-identified people tend to be invisible. Because the trans community tends to be invisible, it has little real political power either within the queer community or within larger society. For the trans community to obtain needed rights and protection, the trans community needs increased visibility. This summer marked a first for Toronto, Canada. Toronto held its first Trans Pride March. A short You Tube video about the Trnas Pride March can be seen on the Xtraonline Channel.
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India is one of the most populated countries in the world. Because of India’s population, what happens in India can very important news. India had a legal ban on same-gender sex. A July 2 court ruling by India’s Delhi High Court legalized same-gender sex. According to an article on the Gay Lesbian Times web site, the ruling takes place immediately and has the effect of legalizing same-gender sexual relationships throughout all of India. Evidently, the ruling can be overturned by the Supreme Court of India.

The wording of the ruling is interesting. The court ruling mentions the impact of criminalized homosexuality on the gay community. According to the Gay Lesbian Times article, the court noted criminalization “condemns” gay people to “live their lives in the shadow of harassment, exploitation, humiliation, cruel and degrading treatment” by the police and justice system. Criminalizing same-gender sexual relations were seen by the court to “impair” gay “dignity,” and to result in being “persecuted” and “marginalized.” The court also found the criminalization of homosexuality violated privacy and liberty rights. The Indian court noted the law against same-gender sex was due to moral and religious views.

India’s court ruling makes an excellent place to start discussions on issues related to the ruling. The major colonial powers were Spain, Britain, and France. A case can be made that the United States also was a colonial power. The colonial powers had Christian cultures. Western culture, western governmental administration, and Christian world views were exported to the colonies. Unfortunately, homophobia was part of the culture and religious beliefs that were exported to the colonies. Many of the former British colonies had laws against same-gender sexual relationships, because that was the law in Britain. One of the negative remnants of colonialism is the continued criminalization of homosexuality. Some of the former British colonies have been slow to remove the laws, and slow in allowing gay and bisexual rights. In some cases, homophobia appears to be a more significant problem in some of the former British colonies than it is in the United Kingdom.

A case can be made that there is such a thing as sexual colonialism. Colonialism can be considered to be the full or partial political and economic control of one country by another country. Straight people exercise a significant amount of political and economic control over sexual minority groups. The “democratic” power of the dominant group, straight people, slows progress toward full economic, political, and legal equality. Sexual minority members who want to progress up the career ladder know that they need to appear straight. Even straight people who are strong allies of the queer community can pay an economic price for their convictions. Heterosexual norms of behavior, dress, conduct, family life, values, and theology are exported to the queer colonies, GLBT people. Even within queer cultural institutions, acting straight, and appearing to be part of straight imperialism is often viewed as a positive thing. Straight-acting, masculine gay men are viewed more positively than effeminate gay men. Very feminine lesbians tend to be more positively viewed than very butch-acting lesbians. For countries to function more effectively, sexual colonialism needs to be ended.

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According to a Gay Lesbian Times article about Lateisha Green, Lateisha was born a male, but was mainly living as a female. Evidently, Lateisha, dressed as a man, and her brother went to a party together. People at the party are reported to have thought they were a gay couple. Some vulgar comments were made. Later, when Lateisha and her brother were sitting in a car together, one of the people in the party approached the car with a rifle and shot the two. The bullet wounded Mark Cannon, Lateisha’s brother, and fatally wounded Lateisha. We gather the prosecutors have charged Dwight DeLee, the man thought responsible, under hate crimes provisions. An Associated Press article, on the web site, indicates DeLee was not charged with a hate crime because Lateisha was trans-identified, but because Lateisha was believed to have been killed because she was perceived to be gay.

Murders of trans-identified people is a serious problem. A world map on the Bilerico web site shows the reported cases of trans murders in 2008. An article on Bilerico gives an overview of a more lengthy report. The two countries with the highest numbers of documented trans muders are Brazil and the United States. The full report, which is on the Liminalis web site, indicates every three days there is a report of the murder a trans-identified person. Between January of 2008 and June of 2009, more than 200 cases of trans murders were reported. The number of reported trans murders is a concern. Of equal concern is the fact that the number of trans people being murdered appears to be increasing. The increasing number of trans murders could be due to increased reporting, not an increase in crime against trans-identified individuals.

The actual number of trans-identified people murdered in 2008 is likely to be considerably higher than the figure reported in the article. Some trans people are not identified in news reports as being trans. The article used internet news reports to determine the number of people murdered. Because some trans murders are not reported on the internet, and because there can be a wide variety of terms used to describe trans people, there could be many more murders that were not located in internet searches.

The Liminalis article states Brazil, Mexico, and the United States have the highest numbers of homophobic murders. Brazil had a total of 190 homophobic murders in 2008. The article states the United States had 25 homophobic murders in 2008.

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Washington, DC passed a law recognizing same-sex marriages that are performed in other jurisdictions. The law passed by a vote of 12 to 1. Those interested in learning more about the new DC law will want to read the Gay Lesbian Times article about same-sex marriages in Washington, DC.

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Because Sarah Palin was the outspoken Republican candidate for Vice President, her name, and the state of Alaska, have come to be associated with very conservative positions on social issues. The Anchorage assembly is considering legislation that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified people from discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, finances, and education. For additional information, refer to the Gay Lesbian Times.
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