Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter December, 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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This is New Year’s Eve. We want to thank all of our subscribers for their concern about racism, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, prejudice, and hate crimes. We also want to thank our members and contributors. We wish everybody a very happy 2010.
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The Stop Hate web site has internet resources. This month we are highlighting a few internet resources. In Remembrance of Matthew Shepard, a memorial page for Matthew Shepard, contains information about Matthew Shepard, a personal reflection on his life, and links to resources. There is a Stop Hate 2000 Myspace account. Copies of our newsletters are there. Because it is now possible for us to link some news stories to the Myspace page, people who want to follow news developments are very welcome to friend us on Myspace. Only news stories that allow us to link the news on Myspace will be able to be posted. People interested in making a difference for suicidal queer and questioning youth might want to check The Trevor Project web site. The Trevor Project operates a crisis hotline for American youth. The web site has educational information about suicide.

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation say reported hate crimes increased by two percent in 2008. The number of hate crimes based on sexual orientation increased by eleven percent in 2008. Hate crimes on the basis of religion increased by nine percent in 2008. Additional information can be found in an Associated Press article carried on 365Gay.com.

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Sectarian violence in Northern Ireland is significantly lower than it was in the 1970s. An Associated Press article, carried by NPR, gives us the sense that sectarian violence is still a threat in Northern Ireland. Irish Republican Army dissidents are believed to have left a 400 pound car bomb outside the Belfast police headquarters. Fortunately, the bomb did not go off.

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November 20 was Transgender Day of Remembrance. The twentieth of November is the day when we stop and remember trans-identified people who had violent deaths. According to an article on the Pink News web system, 117 trans people were murdered so far this year.

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Schools are not always places where queer youth feel welcome, accepted, or safe. Schools can feel like institutions of oppression and fear for queer and questioning youth. There are several noteworthy news items relating to schools.

There is a disturbing article on the Advocate web site. Jayron Martin, a 16 year old gay student, was chased from a school bus and beaten by a group of people. While the article does not provide many details of the incident, the article gives one the impression he was not assisted by the school bus driver or school administrators. Fortunately, somebody fired a shotgun to break up the attack.

In April, 11 year old Carl Walker-Hoover hanged himself after suffering anti-gay bullying in school. Massachusetts law-makers are now considering a bill regarding bullying. According to an article on the Edge news system, the law being considered would prohibit bullying and harassment in schools based on sexual orientation. The article states a spokesman for the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network feels the bill needs to include gender identification.

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In the area of gay marriage rights, the United States is starting to fall behind a number of other countries in North and South America. As more and more countries pass laws approving same-sex unions or same-sex marriages, the United States’ position on same-gender marriages looks out of step with the rest of the developed world. Canada has legalized same-sex marriage. An Edge article states Mexico City enacted the regions first gay marriage law. According to the Edge article, the law will allow same-sex couples to adopt children. An official with Mexico City tourism feels Mexico City will benefit from tourism, because people will come to the area to get married and for a honeymoon.

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Using racist slurs is not socially acceptable. In many occupations, a person could get in a lot of hot water for using a racist slur. In fact, using racist slurs could cost a person a job. Gay slurs appear to be one of the last socially acceptable insults people can get away with making in public. Fortunately, that is starting to change.

An article on the Advocate news system states over 10 thousand National Football League fans have signed an online petition asking that Kansas City Chiefs Larry Johnson be deactivated for using anti-gay slurs on Twitter and in the locker room. The Advocate article states Johnson was fined over $300 thousand dollars for using anti-gay slurs against somebody on Twitter and against journalists.

The cartoon television show South Park is noted for its edgy humor and course language. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is expressing concern regarding the use of the word fag in some South Park episodes. The Edge carries an article about GLAAD and South Park.

The lyrics in music have been a long-standing problem. Some composers have written songs that some people might consider to be inciting hatred and violence against gay people. For example, Jamaican musician Buju Banton is reported to have homophobic lyrics. An Edge article states that in a song titled “Boom Bye Bye” calls for Jamaicans to shoot gay people and burn them. Edge reports that he was charged with gay bashing in 2004, but was released when the fearful victims declined to testify.

Fortunately, protests against hate-filled lyrics had mixed results. Some leading musicians signed a Reggae Compassion Act that calls for respecting the rights of people of all religions, sexual orientations, races, ethnic backgrounds, and genders to live without violence. The spirit of the Reggae Compassion Act was not always well respected.

An Edge article gives examples of homophobic lyrics, and shows some connections between the music and expressions of homophobia in Jamaica. This article is a “must read” for those concerned about the impact of homophobic lyrics in popular music.

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Internationally, there is a mixture of good and bad news for queer people. The safety and rights of sexual minorities are threatened in many areas of the world. In some cases, the state is one of the more powerful enemies of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified people.

The Examiner web site carries an article about Iraq. According to the article, 720 gay men and women have been killed in Iraq in the last six years. The article claims the Iraqi government has not been adequately investigating the murders of GLBT victims. After the United States invaded Iraq, there was an increase in the influence of fundamentalist religious groups. Kevin Lynch, the author of the article, feels the United States has not done much to help ensure the safety of sexual minorities in Iraq.

Last month, we brought news about proposed Ugandan legislation. According to news reports, Uganda was planning on making laws against homosexuals and homosexuality much tougher. The proposed law would make it a sentence punishable by prison time for not reporting a person who is a homosexual. An article on the Advocate web site states 40 people protested against the legislation at Uganda’s New York United Nations mission.

Those wishing to email their concerns to officials in Uganda, are encouraged to do that. Residents of the United States can send an email letter by filling in their name, address, and email address on the Gay Rights Change web site. People wanting to either mail or email the Prime Minister of Uganda, Professor Nsibambi Apolo Robin, to express concerns are encouraged to do that. His email address is ansibambi@parliament.go.ug. The mailing address is P.O. Box 341, Kampala, Uganda. We encourage people to be polite when writing the Prime Minister. An insulting letter or email could do more harm than good.

There are two international items that provide hope. The Church of Sweden, a denomination in the Lutheran faith tradition, consecrated its first openly lesbian bishop. An Associated Press article provides details about Eva Brunne’s consecration. An Edge article tells us that Austria legalized same-sex civil unions. According to the Edge article, same-sex unions in Austria will not give gay couples the same rights and benefits as straight couples. We are glad to see some international progress regarding same-sex marriage rights.

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An article on the Advocate web site indicates conservative activities are pressuring Republican senators to support an amendment that would prohibit the use of any federal funding for the purpose of sex-assignment surgeries in a public health insurance plan. Sex-assignment surgeries are very important for trans-identified people. Sex-assignment surgeries are not cosmetic surgery. They make a real difference for trans-identified individuals.

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Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, a 19 year old gay man, was murdered. His decapitated, dismembered, and burned body was found in Puerto Rico. When we first learned of his murder, the sources of news were blog posts, which appear to have been left by friends and loved-ones. As news of his brutal murder spread, the story started to be picked up by larger media outlets. We believe the authorities will consider this to be a hate crime. Because Puerto Rico is an American territory, recently passed Federal hate crimes legislation could be used in this case.

His murder seems to have captured public attention in a way we have not seen since Matthew Shepard’s murder. Many major United States cities had memorial services for Jorge Mercado. Stop Hate 2000 has a small memorial page for Jorge Mercado. Additional information about Jorge, his murder, and his funeral can be found on the memorial page.

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A stereotype that has long hurt the queer community is that gay men are pedophiles. The Catholic Church in America was rocked by reports of sexual misconduct by priests. We are of the impression the Vatican decided to try to exclude gay candidates for the priesthood. The Edge has an Associated Press article that provides information about a study commissioned by the American Catholic Bishops. The article says a preliminary report notes they found no evidence that gay priests were more likely than straight priests to molest children.

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Ryan Skipper, a young gay Florida man, was murdered. The second man charged in connection with Ryan’s murder was convicted and sentenced to serve two consecutive life sentences. A video news article about the sentencing and Ryan’s murder can be found on the Equality Florida Blog.

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Popular gay You Tuber, Rob Much, posts some videos with gay news from around the world. Because Rob Much lives in Australia, he picks up on news that we might not see in the headlines in North America. One of his latest videos has some personal news and provides us with news about the state of civil unions and same-sex marriages in Australia, Tansmania, New York, and Transgender Day of Remembrance.

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We will conclude this newsletter with a very positive story. Gay and straight youth are making a difference. There are young activists who are anxious to make the world a better place.

One of the more inspiring stories of the year is about Will Phillips. Will is a 10 year old Arkansas student. He gained a lot of international attention and respect when he declined to say the pledge of allegiance as long as the United States refuses to provide legal equality to its gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified citizens. An article about this courageous young man can be found on the Edge web network.


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




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