Stop Hate 2000 - December 2010 Newsletter

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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The year 2010 is drawing to a close. We would like to thank all of the people who share the dream of a more gentle, more equitable, more kind society, one that is free from hate crimes. Some of you have been supporting and encouraging us for over 10 years. We also want to thank our volunteers, including those who contribute to our newsletters. We hope you have a very pleasant and memorable 2011.

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This fall was an emotional roller-coaster for the queer community. September and October carried the news of a number of suicides due to bullying. A bill to end the United States policy of not allowing gay men and lesbians to openly serve in the military, Don't Ask Don't Tell, was defeated. In December, both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a different bill to end Don't Ask Don't Tell. President Obama signed the bill repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell into law. Now it is up to the armed forces to implement polices that ensure gay, lesbian and bisexual troops can serve with safety and equality.

Ending Don't Ask Don't Tell took far too long. Gays, lesbians and bisexuals are among America's heros. They served bravely and with distinction since the United States was founded. The list of sexual minority heros seems to get longer each day. In a Sacramento Bee commentary, “A Marine who Happened to be Gay Saved a President,” Dan Morain explains how a gay Vietnam veteran, Billy Sipple might have saved President Gerald Ford's life. We gather Billy Sipple lunged at Sara Jane Moore, when he saw her pull a pistol on Gerald Ford. Evidently, when Billy Sipple died, he had the thank you letter he received from President Gerald Ford. Those who opposed to members of sexual minority groups serving in the armed forces weakened the United States military for many years, because many highly qualified, brave people were discharged from the military for being gay or lesbian.

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At best, coming out can be a frightening experience. Conservative United Kingdom Member of Parliament and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans is reported to have come out as a gay man after an ex-Labour Member of Parliament threatened to out Evans. An article on the news story can be read on PinkNews. Nigel Evans' coming out has been criticized by Ann Widdecombe, a former Conservative Member of Parliament, who appears to maintain that the personal lives of Members of Parliament should be private. An article about Ann Widdecombe's thoughts can be found on PinkNews.

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Westboro Baptist Church gained fame by picketing the funerals of gay people. The congregation, headed by Fred Phelps, gained most of its infamy when it picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in a hate crime. More recently, Westboro Baptist Church has been protesting at the funerals of American servicemen. It is less widely known that Westboro Baptist Church appears to be anti-Semitic. The Anti- Defamation League reports that during 2009, Westboro Baptist Church protested at Jewish institutions, including synagogues, community centers, and Israeli consulates. An article on the Anti-Defamation League's website shows signs that read “God Hates Israel,” “God Hates Jews” and “The Jews Killed Jesus.”

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The Seventh-day Adventist Church opposes same-sex relationships. The North American Religious Liberty Association, which is associated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, recently featured a blog by Alan Reinach. While Alan Reinach does not support same-sex marriage, he can be applauded for his efforts to ensure his position does not incite either fear or hatred. In his blog, Reinach notes, “Same-sex marriage is not the cause of the erosion of marriage . . . Same-sex couples who desire . . . marriage are not the boogeymen. They are are coworkers, neighbors, friends and family members. They are us.”

A critical point for people to remember when discussing human rights is that human rights is not “us versus them.” The best way to protect our rights and interests is to help ensure the rights and interests of minority groups are also protected. Visible minorities, Muslims, Jews, gays and lesbians are our peers, colleagues, neighbors, friends and they are humans, who should be treated the same way we like to be treated.

The Christmas season celebrates love and hope incarnate in the form of humanity. Hanukkah celebrates a miracle that gave light. You can be a human miracle that provides light, by being a source of love and hope during the frenzied pace of the holiday season. By reducing the stress of the holiday season, we might be helping to reduce the frustration that can spark crime of rage.

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An October article on the Winnipeg Sun website is about the murder of Kelvin Osborne. The article provides some of the grizzly details of Kelvin's murder. In March of 2008, Kelvin Osborned was stabbed and beaten with a hammer, possibly, according to the murderer's testimony as many as 100 times. Morris McConnell, who pleaded guilty to the murder, was sentenced to life in prison. According to the article, Morris McConnell's murderous act was described by the Crown prosecutor as being due to “self-loathing” and was not a hate crime.

This contributor disagrees with the Crown's position. When self-hate causes an individual to murder a person who has the same identity as the killer, it is a hate crime. A few examples, might help clarify this position. A Black man who deeply hates being Black and chooses to kill a Black man only because the man is Black has chosen a victim based on the victim's race and murdered the victim out of hatred of Blacks. Should a Jewish woman, who hates being Jewish, kill another woman, because the woman is Jewish, the murder is due to anti-Semitism. Internalized self-hate and self-loathing is a problem within the queer community. Gay, lesbian and bisexual children are often raised in an environment where they learn they are terrible, evil people, who are considered to be an abomination. Queer children may experience years of bullying and discrimination, based on perceived sexual orientation. As a result of systemic societal oppression, members of sexual minorities may come to believe they are deeply evil and that they deserve to be treated as second-class citizens. This self-loathing can turn violent. There is a case of an American gay man who actively sought out gay men to kill, even though he was having sex with men. Because he targeted gay men, hunted them down and murdered them, he committed a hate crime. The crime was no less a hate crime than it would have been if it was committed by a heterosexual man. Until the police and criminal justice system come to understand the nature of self-loathing in the queer community, the number of hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-identified people will continue to be underreported.

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An underlying problem with prejudice and discrimination is lack of knowledge. In many cases, people base their opinions of individuals who are a different color, attend a different church, or have a different sexual orientation on what they commonly hear in the media or from other people. Unfortunately, opinions popularly expressed in the media or in society are not always correct. Based on incorrect and distorted information, people conclude those who are different are inferior and treat people who are different as inferiors.

A popular gay You Tuber, Mat, created a video with clips of interviews of straight young men and women. Comments made by the people he interviewed show a lot of ignorance exists, even among young adults, regarding sexual orientations. Mat's video has a title that some might find offensive, but the content is not offensive. You can watch the Fu*K H8 Interview Video on the ThatMatG You Tube Channel. Mat believes homophobic people do not critically think about homosexuality; they just follow what others say and believe.



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


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