Stop Hate 2000 February/March Newsletter March 5, 2008

If the Church, after the victory over apartheid, is looking for a worthy moral crusade, then this is it; the fight against homophobia and heterosexism.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu cited in The No-Nonsense Guide to Sexual Diversity, by Vanessa Baird. Available from
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Ryan Skipper was murdered for being gay. A video titled “Accessory to Murder: Our Culture’s Complicity in the Death of Ryan Skipper” is available on DVD. A short preview of the video can be found on You Tube.

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February marks Black History Month in the United States and Canada. The United Kingdom celebrates Black History Month in October. During the month of February, we are encouraged to learn about the history of black people in the United States and Canada. Black History Month is also a time to celebrate the accomplishments of black Americans and Canadians, and to appreciate the contributions black people made to our countries. The Black History Canada web site contains a descriptive guide to internet resources about the history of Canada’s black community. Some historical resources for American blacks can be found on the History.Com web site.

Black History Month is important for our black communities and for the larger society. For non-black Americans and Canadians, Black History Month is a time to learn and to understand. The month is a time for black communities to celebrate their presence, and to feel the affirmation of society for their important role and important place in our countries.

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In news that shocked many around the United States, Lawrence King, a 15 year old Grade 8 student, was murdered for being gay. He was killed in school. A simple memorial page for Lawrence can be found on the Stop Hate web site. The memorial page contains links to news stories about Lawrence and to some reflections about his life. Several videos about Lawrence King can be found on the You Tube system. “Remembering Lawrence King” is a You Tube memorial video. “Candles for Larry King” is a You Tube video of a candle memorial for Lawrence King. The video includes a memory from a person who knew Lawrence. “Walk for Peace in Oxnard” has a short video clip of a March in Larry King’s memory.

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A 2006 article on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation web site discusses a study of gay and lesbian seniors. The article, “Gay, lesbian seniors face health-care hurdles, study says” states gay and lesbian senior citizens face marginalization and discrimination in the health care system. According to the CBC article, the partners, and children of gay and lesbian senior citizens have difficulty getting proper care for gay seniors.

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February 12 was National Freedom to Marry Day. According to Widipedia Encyclopedia, the National Freedom to Marry Day started in 1999. Freedom to Marry Day promotes the right for same-sex marriages in the United States. People interested in supporting same-sex marriages may wish to visit the Freedom to Marry web site. A correspondent in Colorado tells us Freedom to Marry Day has been celebrated for nine years in Fort Collins, Colorado. According to the Fort Collins Lambda Community Center web site, a rally was held in Old Town, and Dr. Denise Hall, intern pastor of the Foothills Unitarian Church, was a keynote speaker. A few photos from the Freedom to Marry Day event in Fort Collins, Colorado can be found on the Flickr web system.

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Name-calling and condemnations have driven deep divisions between queer people and churches. A lot of work needs to be done to build bridges of understanding and cooperation between faith communities and sexuality minority communities. In a very positive development, a group of Australian Christian pastors, calling themselves 100 Revs, apologized to the queer community for excluding gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified people from the church. The pastors do not represent their denominations in any official capacity. Included in the group are pastor from Baptist, Pentecostal, and Anglican faith traditions. An article about the apology can be found on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation web site. Information about the work of 100 Revs can be found on the 100 Revs blog site.

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While the internet is a good place where members of minority groups can lobby for human rights and improved safety, there is a downside to the internet. Community standards of appropriate language are not strict. Language can be crude, vulgar, blunt, racist, and homophobic. The internet has web sites that spread hate. In a You Tube video that has very strong language, Chris Crocker discusses the homophobia gay people on You Tube have experienced. He expresses concerns that the mainstream media has not picked up on the problem of internet-based homophobia.

In a related video, another popular gay You Tube personality, Michael Buckley, shares what it is like to be openly gay on You Tube.

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A few stories we’ve been following appear below:

•An Advocate News article on January 14 reported email an email from an Islamic web site was urging attacks on Paris’ gay mayor.

•A man in Texas is reported to have received a 99 year jail sentence for the serial sexual assaults of younger men. According to the Advocate News article, the man chose to rape men, because it would not be as hard on a man to be sexually assaulted.

•A Tucson woman was sentenced to over 10 years in prison for killing a gay cyclist in a car accident. An Advocate article reports that she said she told one person she should be acquitted, because she killed a ‘tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman, and a gay guy all in one shot.’

•A memorial to the gay victims of the Nazi holocaust is reported as being close to completion. More information about hte memorial can be found on the Advocate news system.

•The Advocate News system has a story about 14 year old Belinda Allen, who is believe to have committed suicide because of being taunted by other students.

•A gay Scotland council worker, James Kerr, was beaten to death by three youth. One of those youth, David Meehan, age 19, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his part in the hate crime. An article about the crime can be read at PlanetOut .

Internet videos on topics related to hate appear below:

•In a You Tube video “Safer Schools My Ass” a teenager talks about safe schools, hate, violence and discrimination in schools. The teenager asks us to look past the differences between people and to see that each of us are human. The advice is very good. When we see others as humans, and just as much humans as we are, we are better able to treat others with respect.

•Bisexual people are not well understood. Within the straight and gay community, bisexual people are not well understood or accepted. A bisexual college student created several You Tube videos on being bisexual. In his videos, he talks about being bisexual, and some of his frustrations with the gay community. Watching his videos may help you understand bisexuality and bisexual people. The video, “On Being Bisexual Episode 1 Followup” explains why the videos on bisexuality were posted. The other bisexuality videos are titled “On Being Bisexual Episode 1 Part 1”, and “On Being Bisexual Episode 1 Part 2”.

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

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