Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter July 27, 2007

In honor of pride, most of this newsletter is dedicated to gay and trans-gender issues. During the summer many cities celebrate pride. Pride celebrates gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified people.

In the context of hate crimes, pride is more inclusive than pride celebrations for queer people. Pride includes affirming all the groups frequently targeted for discrimination, violence, and hate crimes. At pride, we can appreciate people of all minority groups - racial, ethnic, religious, gender, and sexual. Pride is a time when all minority groups can feel affirmed and can do things that affirm themselves. The message of pride is that members of all minority groups are valuable members of society and deserve a party!

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There are times when people try to make hate crimes against gay people seem insignificant. A June 19 Advocate magazine article reports on a study conducted by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. According to the article, 13 out of 100,000 gay men and lesbians reported being the victim of a hate crime. That compared with 8 in 100,000 for black Americans, and 12 in 100,000 for Jews, and 15 in 100,000 for Muslims. If the statistics presented are accurate, gay people are more commonly the victims of hate crimes than are black or Jewish people.

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We have a few items of interest to share from the June 19, 2007 Advocate magazine. Joe Kapp and Nick Burkholder explain the financial inequalities gay American couples face. These inequities include:

  • Taxing insurance and other benefits offered by companies to same-sex partners.
  • Same-gender couples do not receive a federal pension or Social Security survivors? benefits.
  • Gifts between straight partners are not taxed. Gay couples pay gift tax when the total gifts top $12,000 a year.
  • Unlike straight couples, gay couples do not have unlimited inheritance tax exemptions when a partner dies.
  • State inheritance taxes may need to be paid when a same-gender partner dies.

Kapp and Burkholder do not comment on financial reasons why American State and Federal Governments are reluctant to allow same-gender marriages. The United States Federal and State Governments can laugh every day as they deposit tax checks taken from their gay and bisexual citizens.

The tax inequalities between gay and straight Americans are ironic. The thirteen American colonies declared independence from England over unjust taxes. Over two hundred years later, the United States Federal and State Governments inflict discriminatory and oppressive taxes on their gay and bisexual citizens.

In the same issue of the Advocate magazine, there is a news report about the first subsidized housing complex for queer senior citizens. Recently, the first openly gay cantonical student was admitted to the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

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Bigots say things they later regret. There are times when even the most inclusive, caring, and sensitive people do things they regret, things that show racism, religious prejudices, homophobia, or transphobia. Apologizing can help reduce the pain felt by people we hurt.

The Superintendent of Schools in Newark, New Jersey apologized in writing, in public, and personally to a gay high school student for having the photo of a student kissing his boyfriend blacked out of the school year book. The Superintendent described what happened as "a homophobic moment." We appreciate the Superintendent's honesty and willingness to apologize. An article about the apology can be found on the web site.

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A 2007 Advocate article on the PlanetOut web site says over 150 thousand students in the United Kingdom were bullied because they are gay. The article also notes 2/3rds of gay and lesbian students report being victimized by homophobic bullying. Even worse than these statistics is the report that half of the teachers did not intervene when students used homophobic language.

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We received this reflection from a person who observed a pride parade.

A straight senior citizen, using a cane, starting walking with a group in the pride parade.  Unable to keep up with the group, the grandparent fell farther and farther behind.  With a look of determination, the straight senior citizen continued walking, alone.  In spite of pain and mobility limitations, the straight grandparent walked alone, so gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified people will not have to walk alone through life.

You are gay, but you are not alone.  You are lesbian, but you are not alone.  You are bisexual, but you are not alone.  You are trans, but you are not alone.  The next time your sexual orientation, gender identification, or gender expression leaves you feeling alone, remember, you are not alone.  The spirit of the courageous straight senior citizen is walking with you.  And as you look around, you may find the spirits of many more straight people walking with you.  There are friends in the straight community.

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The Anglican Church in Canada voted that blessing gay unions does not conflict with the church's most important, core doctrine. Evidently, the Canadian Anglican Church is not ready to bless same-sex unions. The church voted against letting priests bless gay unions. An article about the decision can be read on the Planet Out web site.

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An article on the Mike on Crime web site reports that swastikas and racist graffti was pained on a Quebec First Nation cultural center on Aboriginal Day.

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A Geneva, Switzerland synagogue was "gutted" by arson. A story about the fire can be read on the CNN web site.

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You Tube videos has numerous videos about homophobia. We extend our thanks to all of the video producers who are making a difference with their short video productions. A few of the videos we discovered are as follows:

  • Stamp out Homophobia in Schools - over 7 minutes long.
  • Anybody with news about hate crimes or discrimination is welcome to email us.

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