Stop Hate 2000 May 27, 2008

Straight allies are a great and often unacknowledged gift to the queer community . . . I feel safer and less isolated when I consider that there are straight teachers, religious leaders, politicians, family members, and neighbors out there who are willing to put themselves on the line because of my inalienable right to dignity and self respect.” Attributed to L. Markowitz.
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Stop Hate 2000 focuses on hate crimes, racism, discrimination, bullying, and homophobia. Our focus has not changed. We are stopping for a moment to pay respect to those who lost their lives in the Burma (Myanmar) cyclone and the China earthquake. Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones and suffered property loss. Some people who subscribe to our Newsletter may have been planning on donating to relief efforts in Burma or China. For people who were wanting to support relief work, but have not had time to do that, we are providing links to the American Red Cross, Australian Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, New Zealand Red Cross, and United Kingdom Red Cross. We do not encourage people to donate, if that would pose a financial hardship.

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In May, the state of Israel celebrated its 60th anniversary as a modern nation state. At first glance, Israel’s anniversary has nothing to do with hate. When we reflect on the history of the Jewish people, we better understand the relationship between hate and the state of Israel. World War II helped the international community understand of the intense level of hatred against Jewish people, a hatred that claimed millions of Jewish lives. The current state of Israel is due partly to a recognition that Jewish people needed to be protected against extreme levels of hatred.

Against profound odds, the state of Israel survived numerous wars. Members of many other minority groups have persevered against overwhelming odds and have succeeded in the face of prejudice, discrimination, and hatred.

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There are times when discrimination gives birth to activism. That was the case in the founding of the group Fight Out Loud. A founder of Fight Out Loud, Waymon Hudson, and his partner were in an airport. They heard a comment coming across the public address system stating to the effect that men who have sex with men “should be put to death.” When the airport management did not respond appropriately, the county commissioner, a local news outlet, and a few internet web sites were informed of what took place. The man who made the announcement was eventually fired, but no charges were laid for what some people might feel was a death threat. According to the Fight Out Loud web site, the publicity resulted in attacks by conservatives, radio shows, and internet blogs. The couple’s car even suffered vandalism.

People interested in following what Fight Out Loud is doing are welcome to review the organization’s web site. A blog site by Waymond Hudson is His You Tube site has videos related to queer rights.

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We have good and bad news to report on the gay rights scene. There is good news in the United States regarding gay rights, and some very disturbing news on the international scene.

The Gay.Com web site informs us that the California Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples can get married in California. At Stop Hate, we are concerned there could be violence against gay people, as community attention is focused on the gay community, and as powerful anti-gay marriage forces rally against the court’s decision.

There is breaking news regarding the United States military policy “don’t ask, don’t tell.” According to an Advocate News article on the Gay.Com web site, a legal case was heard by three judges from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. The court case was heard, because a decorated nurse in the United States Air Force sued the Air Force over her dismissal. This article indicates the judges ruled that Major Margaret Witts be reinstated, and that the Air Force needs to prove her dismissal promoted “troop readiness” or “unit cohesion.” An attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union is cited as saying the military now needs prove having a specific person in the unit “hurts morale, and the only way to improve morale is to discharge this person.” Evidently, being gay alone is not adequate reason for a person to be terminated.

Should the military have to prove that each gay person in the military they wish to terminate impedes on the functions of the military, the military will need to spend a significant amount of time and money to thoroughly document every case. At Stop Hate, we do not give legal opinions, but we suspect the more difficult it is to terminate a person for being gay, the less likely the military is to pursue termination of every person they can prove is gay who is serving in the armed forces.

An Advocate article on the Gay.Com system reports President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia said gay men and lesbians need to leave the country or face death. This is a very serious move. Gays and lesbians in Gambia might find it difficult to safely get out of the country. Obtaining asylum is a difficult process, as can be seen in an Advocate news article. A gay Iranian teenager tried to obtain asylum in the United Kingdom, and in the Netherlands, and then again in the United Kingdom, before his request was granted. Countries who will accept gay refugees might not be able to absorb a large number of gay refugees. The president’s comments convey a sense of ethnic and tribal cleansing, with the victims being gay people.

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In the 1960s and 1970s, protest marches made a difference in civil rights. We are now in a cyber culture. The internet is a forum for promoting change. There are many openly gay and bisexual You Tubers. Those You Tubers are helping put a face on gay people, and are helping to reduce stereotypes and are helping create a sense of community for more isolated members of sexual minority groups. A
You Tube video discusses the benefits of gay You Tubers.

One person who is making an impact through the internet is Tyler Oakley. In late April, Tyler Oakley, a dynamic college student and popular You Tuber, created a video about hate language. Tyler’s video talks about many forms of hate, but focuses on hate speech aimed at gay people. In the video, Oakley challenges his viewers to create You Tube responses about hate language. His video “Speak Out Against Hate Speech” has watched over 95,000 times. Over 1,800 comments have been made about his video. To date, 79 people have posted video replies to Tyler Oakley’s video. Tyler Oakley’s efforts to reduce intolerant speech, and his bravery to withstand very homophobic comments is appreciated.

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The stories of those who face prejudice, discrimination, and hatred are powerful voices for change. Robert Bernstein describes a 1987 march with gays and lesbians in Washington. He was part of a group of parents of gays and lesbians. He reports parent group numbered around 150 out of about 600 thousand protesters. As the parents marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, they were greeted with a “roar” of applause. He reports, “Dozens of young men and women rushed out sobbing to hug us and thank us for, in effect, serving as stand-ins for their own, less accepting parents.” In the Opinion section of the Washington Blade, Robert Berstein’s reflects on the 1987 march and the current situation for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. His reflection is titled “Cruelty in the Name of God and Bible.”

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The Gay Calgary and Edmonton magazine is a source of news about the Canadian gay community. In an editorial titled “When the Past Returns to Bite Us in the Butt” Stephen Lock discusses hate crimes and anti-gay slurs. Lock mentions in February of this year Statistics Canada released a study that discusses the 2004 crime statistics. According to the editorial, in 2004 gay, lesbian, and bisexual Canadians experienced higher rates of robbery, violence, sexual assault, and physical assault than straight Canadians.

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A few other people who shared from personal experiences are listed below:

•Some gay people are concerned about the policy that gay men cannot donate blood. Samostorm is a gay teenager. He explains how he feels about not being able to donate blood in a You Tube video. Given the fact that most people who have HIV infection or AIDS are straight, the policy to refuse to accept blood donations with men who have had sex with men seems discriminatory.

•In a You Tube video titled “I’m More than Gay” Kyle Douglas expresses frustration that people only seem to think of him as his sexual orientation.

•In an emotional You Tube video, a United Kingdom young adult shares his experiences of bullying in school. He says bullying started his first year of school and continued until the year he completed school. He experienced twelve years of school bullying.

•A News 10 story on You Tube tells of a Davis, California teenager who has been subjected to anti-gay bullying, because his father is gay. According to the News 10 story, the family is seeking damages for suffering the student experienced. A video titled “Anti-Gay Harassment in Davis” features the student’s father talking about the alleged anti-gay harassment. This video is also on You Tube. The video makes reference to arson to the family’s car, the family’s house being egged, and trees in the family’s yard being toilet papered.

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A few stories we’ve been following appear below:

•A May 2008 story, on the The Times-Picayune web site, “Students Share Their Ideas for Dealing with Bigotry” says high school students from a number of high schools discussed bias, cyber bullying, and how to promote change. The “Unity Through Understanding Day” was sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League.

•The United States Anti-Defamation League reports that a person was arrested in the desecration of about 60 graves in Chicago’s Jewish cemetery.

•May 17 was the International Day Against Homophobia. The International Day Against Homophobia web site is a valuable source of resources and teaching resources related to sexuality and homophobia.

•The Day of Silence was promoted by radio and TV personality Larry King. This year’s Day of Silence was in memory of Lawrence King, a teenaged gay student who was killed in school. Larry King’s promotional video can be seen on You Tube. The Day of Silence Commercial is another You Tube video promoting the Day of Silence.

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Some of the You Tube videos we were forwarded about hate appear below:

Gay Rights: End the Hate. This video has photos of people who were gay bashed.

Ian, a video about a trans-identified youth, Ian Guarr, who took his life. The video features a song that was written in memory of Ian. Suicide is a serious problem for all sexual minorities.

We want to thank the many people who sent us videos related to hate. We link to videos people create about hate, because those videos help people put a face on discrimination and hatred. Sharing the stories can touch hearts and lives.

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

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