Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter September 26, 2007

Quote of the month: "I wouldn't be LGBT, if I had a choice, is internalized self-hate. It's like saying I wouldn't be a woman, or a man, or 'white,' or a person of color, if I had a choice. It's the desire to flee something we are."

-Robert Minor, Gay and Healthy in a Sick Society, available from Amazon.com.

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There is significant grass roots power. We often underestimate the power of the people. Frustration against years of dictatorial oppression has resulted in protests that toppled dictatorships. A case can be made that when the general population becomes sick of oppression, significant action is taken to end the oppression. Major protests that changed the world were often organized by a few people. And those few people made a difference.

Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan are two ladies who made a difference. They were ordinary ladies who wanted to end the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. They organized peace rallies that were attended by thousands of people, As a result of their heroic work, the ladies won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.

Recently, two courageous Grade 12 students Nova Scotia, Canada, David Shepherd and Travis Price sprang into action after a Grade 9 student was bullied. According to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation news report, a male Grade 9 student wore a pink shirt to school. He was verbally bullied, called a homosexual, and was threatened with being beaten up. The two Grade 12 students went to a store and bought some pink T-shirts and tank tops. They also emailed students to encourage students to wear pink. News reports say the next day hundreds of students came to school wearing pink. The story of what David Shepherd and Travis Price did really got around. Television talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres heard the story, and other schools are considering holding a "pink day."

An Advocate article provides are few details that are not given in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation article. According to the Advocate article, the student who was bulled was given a pink shirt too. "He was all smiles. It was like a big weight had been lifted from his shoulder."

We want to thank David Shepherd and Travis Price for making a difference. We are proud of what you did to help stop bullying in your school!

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Michael Sandy, a gay New Yorker is believed to have been murdered by several men. The PlanetOut web site has an interesting article about the court trial of one of the men. Evidently, one of the three men charged with the murder, Anthony Fortunato, claims he is gay and was planning on coming out. The three men who face charges for the murder also face hate-crimes charges. Anthony's claim that he is gay could result in him being able to get off the hate-crimes charge.

This could be a legally difficult case. Typically, we think of a hate crime as a crime committed to a person, because of the victim's race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. The case could cause people to think through a few important questions - Is there any less of a hate crime if the criminal shares the victim's minority status? Can hate crimes against a person be committed by a person of the same minority group?

Another PlanetOut news story indicates the judge in the case ruled that the men accused with killing Michael Sandy could face prosecution for a hate crime even without explicit evidence they were motivated by hate. This could be due to evidence that the men chose to commit a crime against a person because of that person's sexual orientation.

The court trials connected to Michael Sandy's murder are worth following.

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As near as we can tell the Matthew Shepard Act, which would provide protection for gay people from hate crimes still has not passed the Senate. According to the About.Com web site, the bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for review. At the end of August, the Human Rights Campaign web site was saying the bill might be up for consideration in September. The Matthew Shepard Act does not seem to be on the September schedule for the Judiciary Committee.

The Human Rights Campaign web site features a You Tube video about hate crimes. According to the video, one in six hate crimes are motivated by the victim?s sexual orientation. This is a video our readers may want to share with friends, acquaintances, and relatives. The video promotes the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. The web page that contains the video has a sample letter you can send your Senator to ask that the Matthew Shepard Act be passed. While the Matthew Shepard Act is waiting to go to the Judiciary Committee and when the Act is in Committee, people can make a difference by writing to urge their Senator and the President to support the Act. Contact information for Senators and the President can be found on the Stop Hate "How You Can Help" web page.

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A long-standing concern people have voiced about the gay community is that gay people have too much casual sex. Some people seem to feel that straight people are interested in long-term relationships, but gay people are not. The strong fight gay people in some countries have launched to obtain the right to marry helps support the position that gay people are also very interested in long-term relationships. An Advocate news article reports that Canadian gay men and lesbians are getting married at five times the rate seen in the straight community.

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A few stories we've been following appear below:

A review board investigation into Rochester, New York police actions upheld claims of police misconduct. An Advocate news article states there were allegations of misconduct by eight people who claim they were gay-bashed by a group of people and by some police officers. According to the story, the police arrested three of the victims and let the people responsible for the gay bashing go.

Formal college and university courses, minors, and majors in gay studies are becoming increasingly common. We are encouraged by the impact gay studies courses can make on the student body of a college. Gay studies may help reduce the amount of prejudice and discrimination sexual minority students face. An article about gay studies courses can be found on the PlanetOut web system.

According to a Religion News Service article found on the Adventist Review web site, an insurance company declined to insure a Michigan congregation United Church of Christ, because of the United Church of Christ?s position regarding gay people. According to the news article, the insurance company is concerned the denomination's positions on gay issues place congregations at higher risk of "litigation and property damage." We are concerned a congregation is reported to have been denied insurance coverage due to a doctrinal position. Synagogues in the United States are more likely to be targeted for vandalism than Christian churches. We would hope that insurance companies are not refusing to provide insurance to synagogues, because of a higher risk of property damage.

A teenager severely beat a transgendered woman after learning she was biologically a male. The 17 year old attacker was charged with aggravated battery in Florida. He was sentenced to a year of probation. An article about the sentencing can be found on the web site.

Gay Straight Alliances in schools can help foster a climate of increased understanding between gay, bisexual, and straight youth. An Advocate news article indicates a study found students in schools with gay-straight alliances are less likely to hear homophobic comments and slurs.

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Interesting You Tube videos on topics related to hate follow:

A young man posted a video on You Tube in which he comes out as a gay Christian. In his coming out video, Josh indicates he is sharing the video to help other gay Christians know they are not alone. In a second video Josh explains his feelings about the responses he received to his coming out video.

Matthew Lush created a video with advice on coming out. His video can be seen on the You Tube system.




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



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