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The Question After the Vigils: Who’s Next?

November 23, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Hate Crimes Vigil - San Antonio, TexasOver the past few days, vigils have been held for Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, 19, and Jason Mattison, Jr., 15, the most recent victims of bias crimes. Jorge’s His murderer claimed that when he picked Jorge up, he thought he was a woman; however upon discovering Jorge was biologically male, the man went into a rage. It was a rage so violent that the attacker was burned, decapitated, and dismembered Jorge. Cause of death? HATE.

Jason Mattison, Jr.’s death was no less graphic. After his body was found, it was discovered that he had been raped, gagged with a pillowcase, stabbed repeatedly in the head and throat before his murderer shoved his dead body back into the closet we all struggle so hard to be free of.

My local vigil occurred just days after the Transgender Day of Remembrance observance where we remembered the over 130 known trans and gender queer people murdered to date in 2009. As a stood with the small crowd, I let my eyes wonder over each persons face. The faces full of sorrow, rage, hurt and perhaps realization. A realization that they are among the lucky ones, the survivors. While some of those present had been attacked, they had survived, but it could have been any of us being immortalized by the candlelight. It even could have been me.

Perhaps that is why only a handful gathered in San Antonio for the vigil? Perhaps we aren’t ready to confront our own mortality and the possibility that it “could have been me?” Perhaps we are lossing the battle because of our fear? I can’t pretend to know the answer, but I do know this – I will never let them shove me back into a closet.

Music Plays when Gays are Murdered

November 25, 2008 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Sometimes, comments aren’t “stupid” in the realm of homophobia, but outright hateful and unfathomable.  What reaction should a gay man have to comments such as this one?

oh and by the way another couple of gays killed in my neighbourhood [sic] for being gay, that is music to my ears.  from a proud homophobic. —k.ltwills.r495@googlemail.com

Outrage? Fear? Anxiety? Hate?

Oddly, I read that comment and had this momentary inner peace.  My insides went silent.  I closed my eyes, laid my head back against my shoulders and breathed deeply.   I realized that because of the hate that I have dealt with in my life and because of the hate that those I know have dealt with, that I am ready to do anything it takes to stop that hate.  But how do you stop a freight train with tax shelters [the church] funding their every move?  Do we sit back and become martyrs or do we “bash back“?  Well, by posting the email address to my blog, I’m excited to know that numerous spam bot engines will sweep it up and start sending all those wonderful “enlarge your manhood” emails to k.ltwills.r495@googlemail.com.  That is my bashing back for the time being as I continue my internal debate about the philosophy of bashing back.

Statistically speaking, hate crimes dropped last year to 7,726 hate crimes overall; however, hatecrimes against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons increased by 5 1/2 %.  Due to the current political environment, that number is expected to rise markedly this year.

But what about hate crimes committed by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons against other classes of persons?  Bash Back is a group of persons devoted to the theory of “gays bash back”.  They have received a lot of criticism from all categories, including other gays and lesbians.  Most of their antics/protests have been demonstrative rather than truly violent.  I consider the group to be radical members of the gay community, a Malcolm X type of initiative.  For decades the gay community has had it’s share of “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s”, perhaps it is time for us to become “Malcolm X”.  But then we would be committing the very crimes we worked so hard to enter into the legislature.  We would be committing “hate crimes” and although the result may be that we achieve the ultimate goal of civil equality, we risk loosing our own dignity.