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Gay Rights, What Are We Fighting For/Against

December 22, 2008 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay

Unfriendly, anti-gay, heterosexuals have attacked the marriage issue and the LGBT community has stood its ground, highlighting historical evidence, state law, U.S. law and regulations.  The community has even had to defend itself against the Bible, just like many other minorities over the years including African Americans and Jewish people.  But what is this talk of civil marriage equality really about?  Surprisingly, it’s not about marriage at all, it’s about freeing a people from the fetters of bigots, extremists and homophobic people in society.  It’s about no longer being afraid and about being allowed to live and pursue the American dreams of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Although not providing civil marriage equality to same-gender couples is unconstitutional, an argument which should be strong enough standing on its own, the issue is much more personal for LGBT people.  We have watched as our friends and family have been brutally and unforgivingly beaten, raped, attacked and/or murdered by the homophobic right wing; such attacks often being declared to be because of “God”.  It is an underlying issue for LGBT people, to believe that governmental equality under the law may help to end the social injustices we are faced with every day.

So that we may never forget what it is we have lived through and what it is we are fighting against, let’s take a walk down memory lane:

  • Nazi Germany:  The “fathers” of the pink trianlge ,placed this badge upon homosexuals in concentration camps in order to identify them as such.  Homosexuals, like other groups of persons, were murdered under the Nazi reign.
  • Giovanni di Giovanni, a Florentine boy, was castrated and burned on his anus with a red-hot iron by court order for homosexuality.
  • Knight von Hohenberg and his lover in 1482 were burned at the stake for being homosexuals.
  • Jacques Chausson (1661) was burned alive for allegedly attempting to seduce the son of a nobleman.
  • The Shia death squads in present day Iraq have increased their extrajudical killings of LGBT people.  “In 2005, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa on his website calling for the execution of gays in the ‘worst, most severe way’.”
  • Robert Hillsborough in 1977 – murdered by a man shouting “faggot.”
  • Harvey Milk – assassinated by Dan White in 1978.
  • Tennessee Williams – assaulted by five teenage boys who were inspired by an anti-gay ad ran by a Baptist minister.
  • Terry Knudsen, murdered in 1979 in Minnesota.
  • Rick Hunter and John Hanson who were beaten in 1982 by police calling them queers and sissies.
  • Declan Flynn murdered in Fairview Park, Dublin in 1983 – his attackers received a suspended sentence.
  • Charlie Howard, murdered 1984.
  • Rebecca Wight – murdered by Stephen Roy Carr who claimed he was enraged by her lesbianism.
  • James Zappalorit (1990) – stabbed to death.
  • Julio Rivera (1990) – beaten with a hammer and stabbed to death with a knife.
  • Paul Broussard (1991), murdered.
  • Brandon Teena – raped and murdered in 1993.
  • Scott Amedure (1995) – murdered after revealing his homosexuality on a Jenny Jones’ show.
  • Roxanne Ellis and Micelle Abdill in 1995 by a man who stated he thought their lifestyle was “sick”.
  • Eric Robert Rudolph bombed the lesbian nightclub, Otherside Lounge, injuring five patrons in 1997.
  • Matthew Shepards beating and death from exposure after being left tied to a fence in 1998.
  • The bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub which wounded 723 and killed at least 2 people.
  • The murder of Pfc Barry Winchell due to his relationship with Calpernia Addams, a transgendered woman in 1999.
  • The 1999 murders of Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder by Matthew and Tyler Williams, White Supremists who claimed they were “obeying the law of God.”
  • The murder of Steen Fenrich by his stepfather in 2001 – his skull had “gay nigger number one” scrawled into it along with his social security number.
  • Arther “J.R.” Warren in 2000 by a group of teenagers who believed that Warren was spreading rumors about his sexual relations with one of the boys.
  • The shooting of 7 people in Roanoke, Virginia in 2000 (killing one) because a Ronald Gay was upset over what his surname “meant” and was told by God to find and kill lesbians and gay men.  He described himself as a “Christian Soldier” working for his Lord.
  • Aaron Webster was beaten to death in 2001 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Fred Martinez, a transgendered student was attacked and beaten to death in 2001.
  • Hundreds of soccer fans attacked participants of a Pride Parade in Belgrade in 2001.
  • In 2002, Nizah Morris was murdered in Philidelphia, the case was dreadfully mishandled.
  • Bartrand Delanoe, Mayor of Paris France, was non-fatally stabbed in 2002.
  • Gwen Araujo (17 years old) was murdered in 2002.
  • Sakia Gunn was a 15 year old African American lesbian who was murdered in New Jersey.
  • Richie Phillips was lured to his death because he was gay in 2003.
  • Nireah Johnson and Brandie Coleman were murdered in 2003 because Johnson was transgendered.
  • Glenn Kopitske was killed after a homosexual encounter with Gary Hirte in 2003.  Hirte believed that the homosexual act was “worse than murder.”
  • Brian Williamson, a Jamaican Gay rights activist was murdered with a machete in 2004.
  • FannyAnn Eddy, a gay and lesbian activist was murdered in 2004.
  • Daniel Fetty was murdered in 2004 by two men in Waverly, Ohio who beat him to death with bricks and boards.
  • Ronnie Paris, a THREE YEAR OLD boy, was murdered by his father because his father was concerned that Ronnie was gay and would grow up to be a sissy.
  • Jason Gage was bludgeoned to death with a bottle and stabbed in the neck with a shard of glass.
  • In 2005, Yishai Shlisel stabbed three marchers in a gay pride parade in Israel claiming he acted on behalf of God.
  • Jody Dobrowski was murdered in London in 2005.
  • In 2005, Lauren Harries, her father and brother were attacked in their home because Lauren was transgendered.
  • In 2005, a Jamaican mob chased a man they believed to be gay.  The man jumped into the water to escape the mob and drowned.
  • Gisberta Salce Jumior, was tortured and anally raped with sticks over a period of three days, then thrown into a pit and left to die by a group of 12-14 boys aging between 12 and 16.
  • In 2006, Jacob D. Robida entered a bar, and upon confirming it was a gay bar attacked the patrons with a hatchet and gun, wounding three.
  • Students in Jamaica rioted in 2006 and attacked an “allegedly” gay student.
  • Richard Jefferson and Ryan Smith, CBS Evening News producer and researcher were beaten by a group of four men and two women with tire irons in 2006.
  • Kevin Aviance was robbed and beaten by a group of men yelling anti-gay slurs at him.
  • Six men were brutally beaten by a group of other men (one of which was a 15 year old boy) after leaving a San Diego Pride event in 2006.
  • Michael Sandy was attacked and while trying to escape, was hit by a car in 2006 by a group of youths who were luring gay men via the internet.
  • Gareth Williams, a gay rights activist and three gay men were stoned in Kingston, Jamaica in 2007.
  • In 2007, 100 men gathered outside of a funeral in Jamaica and proclaimed “We want no battyman [gay] funeral here. Leave or else we’re going to kill you. We don’t want no battyman buried here in Mandeville.”
  • Roberto Duncanson was murdered in New York by a man claiming that it was because Duncanson had flirted with him.
  • Sean Wiliam Kennedy, age 20, was murdered in 2007 by Andre Moller (18) because Moller didn’t like his “sexual preference”.
  • Micahel Marcil was attacked and beaten by Andrew Lefebcre and Sheri-Lee Rand in Ontario in 2007.
  • Also in 2007, 30 participants at a gay pride event were attacked by multiple assailants.  They were stopped by the police before they had the opportunity to use the Molotov cocktails they had prepared for the occassion.
  • In September of 2007, Osvan Inacio dos Santos, age 19, was attacked and murdered.
  • Craig Gee was attacked in 2007.  His skull was reduced to powderand his leg was broken during the attack.
  • In 2008, three gay men were attacked in their dwelling by an angry mob who had been threatening them to leave the community.  One of the three is still missing and feared dead while the other two survivied after hospitalization.
  • In 2008, Alexandre Peixe dos Santos was attacked and beaten in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Approximately 2,680 gay people were murered betwen 1980 and 2006 in Brazil just for being gay).
  • Duanna Johnson was beaten by a police officer in Memphis, TN.  The police were reportedly calling Duanna (a transgendered woman) a “faggot” and “he-she”.  Shortly after threatening a lawsuit against the police department, Duanna was shot by three “unknown assailants”.
  • 2008, Lawrence “Larry” King, a 15 year old junior was shot by a classmate and ultimately died from the wounds.
  • Lance Neve was beaten unconscious becase he was “gay”.  His skull was fractured and the attack also left him with a broken nose. (Rochester, New York, 2008.
  • Steven Parris was murdered by Steven Hollis and Juan L. Flythe after they found “gay messages” on Parish’s cell phone.
  • September 2008, Tony Randolph Hunter and his partner were attacked near Washington, DC.  Hunter later died from his injuruies.
  • In November, 2008, arsonists burned the home of openly gay Melvin Whistlehunt.  Investigators found anti-gay messages spray painted on the back of the house.
  • Lateisha Green (“Teish” Cannon) was murdered in November 2008 for being a transgendered person.

The above list is not definative (or all inclusive) of crimes against homosexuals.  It was taken in large part from information available from wikipedia.org.  Every time someone is beaten or murdered for their sexual orientation/identity, part of our humanity dies.  To our heterosexual friends who remain indifferent to our plight, I call out to you and ask that you stand up and be counted as our friends, neighbors and fellow country men.  We must stop this injustice.  We all have the right to feel safe.