Posts Tagged ‘hate crimes’
NEW YORK (AP) – A new report says a rash of attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across the country suggests the number of reported assaults in 2008 has likely increased.
Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, says the number of reported attacks against LGBT people increased 24% in 2007 over 2006.
Stapel attributes the increase in part to more people reporting incidents, but she believes there actually could have been more assaults because 2008 was an election year.
The baseball bat beating of an Ecuadorean immigrant in New York on Sunday was the latest in a number of reported assaults. The attack left the 31-year-old man brain dead.
Hate crimes, ENDA seen as top legislative priorities
Activists hopeful that Democrats will push gay bills
By LOU CHIBBARO JR, Washington Blade | Dec 2, 3:33 PM
Officials with the Human Rights Campaign and National Gay & Lesbian Task Force are hopeful that Barack Obama’s administration and Democratic leaders in Congress will help orchestrate the passage next year of two gay rights bills that enjoy widespread support.
The Matthew Shepard Act, which would authorize federal authorities to prosecute anti-gay hate crimes, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, are considered high priorities among gay-supportive lawmakers, officials with the two groups said.
“For the first time ever, we will have a president who has been a co-sponsor of both of these bills,” said David Stacy, HRC’s senior public policy advocate.
President-elect Obama sponsored the two bills during his tenure as a U.S. senator from Illinois.
During his campaign for president, Obama expressed support for nearly all other gay rights legislation pending in Congress, including bills that would provide domestic partnership benefits to federal employees, repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Other pending bills would provide U.S. immigration rights to foreign nationals who are domestic partners of American citizens; provide a tax exemption for employee health insurance benefits for domestic partners, similar to the tax exemption on health benefits given to employees’ married spouses; and grant access to Medicaid coverage for people with HIV who don’t have AIDS.
“We are trying to assess the best legislative strategy for moving these bills,” Stacy said. “But the key people who will be overseeing this in the administration are not in place yet,” which has prevented gay advocacy groups from finalizing their plans.
Stacy and Rea Carey, the Task Force’s executive director, said they believe the consensus among nearly all gay rights advocacy groups is to insist that Congress move forward with a version of ENDA that includes protections for transgender persons.
Gay and transgender activists became divided in 2007 when Democrats in the House of Representatives, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), decided to vote on a version of the bill that excluded transgender protections. The two lawmakers said they determined that there weren’t enough votes to pass a trans-inclusive bill and that keeping trans protections in the bill would result in its defeat.
The House passed a gay-only version of the bill that year, but the Senate never took up the measure. Capitol Hill observers have speculated that Senate leaders did not believe a trans-inclusive bill could clear the Senate and agreed to requests by gay and transgender activists to put the measure on hold until 2009.
Frank told the Blade last month that a coalition of gay and transgender rights groups have made “good progress” in building support for a trans-inclusive ENDA in the year since the House passed the gay-only version of the bill, and he’s hopeful that enough support could be lined up to pass a trans-inclusive version of the bill next year.
Obama said during his run for the White House that he, too, supports a trans-inclusive version of the bill.
“It’s exciting that we will have a president who not only won’t threaten to veto the bill but who embraces it,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Carey said the Task Force also would closely monitor the Obama administration’s proposed economic policies and related legislative proposals to make sure gay families aren’t excluded.
“We obviously have legislation we’ve been interested in passing for some time,” she said. “But we are part of a bigger picture of the challenges that are facing people in this country.
“The pocketbooks of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are also hurting.”
Carey said activists specializing in gay-related economic and tax issues have found that the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage in federal law as the union of one man and one woman, has forced a number of federal agencies to deny tax-related benefits to same-sex couples that are automatically available to opposite-sex married spouses.
But some activists, including gays who worked on Obama’s presidential campaign, have suggested that it would be prudent to hold off on pushing for repeal of DOMA and overturning “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during Obama’s first year in office.
They point to how President Clinton’s decision to propose lifting the military’s ban on gay service members in the first months of his presidency in 1993 led to a groundswell of opposition in Congress and from within the military. Political observers say the blowup nearly crippled Clinton’s efforts to push other legislative measures through Congress that year and resulted in Congress forcing Clinton to agree to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“The way you move forward is to get members of Congress to pass the first one or two bills,” Stacy said. “Then the next tier of bills that are more challenging to move forward can be addressed.”
Stacy and Carey acknowledged that missing from the list of gay-related bills that have been introduced in past years are efforts to provide federal marriage-related rights and benefits to same-sex couples joined by civil unions or domestic partnerships.
In explaining his opposition to same-sex marriage on religious grounds, Obama said during his presidential campaign that he supports providing same-sex couples with all of the rights and benefits that come with marriage. But he did not specify when or how he would achieve this as president.
Legal experts have said a federal-enabling law that recognizes civil unions or domestic partnerships performed by states would be necessary before the couples could receive the more than 1,000 federal rights and benefits that come with marriage.
Experts have also said that repealing DOMA would allow same-sex couples that marry in Massachusetts and Connecticut — the only two states that allow gay marriage — to receive federal rights and benefits of marriage.
But a DOMA repeal would not result in these rights and benefits automatically going to people in civil unions or domestic partnerships because the rights and benefits are restricted to those who are joined by federally recognized marriages, legal experts have said.
“The challenge of same-sex couple recognition is the complexity in its drafting,” Stacy said.
He and Carey said their respective groups would consider looking into an enabling law to provide full rights and benefits to same-sex couples who can’t marry, but they had no immediate plans for doing this.
An GLBT person was murdered at the rate of 1 every 8 days in the beginning of 2008. And, these are the crimes that we know about. 70% of Hate Crimes are never reported. Some of the victims have been as young as 15 (Lawrence King), and the murders span from coast to coast.
Enough is enough.
THIS MUST END NOW.
Support the Hate Crimes Bill: www.hatecrimesbill.org.
As I continue to compile the list of names of GLBT persons for our sister web-site, The PATH Project (thepathproject.wordpress.com), I ran across this article.
Sadness On Our Streets
Hundreds attended a vigil for Simmie Williams, Jr. two weeks ago. Simmie was the 17-year old shot to death on Sistrunk Boulevard on February 22nd. The next day, February 23rd, Melbourne Brunner was viciously attacked outside a popular Las Olas restaurant. Brunner said he was beaten by a stranger who walked by his table and targeted him for no other reason than he was gay.
Have South Florida’s former gay-friendly streets become too gay-unfriendly for the gay community? Should we just stay in our homes?
On January 3rd, Alexio Bello’s housekeeper found him stabbed to death inside his Miami apartment which had been ransacked. This was the first murder in Miami for the year 2008. Do our own homes no longer provide a safe haven?
“Things have consistently been this way,” said Scott Hall of the Gay American Heroes Foundation, an organization with a traveling memorial to those who have been killed in anti-gay hate crimes, “but since it’s currently in our backyard, we are more focused on it. There are about 20 formal gay hate-related murders in the country a year. There are actually more, but, because of differing laws in the country, not every one is classified a hate crime.”
Simmie’s vigil took place on Sistrunk Boulevard near a chain link fence where he was found dead. A memorial of candles, stuffed animals and a rainbow flag marked the area. Simmie’s mother, Denise King held a photo of Simmie and wept as community activists were speaking.
“I’m still in shock,” Denise King told me, “it’s like a bad dream. The community needs to pull together to stop the hate. They need to take it to Tallahassee or the Supreme Court. I lost my son because of all this stuff.”
After the vigil, over 100 participants gathered at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida and discussed the recent violent attacks on the gay community. The gathering also donated money to help pay Simmie’s funeral expenses. Additional money was donated to Crime Stoppers for a reward leading to the arrest of the murderer(s).
According to Gay American Heroes, anti-gay hate crimes are up nationwide and 2008 is off to a deadly start which averaged one every ten days during the first six weeks of 2008, the most recent being young Simmie’s.
Lawrence King, an openly gay, 15-year-old student in Oxnard, California, was shot in the head by a 14 year-old classmate on February 12 while sitting in class at his junior high school. King was proclaimed brain dead ten hours later in hospital and was kept on ventilators for organ donation. One classmate reported that, “King would sometimes go to school wearing make-up and high heels [and] King’s appearance was ‘freaking the guys out’.” The killer has been charged with a hate crime murder and may be tried as an adult.
Alexio Bello, a 68-year-old, gay man, was found stabbed to death at his home Miami, Florida in January. A young, homeless man, who Bello had taken into his home, was identified as a “person of interest” by police. The case is pending.
Police continue to investigate the murder of a transgender woman in Detroit, Michigan earlier this month. Police have not released the name of the victim. The National Center for Transgender Equality has accused police of mishandling the murder investigation, citing that “police do not usually identify murder victims by the clothes they wear.” The case is pending.
Patrick Murphy was shot three times in the head in Albuquerque, New Mexico in January. Murphy was a well known drag performer in the community. Last year, Murphy won title of Miss New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association. The case is pending.
But who’s to blame for this rise in hate crimes?
“I blame the man that shot my son. I blame any person who shoots anyone else in hate crimes and the parents to teach hate to their kids. I accepted my son for who he wanted to be and I was not going to turn my back on him because he was gay. Parents need to sit down and talk to their child [about tolerance towards gays],” said Denise King.
Scott Hall blames Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle and the incident last year over the new public restrooms which Naugle made the erroneous claims that they are required to keep gay men from having sex in the restrooms. These claims made Naugle the darling of the religious right and prepares him for a U.S. Congressional run later this year. “Naugle encourages people to believe that gay people are evil or bad. He validates hate as a way to rid the world of gays,” Scott said.
Michael Rajner of UNITE Fort Lauderdale claims there’s “not one person to blame for contributing to the hate out there. Really, it’s the intolerance of many religious groups along with the hatred by our [political] leadership. This leadership has become a symbol of the leadership we need to change.”
But can we be safe in the streets of our community? According to Michael Rajner, “Live your life as normal. Don’t live in fear. Police will tell you that to be safe you should always be aware of your surround
But can we be safe in the streets of our community? According to Michael Rajner, “Live your life as normal. Don’t live in fear. Police will tell you that to be safe you should always be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out to see if anyone is following you. Always travel in pairs and not alone. And most importantly, do not be afraid to report incidents to the police. Only when incidents are reported to the police can laws can be enacted or changed. Do not be afraid, but be conscious that hatred does exist.”
Due to the overwhelming interest
we are able to announce the creation of The PATH Project
now presented at thepathproject.wordpress.com.
The project to create a traveling memorial dedicated to those GLBT persons who lost their lives because they were living.
Adopt a Hero Today!
Kicking A Lion presents
The PATH Project: A Memorial To Victims of GLBT Hate Crimes.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs documented 9 anti-LGBT murders in 2005 alone. According to the FBI, 14 percent of hate crimes in 2005 were motivated by sexual orientation bias. This means that gay people — or people perceived to be gay — are disproportionately the victims of these terrible crimes.
If you know of a victim of a GLBT Hate Crime, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Demand respect. In California on election day 2008 a 63% majority passed Proposition 2 which, “creates a new state statute that prohibits the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs”. Yet, on the same day, 52% of the voters stripped us of basic human rights; the right to marry someone we live.
We have a proud history. In 1969 a group of strong people refused to quietly be arrested for simply enjoying themselves at a small bar called Stonewall. This began the gay rights movement, and it is now our responsibility to carry the torch they lit. They refused to be bullied, and it is our obligation to look back to Stonewall and gather our forces together to begin demanding Equality in every aspect of our lives.
Nineteen of our United States lack basic hate crimes laws to protect the GLBT community. Many more states lack laws that protect the GLBT community from discrimination in housing and employment. To be treated with true Equality, this must change. And we must be the force to change it.
2) Get Out! Be out to everyone. It’s hard to hate someone with a face. Believe me, I know telling the folks isn’t easy. I refer to my Coming Out Day as the “Day Dad Put His Foot Through The TV”. PFLAG has resources to help.
3) Get involved. Volunteer your time and/or donate money. HRC is a good place to start.
4) Get vocal. Don’t allow people at work, or in clubs and groups to make gay slurs or “jokes”.
5) Write to your elected officials voicing your concerns over your rights.
2) Join a march.
3) Write a letter to President Obama reminding him of who helped him get elected and that he needs to take our fight to the national level.
4) Sign the petition on this link: http://www.petitiononline.com/seg5130/petition.html
5) Boycott straight weddings.
6) Order a “Can I Vote On Your Marriage?” bumper sticker from: http://www.zazzle.com/can_i_vote_on_your_marriage_now_bumpersticker-128446202661896802
We were defeated once. But we will never give up the fight! The Mormon Church funneled $15 million dollars into the Yes on Prop 8 campaign. They forced us to make this Call To Arms. Fight back. Write letters to their church leaders expressing your frustration at their ignorance. And, support the grass roots movement to strip the Mormon Church of their tax-exemption. MormonsStoleOurRights.
We have a chance. The time is now. Make a difference. Make a change. Demand your rights!