In the wake of an antigay hate crime in Salt Lake City, residents are banding together to show support for LGBT people in a variety of ways — and hoping to bring about arrests in the case.
Dane Hall, 20, wasattacked by four men as he was walking home from a gay night at Club Sound early in the morning of August 27. He was beaten and kicked; his jaw was broken, several of his teeth were knocked out, and a piece of bone lodged in his brain. He says the assailants called him “fag” and other antigay slurs.
The Q Business Alliance, a group of local businesses run by LGBT people and straight alliances, has set up a fund to provide rewards for information leading to arrests of Hall’s attackers,QSalt Lake reports. “This rewards fund sends a message to perpetrators of hate-motivated crimes against our community that we have the money and resources to fight back, track down and prosecute those who would harm our brothers and sisters,” said Michael Sanders, Q Business Alliance membership director.
An interfaith candlelight prayer vigil is planned for Friday evening at Liberty Park, followed by a march through the city. It is sponsored by City of Hope, an LGBT-inclusive Salt Lake City church. “Our community was absolutely incensed by what happened” to Hall, copastor Marian Edmonds told The Salt Lake Tribune. The congregation, she said, “decided as a spiritual community what we can do is get together and pray and read poetry and be a witness to the fact that all people should be loved and accepted.” Other events scheduled this week in response to the crime include a theater benefit at Club Jam to raise funds to pay Hall’s medical expenses and a panel discussion hosted by the Women’s Democratic Club of Utah.
Then on October 11, National Coming Out Day, the Support Love Courage Council, an affiliate of the Utah Pride Center, is asking Utahns to gather at Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City, wearing pink, to form a giant, human pink dot in support of LGBT people. The event was not directly motivated by the attack on Hall, but “may have particular resonance” because of it, the Tribune reports.
The Pink Dot Utah Campaign is based on an event held in Singapore, which drew 2,500 people in its first year, 2009, and grew to more than 10,000 this year. “We just hope that with the campaign that we’re able to reach out to families and family members that haven’t been willing to step out before,” Pride Center director Valerie Larabee told the Tribune. “It’s an action that people can take in response to what happened to Dane, but also more widely in support of their loved ones.”
The campaign has set up a Facebook page where videos will be posted in the month leading up to the event, and a website for it, PinkDotUT.org, will go live Friday.
Three men were executed in Iran on Sunday for having gay sex, according to Iran Human Rights, an organization that monitors state news there. The group noted in a blog post today that the state-run Iranian news agency, ISNA, reports that three people who were hanged had been convicted of sodomy and other crimes such as robbery. A Sharia judge is allowed to decide how to kill any man who violates the anti-sodomy article of the law.
IHR says the men were identified in the report only by initials: “M.T.”, “T.T.” and M. Ch.”
IHR spokesman Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said these were “rare cases” in which the Iranian government had put someone to death explicitly for homosexual acts. “Iranian authorities normally present such cases as rape,” Amiry-Moghaddam said in a statement.
So far, IHR is the only group reporting these deaths. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once famously told a reporter during a news conference that, ”In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have it.”
Iowa: Family Of Slain Man Don’t Want Hate Crime Investigation
The Advocate reports:
The family of a man who was slain in Waterloo, Iowa, say police shouldn’t investigate his death as a hate crime because they claim he was not gay — while others say his sexual orientation is irrelevant and inappropriate to discuss. Marcellus Andrews was beaten to death August 19 by assailants who witnesses said used homophobic slurs. But the state is not investigating his murder as a hate crime. His family met Tuesday with another 50 people to discuss violence and human rights in their community at Jubilee United Methodist Church. Cousin Renicia Haywood said that acting effeminately doesn’t necessarily make Marcellus Andrews gay. Nichella Andrews, the victim’s sister, said she supports the police’s decision to stop treating the attack as a hate crime, according to the WDF Couriernewspaper. She claims witness accounts of the incident have been blown out of proportion. "They didn’t come to beat him up because he was gay," she said. "There’s more to the story." But whether Marcellus Andrews was gay or not makes no difference in the eyes of the law, points out Jim Day, vice president of the Black Hawk County branch of the NAACP. "Gay or not, perceived as gay still ends up being a hate crime under those conditions," he told the Courier. ”Perception of gay and being gay still both qualify.”
“It is disappointing that the criminal justice system has failed to bring closure to the family, friends and community that loved Lawrence. In the wake of the mistrial, and in honor of Lawrence, we will continue our efforts to prevent these types of tragedies by working with school districts across our nation to stamp out the ignorance and prejudice that led to Lawrence’s death. It’s up to the adults around children to call out that early behavior and prejudice, and to explain that the differences among us are part of what makes us strong: that being different is not something to attack, but to appreciate. If Lawrence or Brandon had lived in that world, their lives might not have collided in tragedy and death.”
Imagine there’s this 15-year-old mean girl who goes to a middle school in California. She dresses like a slut and likes to tease the boys. There’s this one boy at her school, age 14, that she singles out and picks on. The mean girl flirts with the boy even though it makes him uncomfortable. She goes out of her way to make lewd remarks to him, she seems to relish the boy’s discomfort, and she regularly humiliates him in front of their classmates. One day the boy tells a friend that he’s going to bring a gun to school the next day and kill the mean girl. And the next day the boy walks up behind the mean girl in a computer lab, removes a gun from his backback, and points the gun at the back of the mean girl’s head. The mean girl doesn’t even know the boy is standing behind her. The boy fires two bullets into the mean girl’s head. The sexually-charged teasing is easy to imagine—that sort of shit goes on in middle and high schools all the time (most of it directed at girls)—and so, sadly, is the shooting. What’s impossible to imagine is what happens at the boy’s trial: the jury deadlocks over manslaughter charges. Not charges of premeditated murder, which this clearly was, but manslaughter. A mistrial is declared. Prosecutors refuse to say whether they intend to retry the boy—again for manslaughter, not premeditated murder. That’s essentially what happened in California yesterday when a jury deadlocked over manslaughter charges brought against Brandon McInerney in the slaying of gay classmate. Larry King—if you accept the arguments made by McInerney’s defense team—dressed provocatively and made lewd remarks to McInerney. McInerney responded by killing King in cold blood, a murder that was clearly premeditated. But that little faggot was hitting on boys and wearing provocative clothes, McInerney’s lawyers argued, and so he had it coming. The gay panic defense that didn’t work for the men who murdered Matthew Shepard in 1998 worked for the boy who murdered of Larry King in 2011. It’s impossible to imagine a jury failing to convict a boy who murdered a female classmate for sexually harassing him, or a jury failing to convict a girl who murdered a male classmate for sexually harassing her, I guess that means that only gay kids can be killed for making unwanted advances and crude remarks to classmates. In California. In 2011.
Jury Unable To Reach Verdict In Killing Of Gay Student Larry King
Los Angeles Times reports:
A jury has been unable to reach a verdict in the murder trial of Brandon McInerney, the 17-year-old accused of shooting a gay classmate to death in 2008.The jury began deliberating Friday, weighing eight weeks of testimony in a trial that included nearly 100 witnesses. Many of those testifying were students and teachers at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard who saw tensions on campus rising after 15-year-old Larry King began coming to school dressed in makeup and girl’s boots.McInerney, then 14, shot King twice in the back of the head in a school computer lab on Feb. 12, 2008. The prosecution says it was a calculated murder carried out in part because McInerney was exploring white supremacist ideology and didn’t like homosexuals.Defense attorneys painted a different picture, that of a bright but abused 14-year-old who snapped after being sexually harassed by King.The trial was followed closely by gay-rights groups that have fought hard to protect gay and transgendered students from campus bullying. But as the weeks of testimony rolled on and a more nuanced portrait emerged of what was happening at E.O. Green in the weeks before the shooting, it also raised a host of thorny questions.Why didn’t the school administrators step in to quell the tensions rising on campus after King started taunting boys on campus with flirtations that he knew would upset them? Was the defense employing a “gay panic” strategy in blaming the victim for being killed? And, more broadly, why was McInerney, who was 14 at the time of the killing, even being tried as an adult?Over eight weeks of testimony, the prosecution laid out a case of premeditated murder by McInerney, who prosecutor Maeve Fox described as a bright boy from a broken and violent home who knew what he was doing when he brought a .22-caliber gun to school.McInerney was upset that King had come up to him at school the day before and said, “What’s up, baby?” Fox said.He told a defense psychologist that he found King’s attentions “disgusting” and “humiliating” and that King would have to pay for it. He told a school friend that he was going to bring a gun to school the next day, and he did, Fox said.Then, in a school computer lab, he shot King at point-blank range in the back of the head not once but twice before dropping the weapon and stalking out of the classroom.Those facts, unchallenged by the defense, constitute a clear case of premeditated murder, Fox said. The prosecution asked the jury to also categorize the killing as a hate crime because a prosecution witness had testified that McInerney was a budding white supremacist who hated gays.Defense attorney Scott Wippert and co-counsel Robyn Bramson didn’t dispute that McInerney killed King. But they argued he was pushed to an emotional breaking point by King’s attentions toward him and the school’s failure to rein in King’s conduct.They also appeared to reach out for jury sympathy by calling several of McInerney’s relatives to the stand to testify to the abuse the young boy suffered at the hands of his drug-abuser father.McInerney was a boy who couldn’t cry, because if he did his father would smack him in the face and tell him to take it like a man, his aunts testified.Other family members said the father seemed to delight in humiliating his son in public. The father died from a fall while his son was incarcerated.Wippert told jurors that his client killed King but should be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, not murder.In closing arguments, he implied that McInerney should not ever have been put in front of them because the act happened when was a youth.“Use your common sense, use your heart, use your soul,” he told the jury. “Remember this is a 14-year-old child, and you’re going to do what’s right.”
Kentucky: Lesbian Couple Claim They Were Victims Of Hate Crime
The Advocate reports:
A lesbian couple in Harlan County, Ky., who say they were beaten and terrorized in a July 4 attack because of their sexual orientation, are requesting that the federal government investigate the case as a hate crime. Misty Turner told the Lexington Herald-Leader that she and Brandy Standifer have lived in the Pathfork area openly as a couple for three years. A 28-year-old nurse, Turner has two children from a previous relationship, ages 5 and 3, who divide their time between the residence she shares with Standifer and the home of their father. The Herald-Leader reports that on July 4, the two women, the children, and other family members sat in a church parking lot waiting for a fireworks show to begin when “people among a crowd at a nearby house began shooting fireworks at them.” Turner said the fireworks burned her son, her 80-year-old grandmother, and others. "There was just sparks everywhere," she said. When her father approached the alleged perpetrators, Turner said she attempted to stop him and was attacked by members of the group, some of whom called out the word “dykes” and made derogatory comments. When Standifer stepped in to help, she was knocked to the ground and kicked. "If you want to look like a man, let’s see you fight like one," Turner claimed a man said to Standifer. Turner sustained a head injury and bleeding in her sinus cavity, while Standifer suffered a broken rib and bruises. Turner was able to identify three of the dozen or so people she said were involved. Two have been charged in the attack, but only one charge has been forwarded to a grand jury for a possible felony indictment. On behalf of the women, the Kentucky Equality Federation requested federal involvement for the others involved. Read the full story here.
Another Hate Crime, This Time In Michele Bachmann’s Hometown (Waterloo, Iowa)
A 19 year-old college student was beaten death in Michele Bachmann’s hometown of Waterloo, Iowa this weekend. Witnesses say Marcellus Richard Andrew’s attackers shouted anti-gay slurs while kicking him in the head.
Officers and paramedics said they found Andrews unconscious with severe head injuries in the early morning hours Friday. Andrews, who was slated to start studying interior design at Hawkeye Community College, spent part of Thursday practicing with members of the Crusaders, a drill team sponsored by Union Missionary Baptist Church. He led the step team for the group, which was days away from competing in March Against Darkness. Night found him at Nakita Wright’s home on Cottage Street. She said the problems started at about 12:45 a.m. Friday when she and Tudia Simpson, her cousin, went for a walk down the street. Andrews opted to stay behind, waiting on the enclosed porch, she said. The two women hadn’t made it as far as Adams Street a block away when they heard yelling back at the house. They ran back and found a truck stopped in the street, and the occupants were taunting Andrews, calling him “faggot” and “Mercedes,” a feminization of his first name, Simpson said.
The police have made no arrests, despite the fact that the attackers knew Andrews’ name.
James Kraig Allegedly Murdered His Family Following Wife’s Lesbian Affair
The Huffington Post reports:
James Kraig Kahler of Missouri, on trial for allegedly murdering his estranged wife, two daughters and mother-in-law, appeared in court Monday, contending that his slain wife had left him for another woman.The former Columbia city official is facing the death penalty. His lawyers say that he had been mentally ill for months leading up to the incident, according to the Daily Mail.Prosecutors claim Kahlers’ marriage fell apart after James tried to introduce another woman, Sunny Reese, into the bedroom for a “threesome,” the paper reports.Kansas Bureau of Investigation special agent William Halvorsen interviewed the accused murderer after his arrest. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal the Former KBI agent relayed the story James had told him to the jury:
Kahler told Halvorsen that he had a “great marriage” and a “perfect family” while the family lived in Weatherford, Texas, Halvorsen testified. Kahler also told the agent his wife had been thinking for several years about starting a lesbian relationship. Kahler said he told his wife to go ahead and try it, but he hoped he wouldn’t lose her, Halvorsen said.
“I was trying to be nice about it,” Halvorsen quoted Kahler as saying.Kahler’s 12-year-old son, Sean, who managed to escape the killing spree, which took place in Kansas, testified on Monday to seeing his father shoot his mother, according to Fox News.James Kahler had also been removed from his job about four months prior to the shooting,according to Fox News. Defense lawyers say in the months after his dismissal his mental health worsened. Despite the evidence and testimony against Kahler, the .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle believed to be the murder weapon, has not yet been found. However, the Topeka Capital-Journal has reported that Kahler told Halvorsen during interrogations that the weapon would not be easily found, and assured him that it was safe from children.a
San Francisco Bay area–based musician Brontez says he was the victim of a hate crime Wednesday after leaving an urban hipster bar in Oakland. Brontez reported the attack on his Facebook page: “Got gay bashed last night. Me and my bandmate, Adal, were leaving the Paradiso in downtown Oakland when two dudes with … accents and dreadlocks started calling us ‘batty boys’ and saying that if we were in Jamaica we’d be dead.” Brontez alleges that he yelled back at the men and attempted to swiftly pedal away on his bicycle. “One of the guys chased me, punched me in the head and I fell of my bike. The other dude punched Adal fracturing his face in two places and now he has to have plates put in.” The musician says he’s fighting back and “not sleeping on this shit. Oakland [police department] is not gonna care about us getting gay bashed. I can’t even get them on the phone for a follow up.” SFist.com is urging potential witnesses to call the Oakland Police Department at (510) 777-3333.
Clementi Roommate Says He Was Only Protecting iPad
Picture Caption: From left: Tyler Clementi, Dharun Ravi
The Advocate reports:
A lawyer for Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student who is accused of posting a video of roommate Tyler Clementi in an intimate encounter with another man, says his client’s intention wasn’t to spy and that the case should be dropped. Ravi, 19, faces 15 charges, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, in the incident that prosecutors say led to Clementi’s suicide last September 2010. But in newly filed legal papers, Ravi’s attorney says the student turned on the camera only out of concern that Clementi’s guest would steal Ravi’s iPad. Capturing the encounter between the two men was accidental, and Ravi responded by immediately shutting the camera off, according to the papers. The documents add that Ravi has “no problem” with homosexuality. Clementi’s suicide has fueled a national discussion about the dangers of harassment and bullying. Read the full story here.
Teonna Monae Brown, 19, pleaded guilty in a Baltimore County court to one court of first-degree assault and one count of a hate crime in the attack on Chrissy Polis, 22, said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger. The April attack brought attention nationwide to the plight of transgender people, with thousands signing online petitions and holding rallies. Prosecutors expect to seek a prison term of five years when Brown is sentenced next month.
The second attacker pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced to a juvenile facility.
A man has been taken into custody in Istanbul after allegedly confessing to killing a sex worker because she was transgender. Transgender Europe is reporting that the murder took place Sunday, after the suspect hooked up with the victim via Facebook and agreed to pay her for sex. When the man, who is reportedly a fugitive, found out she was transgender, he killed her. The victim’s screams alerted police and the suspect was taken into custody. According to the article, the man told police, “I thought that she was a woman, but she was a travesti. After learning this, I killed her.” Read the article here.
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