Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Palm Springs Parents Bash Gay Couple In Front of Their Child

Russell Bates and Abigail Sheehy, alleged gay bashers

Palm Springs, California – A dispute over a parking space resulted in young parents beating the teeth out of the mouth of a gay couple–all done in front of the parents’ small child.  Russell Bates, 24, and Abigail Sheehy, 19, both white, took their rage out on an older gay male couple in what police are calling “a brutal attack that should be prosecuted as a hate crime,” according to the Desert Sun. The gay men, 45 and 63 respectively, business owners at a popular strip of flower and yogurt shops, asked the straight couple with a young child to move their parked car from a space clearly reserved for business patrons at about 4:20 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. Bates and Sheehy refused.  The gay couple took their pictures, which sparked the dispute into an all-out attack, taking place in full view of the four-year-old boy.  Shouting anti-gay slurs at the gay men, the straight couple thrashed the couple so violently with closed fists that the teeth of one of the victims were knocked out of his head, and his jaw was broken.  Both victims were taken to a local hospital to be treated for their injuries.  They have since been released to recuperate at home. The assailants fled the scene, only to be apprehended the next day at a public park. Bates and Sheehy have been charged with three felony counts each, including hate crimes charges. They lost custody of their son, who has been remanded to Child Protective Services.  Sheehy was released on bail later in the week. Bates, who has a previous criminal record, is being held on $50,000 bond for violating his parole agreement.  The offending couple are due to appear in court on June 6.  According to local residents, Riverside County has a gay-friendly reputation, making this attack unusual.  Darron Dahle, long-time citizen of Palm Springs, told the Desert Sun, “I’m just outraged that something like this is still happening. This is something that happened 35 years ago. It still happens in this town in daylight? That’s really the most outrageous part.” It is customary for the victims of a hate crime to remain unidentified for their own protection until the trial date, which has yet to be set.

June 4, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, California, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

KKK and “GodHatesFags” Zealots Turn On Each Other

Arlington, Virginia – Klansmen joined in a counter-protest attempting to screen military funerals from a Westboro Baptist Church picket at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day weekend.  The Fred Phelps-founded protestors, made infamous by their “God Hates Fags” campaign and their more recent demonstrations at the funerals of fallen United States military servicemembers, found themselves confronted by a number of members of the Knights of the Southern Cross Soldiers of the Ku Klux Klan, a racist KKK cell based in Powhatan, Virginia, according to the Hatewatch post of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  Including the KKK, 70 counter-protestors waved American flags and held up pro-USA signs, blocking the funerals in progress from the demonstrators holding signs brandishing such slogans as “Fag Nation,” “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Pray for More Dead Soldiers,” and “Thank God for IED’s,” typical of the anti-American message propounded by the Topeka, Kansas Baptist church in its continuing opposition to “homosexual lifestyles.”

Dennis LaBonte, spokesperson for the Knights of the Southern Cross Soldiers, said that their counter-protest was in defense of freedom of speech and in support of the U.S. military. LaBonte told reporters that it was the military in this country that fought to defend the rights of groups like Phelps’s Topeka, Kansas church which recently successfully defended itself before the U.S. Supreme Court against a suit brought by the parent of a Marine killed in combat–a soldier whose funeral had been picketed by the Westboro zealots to condemn the “fag-enabling ways” of the nation.  “It’s the soldier that fought and died and gave them that right,” LaBonte said.  Responding to the Klan counter-protestors, Abigail Phelps, an attorney as are many of her siblings, complained to CNN that people should not “idolize” soldiers who died in national service, or anyone else who died in an “unrighteous cause.”  When directly asked about her reaction to the presence of KKK members in opposition to the Westboro Baptist demonstration, she told the reporter, “They have no moral authority on anything.” According to yourblackworld.com, Phelps went on to say, “People like them say it’s white power … white supremacy.  The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that it’s an abomination to be born of a certain gender or race.”

Nationalism makes strange bedfellows, indeed–enlisting bigots in competing demonstrations against other bigots.  No one in the LGBTQ community is under any illusion about the feelings of the KKK toward them, however.  As the SPLC points out, the Klan hates gay people only slightly less than they hate Jews, African Americans, and “mongrel races.”  As one blog commentator wrote, “On the one hand, this could be laughable, but it is not. One could also [take this news] with a grain of salt. Neither side are LGBT friendly. Let them fight among themselves.”

June 4, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Arlington National Cemetery, Bisexual persons, CNN, funerals, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, harassment, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Homosexuality and the Bible, Kansas, Klu Klux Klan, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Protests and Demonstrations, Racism, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Slurs and epithets, transgender persons, transphobia, U.S. Marines, U.S. Supreme Court, Virginia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


%d bloggers like this: