Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

“Stop Church Homophobia!”: LGBTQ Christians to Pope

Pope Benedict XVI

Rome, Vatican City – Thousands of LGBTQ Christians issued an Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI, appealing to him to end the Roman Church’s bigotry against the sexual and gender variant minority throughout the world at Roma Euro Pride on June 10.  Among the 44 organizations endorsing the Open Letter to the Pope were Americans, including the pioneer gay priest, Fr. John J. McNeill.  In brief, the signatories from the European Forum of LGBT Christians call on Pope Benedict: ” We appeal to Your Holiness to condemn acts of violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people, and for Your Holiness cooperation in lifting the penalisation of homosexual acts worldwide. Silence from Your Holiness is interpreted by people engaged in violence, torture, and murder as consent to their actions.”  The letter goes on to impress on the Pope the importance that priests cease pressing LGBTQ people to undergo “reparative therapy” in misbegotten attempts to change their sexual orientations.  The full text of the Open Letter to Pope Benedict is viewable here.

Roma Euro Pride 2011, Flavio Michelle Pinna photo

MacNeill, a gay Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who authored groundbreaking books (such as The Church and the Homosexual in 1976) on Christian spirituality and homosexuality, was silenced by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) and forbidden to continue his ministry among LGBTQ people, first in 1977, then in 1983 and yet again in 1986 with a severe rebuke.  Then,  in October 1986, Cardinal Ratzinger issued the Vatican’s infamous “ Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” which defined homosexuality as “an objective disorder” and “a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.”  LGBTQ-friendly groups were expelled from Roman Catholic parishes worldwide.  MacNeill broke his silence, refusing to cease his work and activism.  MacNeill’s participation in the 2011 Open Letter to the Pope challenges the very man who attempted to muzzle him, and who has done more than any recent prelate to harm LGBTQ people, giving him yet another chance to live up to his faith, and recant his ecclesial bigotry.  A film on Fr. MacNeill’s life, “Taking a Chance on God,” premiered in Rome during Euro Pride 2011 as reported by the San Francisco Sentinel.

Reports of over a million attended the festivities in Rome this year, culminating in a huge Mardi Gras-style parade on June 11, after nearly two weeks of games, forums, worldwide press events. For the first time ever, Euro Pride included an emphasis on Faith and Homosexuality.

July 6, 2011 Posted by | Being Gay is a Gift From God Campaign, Bisexual persons, Euro Pride 2011, Fr. John MacNeill, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Homosexuality and the Bible, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Pope Benedict XVI, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Roman Catholic Church and Homosexuality, Rome, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Stop Church Homophobia!”: LGBTQ Christians to Pope

Teenager Goes On Trial for 1st Degree Murder of Gay Classmate–Finally

Brandon McInerney (l), Lawrence Fobes "Larry" King (r)

San Fernando Valley, California – The notorious execution-style murder of a 15-year-old, mixed race, gender variant student in his computer classroom made national headlines in February 2008–because his alleged murderer was barely 14.  There has been no doubt about the facts of the case. Brandon McInerney allegedly shot his gender non-conforming classmate, Lawrence Fobes “Larry” King in the back of the head while his teacher and dozens of his horrified classmates looked on in disbelief. McInerney had breathed threats against King to other students prior to the shooting, and showed apparent premeditation by bringing his grandfather’s .22 pistol to the E.O. Green Middle School classroom.  What has always been in dispute since the earliest reports of this heinous murder are the circumstances and state of mind that brought McInerney to the point of cold blooded murder.  Students reported that Larry King, who was living at a specialized home for abused and abandoned youth, was blatantly non-conforming in matters of gender and sexual performance.  King dressed in feminine clothing, wore high heels, and used makeup.  He answered the bullying culture of Southern California middle schools with what some have called defiance and others have named authenticity.  Larry King was “out,” and students in the Oxnard school he attended had problems with it.  None had a stronger aversion to King’s being and style than young Brandon McInerney, who displayed irritation and anger around King, and later, when King apparently developed something of a personal attraction to him, decided that extreme violence was the only answer to his rage and fear.  EDGE now reports that opening statements in the long-delayed trial of McInerney began Tuesday in a San Fernando Valley courtroom, rather than in Ventura County where the murder took place three years ago.  McInerney’s attorneys delayed and argued that their client was a juvenile, that the judge was biased, and that McInerney could not get a fair trial in Ventura County.  The defense team failed to keep their client out of court as an adult, and to force the judge to recuse himself or be removed.  But they did convince the court to move the venue of the trial, and by a battery of stalling tactics, to postpone the trial as long as possible so that memories of King’s murder would have the chance to fade.

National media debated the wisdom of trying a 14-year-old from a broken home as an adult, even though California law clearly mandated that a 14-year-old should stand trial as an adult in cases of murder.  Though the Golden State has some of the most progressive laws in the nation protecting LGBTQ residents, the atmosphere in schools throughout the state never has caught up with enlightened legal culture.  Bullying of gender variant youth in elementary, middle, and high schools in California is as rampant as anywhere in the nation, as highly publicized cases like the King-McInerney case demonstrate. King was permitted to come out and live fully as a youth in gender transition. While some gender variant students adopted a cautious demeanor in school, King used his budding femininity as a badge of honor.  Whether he had a genuine crush on McInerney during the Valentine season, or whether his actions and words were meant to make his classmate uncomfortable, we cannot really know. But the brute facts remain.  King is dead. McInerney, who life has been forever changed by this murder, is still alive.

The case will be watched closely by legal experts and LGBTQ youth advocates throughout the United States. If the prosecution succeeds in making the 1st degree murder charge stick, McInerney could serve time in prison until his fifties. If the defense succeeds in minimizing the murder of Larry King, it will be because of a likely combination of delay, genuine reluctance to convict because of the youth of the defendant, and a well-orchestrated defamation of a slain little person with a big gender variant profile, as the Los Angeles Times is already reporting from attorney arguments on the first day of this landmark trial. Unfinished Lives Blog will follow the events of this courtroom drama closely.

July 6, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, Bullying in schools, California, Character assassination, death threats, gay bashing, gay panic defense, gay teens, gender identity/expression, Gender Variant Youth, GLBTQ, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Media Issues, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, School and church shootings, Social Justice Advocacy, trans-panic defense, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Convicted Murderer of Gay Man Gets Parole; LGBTQ Community Vows to Fight It

Convicted Killer Jon Buice to be paroled in October 2011

Houston, Texas – With less than half his sentence served, the convicted murderer of a Houston gay man is to be paroled.  The LGBTQ community and crime victims’ advocates are up in arms to stop it.  Jon Buice, the last incarcerated member of the infamous “Woodlands Ten” who murdered 27-year-old Paul Broussard on July 4, 1991, is going free unless the Parole Board changes its mind.  In a 2-0 decision handed down on Friday, the board unanimously acted to approve Buice’s parole over the protests of his victim’s mother.  Nancy Rodriguez, who has stalwartly advocated for Buice to remain behind bars throughout the years, has told KHOU-TV that she has asked the members of the board to reconsider their decision.

Paul Broussard’s killing made national headlines in 1991 as a clear case of cold blooded hate crime murder.  A gang of teens traveled from the Woodlands, an upscale northern suburb of Houston, to the Montrose neighborhood, looking for gays to bash.  Their ploy was to ask a man on the street to direct them to a gay bar, and then, assuming his answer would incriminate him as a gay man, to assault and abduct him for a night of terror. Broussard, a young, unsuspecting banker, became their target.  The youths dragged him to a park where they savagely attacked him with their fists, steel-toed boots, nail-studded two-by-fours, and a knife.  Buice, who wielded the knife, stabbed Broussard three times with vicious efficiency, and “gutted him like a deer,” according to one commentator.  Of the ten in the gang, five received significant jail time.  Buice was sentenced to 45 years in prison because he did the slashing and stabbing of the innocent gay man.

Paul Broussard and his mother, Nancy Rodriguez

In the years since the trial, all but Buice have been released into society.  Because of the heinous nature of the stabbing, Buice had been successfully kept in prison until now.  In prison, he has earned college degrees, and some say he has been a “model inmate.” Based on the assessment of his advocates, Buice has claimed he has been rehabilitated and no longer offers and threat to society. Paul Broussard’s mother is not buying it.  As reported in this blog last year, when parole was denied her son’s killer, Nancy Rodriguez has said that any remorse on Buice’s part is too-little-too-late, and is fabricated by his desire to get out of jail. Mrs. Rodriguez has often said that she prayed her son’s killer would stay in prison for at least 27 years–one year in captivity for each year of Paul’s unfinished life.

Reaction to the Parole Board’s decision was swift.  Andy Kahan, crime victims’ family advocate, told KHOU: “We had anticipated, and certainly hoped, that it would be denied. Our efforts were in seeing how long it would be denied. It was stunning.” Kahan went on to say that he and his organization will fight the decision, vowing that, even if they lose, they will go down “kicking and screaming” because of the implications of the decision for other victims’ families and friends. “This decision sends chills down not only to Nancy’s family but to other families of murdered children in hoping that they don’t have to undergo the same ordeal,” he said.  Noel Freeman, President of the Houston Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Political Caucus, says that Buice needs to remain behind bars, and he will work to flood the parole board with “thousands” of letters appealing to board members to reverse their decision. “There are people on death row who have done far less heinous crimes that what Jon Buice did,” Freeman said to KHOU. “We’re going to encourage all members of the community to write the parole board, write their representatives, write their state senators. We will mobilize the community. The community mobilized when Paul was murdered back in 1991.”

The two members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles assigned to Huntsville, where the decision was made to grant Buice a parole are Rissie L. Owens (term expires 2015) and Thomas A. Leeper (term expires 2013). They do not have to reconsider what they have done under law. But if Nancy Rodriguez, Andy Kahan, and Noel Freeman have anything to do about it, they will have plenty of mail to read from across the Lone Star State and from around the nation.

Huntsville Board Office, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles contact information:

1300 11th St., Suite 520 

P.O. Box 599

Huntsville, TX 77342-0599

936-291-2161
936-291-8367 Fax

July 6, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, Gang violence, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Social Justice Advocacy, stabbings, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Convicted Murderer of Gay Man Gets Parole; LGBTQ Community Vows to Fight It

   

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