Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Skinheads Attack California Gay Men in New Year’s Hate Crime

Gay bashing in progress by Santa Barbara Skinheads on New Year's morning (video capture)

Santa Barbara, California – Three skinheads attacked a gay couple as they left a New Year’s Eve event early Sunday in Santa Barbara, according to the Santa Barbara Independent. The savage assault was captured on video, which the police are using in their hunt for the perpetrators. The Daily Sound reports that the three suspects are all in their 20s, are white males, and sport shaved heads.  As the two gay men left a party at a nightclub, headed toward their parked car, the three assailants called out derogatory anti-gay slurs, and then attacked.  One of the victims suffered a broken jaw, and needed staples to close a deep gash in his scalp. The second victim escaped with minor injuries.

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez pledged to find and arrest the attackers, calling the assault a “hate crime.” Chief Sanchez said, “Hate crimes like these will not be tolerated and those responsible will be held accountable.” This horrific attack is one more indicator that hate crimes against gay people do not take a holiday–ever.

January 4, 2012 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-Gay Hate Groups, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, California, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gay Tennessee Teens Face Potential “License to Bully” Law

TN students protesting anti-gay legislation (Tennessean image)

Nashville, Tennessee – A “License to Bully” gay students bill will be on the Tennessee Legislature docket this winter–and is already facing criticism from progressives. The bill would protect anti-gay students when they frame their homophobic feelings in religious language. WSMV4  reports that conservative lawmakers are presenting the bill, SB 760/HB 1153,  making outspoken anti-gay statements in Tennessee schools legal “if that is what religious beliefs call for.”  Like opponents of human rights around the nation, Volunteer State conservatives such as FACT (Family Action Council of Tennessee) are framing the bill as a matter of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  Fox News 17 quotes progressive high school student Emmanuelle Loyer in opposition to the “License to Bully” bill.  Loyer said anti-gay students will take advantage of the protections the bill offers: “They can say cruel things they want to say under that protection.”  Loyer went on to say that supporters of the bill are dangerously misinformed about realities in today’s public schools. “I don’t think they realize how cruel high school students can be,” she said.

The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) opposes the bill and its intent. Jonathan Cole of the TEP said, “It’s time for Tennesseans to stop using children as pawns for social, religious and political agendas. We need to be focusing on ways to ensure that Tennessee students receive an education free from bullying, harassment and intimidation.”  In a statement to the press, the TEP said, “The religious liberty and free speech rights of students are already protected by the U.S. Constitution. This legislation would give special protections to students of a particular religious point of view. If made into law, FACT  would give students a ‘license to bully’ that allows them to hide their irrational biases behind an extreme religious belief.” 

Already under assault from the “Don’t Say Gay” (HB0229/SB0049) bill last year, LGBTQ students and their allies in public schools are organizing to fight for vulnerable youth and teachers who are targeted for harassment, slurs, and harm. The Tennessean warned that harassment of gay youth already has already proved lethal, as in the case of Jacob Rogers, Cheatham County Central High senior who took his own life in response to years of relentless bullying based on his perceived sexual orientation.

Against the claims of FACT and right-wing lawmakers, the Tennessee Equality Project quotes a recent study in the Journal Pediatrics showing “an association between an objective measure of the social environment and suicide attempts among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth. The social environment appears to confer risk for suicide attempts over and above individual-level risk factors. These results have important implications for the development of policies and interventions to reduce sexual orientation–related disparities in suicide attempts.”

Conservatives ignore these documented connections and protest against using the stories of gay teen suicides in the debate on the “License to Bully” bill. At a time when Tennessee lawmakers should be offering more protections for LGBTQ students, they are poised to take Tennessee in the direction of shielding homophobic students and their right wing supporters.

January 4, 2012 Posted by | Anti-Gay Hate Groups, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Bullycide, Bullying in schools, gay teens, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ, License to Bully bill, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Social Justice Advocacy, Tennessee | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gay Tennessee Teens Face Potential “License to Bully” Law

   

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