Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Dallas Marches to Remember Stonewall

Dallas, TX – Hundreds rallied and marched through the skyscraper canyons of Dallas Sunday night to remember the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, and to fight for human rights.  The Stonewall Rebellion 41st Anniversary March and Rally formed at Founders Plaza near the famous JFK memorial, and marched though downtown Dallas, shouting “Harvey Milk was right/Come out of your closets and fight!”  Marchers from throughout North Texas, as well as contingents from Lubbock and Tyler filled the streets with the sounds of activism.  The route was chosen to maximize exposure to Dallasites throughout the downtown business and residential areas, and the sidewalks were lined with office workers, bus stop patrons, and café diners throughout the Main Street Corridor, even on a Sunday night.  Media including the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Voice, as well as other media outlets covered the event.  Speakers including Jesse Garcia, C.D. Kirven, Michael Robinson, Nonnie Ouch, Rafael McDonnell, and Daniel Scott Cates gave powerful messages to the LGBTQ community as well as elected officials on the local, state and federal levels.  They called for the overthrow of DOMA, the repeal of DADT, passage of a transgender-inclusive ENDA bill, and full Marriage Equality.  The Rainbow Lounge Raid in Fort Worth last year was a continuing theme of the evening as well.  Dr. Renee Baker of Youth First Texas called on marchers to support LGBTQ youth, especially in view of how vulnerable they are.  Keynote speaker, Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, professor at Fort Worth’s Brite Divinity School, and Director of the Unfinished Lives Project, summed up the speeches with a call to remember Stonewall and act to expand human rights not only for the LGBTQ community, but also for other minorities, as well.  Responding to the noisy Religious Right protestors who kept berating Rally attendees with loud preaching and scripture proof texting, Dr. Sprinkle reminded them that “whoever says they love God and hate their brothers and sisters is a liar, and the truth is not in them!”  Spencer Young gave a moving testimony to those who have died violently at the hands of hatred and homophobia during the concluding Vigil portion of the program.  He recounted the story of Nicolas West, murdered in Tyler in 1993 because he was gay.  Tyler, he reported, has no memorial to West, who was shot multiple times by his murderers and left to die in a clay pit outside of town.  But the Tyler community, where traditional values and negative attitudes toward LGBT people has predominated in the past, staged “The Laramie Project” in West’s honor, giving him a living memorial through the famous stage play recounting the aftermath of Matthew Shepard’s murder in Laramie, Wyoming.

June 28, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Bisexual persons, DOMA, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), ENDA, gay men, gay teens, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Lesbian women, LGBT teen suicide prevention, Marriage Equality, Native Americans, Politics, Protests and Demonstrations, Rainbow Lounge Raid, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas, transgender persons, transphobia, Vigils | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dallas Marches to Remember Stonewall

Anti-Transgender Violence Hot Topic for LGBT Community

Trans peopleNew York City – The Associate Press reports that a major anti-transgender violence forum slated for October 7 will address the rising incidence of attacks against transgender New Yorkers.  Brooklyn Law School is hosting the forum,which will be attended by the family of Lateisha Green, transwoman of color, who was murdered in Syracuse last year.  Her convicted killer, Dwight DeLee, was convicted of manslaughter in her shooting death three months ago.  The conviction was the first under New York State’s hate crimes law, sending a message to perpetrators of violence against transgender people that transphobic attacks will no longer be tolerated in the Empire State.  The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, organizers of the Brooklyn forum, point out that transgender people face increasing degrees of “pervasive discrimination, harassment and violence.”  Statistics gathered by transgender advocacy groups note that 12% of all violent attacks against LGBT people in 2008 were perpetrated against transgender people.  As Joseph Erbentraut, Great Lakes Regional Editor for EDGE reported earlier this week, Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals are complicit in these crimes of violence because of prejudices they hold against gender non-conforming people.  Activists agree that lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals are hardly immune from the prejudice vented against transpeople by the society.  Each group too easily absolutizes the gender presentation they are familiar and comfortable with.  Jokes and slurs aimed by LGB people against transgender people, calling them “trannies” or “drag queens” differ little from the epithets cast at them by straight haters.  While actual instances of anti-trans violence by LGB people are rare, the bias is symptomatic of a tragic lack of awareness that all prejudice against members of the sexual minority is interconnected.  The Lateisha Green case, however, is a source of hope in New York.  While the conviction of DeLee was based on anti-gay epithets he used while murdering Green rather than transphobic ones, the severity of the first-degree manslaughter sentence woke the Empire State legal community up, and began a movement to add transphobic language to the hate crimes penal code as well as homophobic speech.  The precedent-setting case sends a message that attacks against transgender New Yorkers will no longer be tolerated.  Erbentraut reports that all sources he contacted agreed that the most effective way to blunt anti-transgender violence would be the swift passage of comprehensive hate crimes protections and employment security legislation at the federal level, such as the Matthew Shepard Act, now in the House-Senate conference process, and the recently introduced Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

October 8, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Bisexual persons, ENDA, gay men, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, Lesbian women, Matthew Shepard Act, Media Issues, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Anti-Transgender Violence Hot Topic for LGBT Community


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