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New scheme for reporting hate crimes at gay bars

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  1. Bill Perdue 20 Nov 2007, 10:04pm

    I have no doubt we shall win, but the road is long and red with monstrous martyrdoms”. Oscar WildeWilde was a hero because he accepted himself and was victimized for it. Often the quiet heroism of GLBT folks who step out of the closet is met with murderous violence. The FBI’s release of these stats couldn’t have been timelier because today marks the 9th annual Day of Remembrance to commemorate our transsexual and transgendered brothers and sisters murdered by bigots. GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network had over 500,000 participants in over 4,000 high schools in their last nationwide US action. They report, in their 2005 National School Climate Survey that “75. 4% of students heard “faggot” or “dyke” frequently. 37.8% were physically HARASSED because of sexual orientation and 26.1% because of their gender expression. 17.6% OF STUDENTS WERE PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED BECAUSE OF THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND 11.8% BECAUSE OF THEIR GENDER EXPRESSION.“The US Department of Justice, in its report Hate Crimes on Campus (DOJ Publication NJC187249) says that campus hate crimes usually go unreported. They state that “students report hearing degrading language about women, gays and lesbians on a daily basis…” and that “the use of such language creates an atmosphere that permits conduct to escalate from mere words to stronger words, to threats, and ultimately to violence.” Young gays and lesbians aren’t the only victims, just the least protected. Violence and harassment against LGBT people as a whole is on the rise again according to the US National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Political and religious bigotry is the immediate and primary cause of violence against lesbians and gays. The usual suspects are the conservative Republican-christian totalitarian axis of evil and conservative Democrats who pander to bigots. Hostility to same-sex marriage is a flashpoint in encouraging violence. When San Francisco briefly allowed same-sex marriages ceremonies violence in that city rapidly spiked with a 14% increase. In 2007-8 with the elections generating higher levels of hate speech by politicians, priests and preachers these figures and the stats for hate crimes will rise in parallel. We’ll all have to remember to look out for one another until after the elections. The NCAVP’s and FBI’s counts are just indicators. They don’t include unreported incidents or those disregarded by homophobic police and DA’s. Malcolm X, before he was murdered, discussed taking the case against racist violence in the US before the UN and the World Court. We’d be doing ourselves a favor stealing a page from his book. Especially since UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour says that “violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons is frequently unreported, undocumented and goes ultimately unpunished. … This shameful silence is the ultimate rejection of the fundamental principle of universality of rights.”“Whatever the numbers, these beatings, murders and other kinds of abuse are intolerable. These aren’t the Dark Ages and we shouldn’t have to live with that fear. ‘We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.’ Benjamin Franklin

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