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May 17th, 2020

The Closet Is An Evil Place

…and not just for the ones in it.

My guilty pleasure during quarantine (or lockdown if you prefer) is watching re-runs of Forensic Files. It’s basically a procedural crime solving series that mixes documentary footage with sometimes disturbing reenactments. If I take anything away from it, besides the fact that the science is such now I don’t see how anything can think they’ll get away with murder, it’s how often women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends. It’s pretty sickening.

Occasionally, very occasionally, the victim is gay. Since their murder is being profiled on this series, you know in advance the killer will be caught and sent to prison. That relieves some of my stress watching one of these episodes. Once upon a time I and another user maintained a news section on our local gay BBS, and I saw a torrent of stories flash across the wire services about gay bashings and murders that happened here and there all across the country, nearly all of which never made the local newspapers or news broadcasts. We were the dirty secret best not talked about in family newspapers. Which was why we were so diligent about maintaining our BBS news section: back then there were very few ways of knowing what was happening to us. I’ve told the story before about how back in June 1977 I had to start up my shortwave radio and listen to the BBC to find out what the results were of Anita Bryant’s campaign to overturn gay equality laws in Dade County Florida, because none of the national or local news broadcasts even bothered to say one word about it.

So the other day I’m watching Forensic Files and see the episode Cop Out, about the murder of Jesse Valencia, a gay college student, by an older man, a police officer no less, who’d essentially been using him for sex. The cop met the kid after (I think) a traffic stop. Or maybe it was a loud party. The ticket he wrote for the kid was a piece of evidence used after the cop said he’d never met the kid and didn’t know him. It was a mutual thing until the boy found out the cop was married. He was young, proud, out, and he decided to break it off. And the cop killed him for it. The speculation, and that’s all it could have been, was he threatened to out the cop if he didn’t stop coming around, and that’s what provoked the murder. That’s the obvious motive…I can see why a lot of people might assume that was it…but I think seeing that self respecting pride in the kid telling him to go away because he didn’t want to be involved with a married man was what did it.

The forensic evidence against the cop was slight, but they nailed him. To this day he denies killing the kid, despite the fact of his body hair being found on the kid’s body, in the kid’s blood. 

Kids…don’t get involved with an older closeted gay person. Step by step they will try to drag you into their closet too. And if you refuse you may end up being a sacrifice to the empty mask the closet makes them wear every moment of their day.

 

Jesse Valencia

by Bruce | Link | React!

June 20th, 2016

Why Orlando Happened

In a nutshell…

‘Satan made gays’: Georgia church sign attacks LGBT people after Orlando shooting

Pastor Bobby Wright explained to WXIA that he was not concerned about the sign stirring up hatred following the Orlando shootings.

“I haven’t cursed anyone. I haven’t called anyone a name,” Wright told the station. “I’m a voice for the community.”

He also insisted that LGBT people would be welcomed at his church.

the_devil_made_gays

 

This Anti-Gay Texas Pastor Says He’s Praying for Survivors of the Orlando Terror Attack to Die

first_queer_mass_murder

“These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles, and they are the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now,” Romero said in his sermon. “And I’ll take it a step further, because I heard on the news today, that there are still several dozen of these queers in ICU and intensive care. And I will pray to God like I did this morning, I will do it tonight, I’ll pray that God will finish the job that that man started, and he will end their life, and by tomorrow morning they will all be burning in hell, just like the rest of them, so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children.”

 

My cartoon, for the next issue of my community newspaper, Baltimore OUTLoud…because somebody needs to say it..

he_did_it  

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Why Orlando Happened

June 15th, 2016

Cultivating An Atmosphere Of Hate

In the horror of what happened this week, I’d almost forgotten about this. Somebody on Capitol Hill needs to have this thrown back in their face.

gays are worthy of death

 This happened a little less than a month ago. To their credit, so I’m told, some members walked out of the conference when this happened. But not all of them.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Cultivating An Atmosphere Of Hate

June 14th, 2016

The Sounds You Hear After A Mass Shooting

after mass shooting-sm

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Sounds You Hear After A Mass Shooting


N-R-A Yes…But Also G-O-D…

This came across my Facebook stream just now…

hate from the pulpit after orlando

This man btw, is preaching in the same city that saw a rash of anti-gay violence in the past, linked to the group Watchmen On The Walls (Scott Lively and anti-gay Seattle preacher Ken Hutcherson were founding members) which was actively inciting the Russian immigrant community in Sacramento. In July 2007, a group of Russian-speaking men killed Satender Singh, a 26-year-old gay Fijian of Indian near Sacramento, California. Two men, Andrey Vusik, 29, and Aleksandr Shevchenko, 21 were charged in connection with Singh’s death. Vusik fled to Russia in July and is being sought by the FBI.

So this kind of incitement to killing gay people is being preached to a community where gay people have been attacked and killed before, while men behind the pulpits were calling for blood. I can appreciate the hostility being directed toward the NRA after Orlando, but there is another far more dangerous component to what happened there and if you think too many politicians are running scared of the gun lobby you need to pay attention to how afraid anyone in politics is of directly confronting the hate mongers behind America’s pulpits. They’re already screaming that they’re being persecuted because gay couples can get married now. They’re banging their pulpits that The Gays want to send them all to concentration camps. Just try to imagine the level of venom you’d see if they were told, seriously told, that they have to stop telling people God wants homosexuals dead.

I know many religious people across a broad spectrum of faiths, good people, decent kind hearted people, who are deeply offended by that kind of religiosity. I want to make it clear what I mean: religion isn’t the problem. Religion isn’t the killer. Hate is the problem. Hate is the killer. But when a murderous hate wraps itself in religious robes it gets a pass to just keep doing it because Religious Freedom and that has to stop. For the sake of all that is possible, all that is fine and noble within the human spirit, that has to stop.

Freedom of religion is a fundamental value of democracy. So is freedom of speech. When someone says “I want you to kill you”, that’s speech, but it’s also a threat that can get you in trouble. Your right to freely speak your mind doesn’t trump the other person’s right to stay alive. If that same person says “I want you to kill that guy over there” that’s speech, but it’s also a threat, and now you’re conspiring with someone else to commit a murder, which can also get you in even more trouble. At some point, we as a nation and a culture need to recognise that saying “God wants you to kill that person over there“, or “God wants that person over there dead” is a threat to that person’s life, no different in kind than if God had just been left out of it.

facebook_contrasts

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on N-R-A Yes…But Also G-O-D…

June 13th, 2016

The Hate Excuser’s Song

owen_jones_leaves

This is par for the course, whenever an act of violence against gay people makes national, let alone international headlines. The pushback to erase the motivation of anti-gay hate from the crime, divert attention onto something else, real or fabricated, comes quickly after from all the usual suspects, and is forceful. And when challenged on it, they just dig their heels in. In a few months to a year there will be articles from right wing “think tanks”, and documentaries purporting to prove that homophobic animus had nothing to do with it at all, and that those of us who kept pointing it out are ourselves guilty of politicising a terrible tragedy to support the Gay Agenda. It is all so predictable. Because to acknowledge the hate that motivated it, might lead to questions about the climate of hate, and those who cultivated it for votes, and money.

And ratings. Perhaps in a few years ABC 20/20 will do a documentary explaining how it was all really a drug deal gone bad…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Hate Excuser’s Song


We Have Always Lived Under Threat Of Terrorism

Your gay and lesbian neighbors, your transgendered and bisexual neighbors, have lived under the threat of terrorism for a long time. All our lives actually.

This article from USA Today came across my Facebook stream just now…

Pulse is not alone: A brief history of attacks on gay club

The article lists just the attacks directed at people inside these bars. But almost no week goes by that I don’t read about an attack against people who have just left a gay bar, or were walking about in a gay neighborhood. It happens all the time.

Near my house there’s a street full of lovely bars and shops called The Avenue. It’s 36th Street in the Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden. The food is great, absolutely great, and several of the bars along that street make excellent margaritas, and as it’s walking distance for me I can go enjoy myself for a night and not worry about having to drive after a few drinks. I was walking back home from a night out on The Avenue last summer, when I passed a small group of young men near the corner of 36th street and Falls. They had a couple female companions with them and seemed to be college age or thereabouts. It was a Saturday night and The Avenue was packed.

Maybe it was my ponytail, maybe it was something else…Scientific American published a story in its February 23, 2009 issue, about a 2008 study that showed that “Without being aware of it, most people can accurately identify gay men by face alone”…but whatever it was, as I walked past one of the men smirked at me, clasped his hands together with his index fingers pointed as if he was pointing a gun at me and made a recoil gesture as if firing it.

I stopped, stunned, and he kept on smirking and walked away with the rest of his group, disappearing into the crowds on The Avenue. Had I called the police on him he would have of course, denied everything, likely even accusing me of doing that to him, and with his friends backing him up as witnesses I would have been the one going to jail that night. So I kept on walking home, feeling a chill in the air.

I’ve not been gay bashed yet. But it could happen. I know it could happen at any time while I’m out and about. I’ve lived with that thought in the background of my every step beyond the threshold of my house ever since I  was a teenager. But then, I was a scrawny girlish boy who got beaten up a lot in grade school, so I had it then too. For some reason, some bigger guys seemed to feel perfectly justified in just taking a punch whenever they felt like it. After I came out to myself I began to understand why. I’m gay. That makes me a target.  

Franklin Graham says his “Billy Graham Rapid Response Team” sent chaplains to Orlando “to assess where and how to best offer emotional and spiritual care.” Oh joy. But I have a better idea. Franklin Graham and his companions in spirit in the anti-gay kultar kampf can get a Much Better assessment of the emotional and spiritual care gay people need if they spend a few weeks living as gay people (don’t worry…no sex necessary!).  Experience firsthand the effects of the venomous religious hostility you’ve been carefully stoking for decades Franklin. Walk a mile in our shoes. If you can make it a mile without getting gay bashed, or hanging yourself because you can’t take the hate anymore.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on We Have Always Lived Under Threat Of Terrorism

June 12th, 2016

Always Look For The Helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping””. -Mr. Rogers.

Too  stunned at the moment about what happened in Orlando to think much beyond simply taking in the facts as they present themselves. But a kind soul on Facebook asked me just now if “your friends in Orlando” were okay. I told him there was only one deeply closeted gay guy and didn’t go into the reasons why I can’t just send email down there and ask. But he would have been working  last night and besides  he’s much too deeply closeted to go anywhere near a gay spot so soon after  Gay Days.  But yes…my first thought when the news hit was worry, ridiculous as it was. I thought I was angry enough at him to be past that. I guess you just can’t completely dig someone out of you once they’ve burrowed so deeply in.  The thing about closeted guys of my generation is they do stupid risky things sometimes and I could see it happening after the stresses of yet another round of Gay Days. So I flinched.  

The newspapers are saying the  police and FBI are calling it a terror attack, and that  fifty people were killed. That’s not just fifty people killed. That’s the hearts of everyone who knew them, hundreds of family and friends, that  also died today. And everyone they hadn’t yet met they could have loved, and every smile they could have put on someone else’s face. All because of hate. All because of hate. And it’s an election year, so there’s even more hate to come.

[Update…]

And speaking of hate…here come the Texas republicans!

 

orlando_terrorist_response_texas_lt_gov

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Always Look For The Helpers

September 3rd, 2014

The Fine Art Of Inciting Violence While Looking Like A Victim

Most heterosexual Americans probably don’t have the Google “personalized” news page I do, which has a custom section powered by a google search that seeks out stories relating to Gay people. That custom news section gets me a torrent of news stories from news sources here in the U.S. and all over the world. And much of it is about violence directed at gay people.

I’ve been reading the news about my people, that goes largely under the radar of most Americans, for decades now. Back in the BBS days I did volunteer work for a nonprofit Gay BBS that involved sifting through wire service stories and reposting them for the other BBS users. As my online world expanded, so has my ability to seek out news that would otherwise get lost in the background static. So I have decades of awareness under my belt that maybe you don’t.

So it might be hard to really appreciate how to read crap like this from Life[sic]site…

He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

“John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint. While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

“According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,’ Herodias became ‘furious’ with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech…”

“The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice…”

…but I’ll give you a clue: The vast majority of violence directed at gay and gender nonconforming people, nearly 100 percent of it, is religiously motivated. Either the perpetrator acted from a violently twisted religious passion, or they acted knowing they have social permission to attack gay people. Sure I might get caught, I might even get sent to jail, but it won’t be like I killed a real person…   And that permission comes directly from the pulpit.

Not all pulpits by any means…I am not pointing my finger at Religion capital ‘R’ or Christianity capital ‘C’. But you need to understand this: not all predators actually like having blood on their hands. Some predators do, others enjoy watching. There are the rapists, and there are the voyeurs. The relationship is a simple one: thugs beat the living crap out of gay people, sometimes killing us, because they hear the permission they’re being given to do exactly that from the pulpits. “Their blood is upon them…” And those voices from behind those pulpits know exactly what they’re doing, exactly what effect they want their words to have. It’s a symbiotic relationship, that benefits both parties.

So it may look superficially like Lifesite is warning Christians to beware of the impending gay holocaust, but what they’re actually doing is inciting the mob in the traditional, old-fashioned way, with whatever tools are handy at the moment. Militants in Iraq and Syria beheaded two American journalists recently, so here comes Lifesite with a story about how John The Baptist was beheaded after condemning a pagan king’s ungodly false marriage…AND YOU KNOW WHO ELSE DOESN’T LIKE IT WHEN CHRISTIANS STAND UP FOR GOD’S PLAN FOR MARRIAGE…

The homosexuals want to behead Christians…just like those scary people you see on TV…you know what to do…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Fine Art Of Inciting Violence While Looking Like A Victim

October 7th, 2013

Repost: Fifteen Years Ago…

I posted this five years ago. Seems appropriate now, since the kook pews are howling again, the haters who would have looked the other way had they come upon the murder taking place, and insist everyone else should too, to revisit it.

Nothing has changed…there is nothing mysterious or hidden about what happened that night…the ghosts still talk among themselves…if you are willing to take the same walk I did one night in Laramie, you can still hear them…

The wind never seems to stop here on the plains.  It is October in Wyoming, and the wind carries with it a chill now.  The first tentative breath of winter dances restlessly over rolling hills of sage.  The days have grown short, the nights cold.  And long.  Very long.  And quiet, save only for the sound of the wind. 

Take a walk tonight across the rolling hills of Wyoming sage.  Leave the town lights twinkling in the distance behind you.  Walk toward the mountains in the darkness ahead.  There is only you here tonight.  You, and the wind, and the stars in the sky, so far away.  So very far away.  Around you are only rolling hills of grass and sage, fading into the night.  There are remnants of what looks like a small wooden fence here, that was torn down some time ago. 

Listen to the wind.  Listen carefully.  There are ghosts here on the plains.  Hear them talk tonight among themselves…

 

No one knows why Matthew was determined to go to the Fireside that night, or why he left with Aaron and Russell. It was karaoke night, which would not ordinarily have interested him. There was some speculation that he was buying drugs from Aaron and Russell, but his friends find that implausible. A close friend thinks that depression may have weakened his judgment, and wonders if he had taken a heavy dose of Klonopin before he went to the bar. "When he was depressed," she says, "he would just grab a handful." Romaine Patterson remembers how in the coffee shop where she worked Matthew "would just talk to anyone-people no one else would talk to, like this weird old man…. He had no discrimination in his person."
-Vanity Fair

 

Shortly after midnight on October 7, 1998, 20-year-old Shepard met McKinney and Henderson in a bar. McKinney and Henderson offered Shepard a ride in their car. Subsequently, Shepard was robbed, pistol whipped, tortured, tied to a fence in a remote, rural area, and left to die. McKinney and Henderson also found out his address and intended to rob his home. Still tied to the fence, Shepard was discovered eighteen hours later by a cyclist, who at first thought that Shepard was a scarecrow. At the time of discovery, Shepard was still alive, but in a coma.
-Wikipedia

 

Aaron Kreifels first met Matthew Shepard in a dream last Thursday night, the night after he discovered his fellow University of Wyoming student badly beaten, barely alive and tied up to a fence outside of Laramie.

Although Shepard was in Fort Collins by then, kept alive by an array of life-support machines in Poudre Valley Hospital’s intensive-care unit, Kreifels said the gay student, who was beaten beyond recognition, allegedly by two young Laramie roofers, perhaps because he was gay, came to visit his rescuer in a dream that night. Kreifels doesn’t remember much of the dream, but he said Wednesday that he awoke the next morning comforted by the vague sensation of having met the person he found in such bad shape two days before.

Although early reports indicated that two mountain bikers had discovered Shepard on the crude fence on an old, double-rutted road, Kreifels was alone that evening, struggling on his mountain bike through deep sand and for some reason ignoring a desire to turn back and find another, easier way back to town. Before he knew it, he had fallen. He was on the ground, his front wheel broken beyond repair. He was unhurt, but what he saw as he got up struck him cold.

"I got up and noticed something out of the corner of my eye,” he said from his room in a freshman dorm at the University of Wyoming on Wednesday. "At first I thought it was a scarecrow, so I didn’t think much of it. Then I went around and noticed it was a real person. I checked to see if he was conscious or not, and when I found out he wasn’t, I ran and got help as fast as I could.”

As the former high school crosscountry runner traversed the quarter- to half-mile of scrub prairie between him and the nearest house in the nearby Sherman Hills subdivision, his thoughts froze before quickly accelerating.

"It was distressing. I was panicked for a couple minutes, because I wanted to make sure I could do all I could do to help save him,” he said.
-The Denver Post

 

Officer Reggie Fluty: When I got there, the first – at first the only thing I could see was partially somebody’s feet and I got out of my vehicle and raced over – I seen what appeared to be a young man, thirteen, fourteen years old, because he was so tiny, laying on his back and he was tied to the bottome of the end of a pole.

I did the best I could.  The gentleman that was laying on the ground, Matthew Shepard, he was covered in dry blood all over his head.  There was dry blood underneath him and he was barely breathing…he was doing the best he could.

I was going to breath for him and I couldn’t get his mouth open – his mouth wouldn’t open for me.

He was covered in, like I said, partially dry blood and blood all over his head – the only place that he did not have any blood on him, on his face, was what appeared to be where he had been crying down his face.
-The Laramie Project

 

Shepard suffered a fracture from the back of his head to the front of his right ear. He had severe brain stem damage, which affected his body’s ability to regulate heart rate, body temperature and other vital signs. There were also about a dozen small lacerations around his head, face and neck. His injuries were deemed too severe for doctors to operate.
-Wikipedia

 

At the Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, Matthew lay in bed down the hall from Aaron McKinney. Matthew was comatose; his brain stem which controls heartbeat, breathing, temperature, and other involuntary functions – was severely damaged. He also was suffering from hypothermia and had a red welt on his back, a red mark on his left arm, bruised knees, cuts on his head, neck, and face, and bruising in his groin. 
-Vanity Fair

 

Dr. Cantway:  I was working the emergency room the night Matthew Shepard was brought in.  I don’t think, that any of us, ah, can remember seeing a patient in that condition for a long time – those of us who’ve worked in big city hospitals have seen this.  Ah, but it’s not something you expect here.

Ah, you expect it, you expect this kind of injuries to come from a car going down a hill at eighty miles an hour.  You expect to see gross injuries from something like that – this horrendous, terrible thing.  Ah, but you don’t expect to see that from someone doing this to another person.

The ambulance report said it was a beating so we knew.
-The Laramie Project

 

Exactly a week after his tragic discovery, Kreifels, 18, an architectural engineering major from Grand Island, Neb., said he tries not to think about the condition in which he found the classmate he had never seen before. Authorities say Shepard’s assailants repeatedly beat him with the butt of a .357 Magnum, fracturing his skull. Kreifels doesn’t talk about it.

"I don’t really want to go into details about that,” he said.
-The Denver Post

 

Aaron Kreifels:  I keep seeing that picture in my head when I found him…and it’s not pleasant whatsoever. I don’t want it to be there. I wanna like get it out. That’s the biggest part for me is seeing that picture in my head. And it’s kind of unbelievable to me, you know, that – I happened to be the person who found him – because the big question with me, like with my religion, is like, Why did God want ME to find him?
-The Laramie Project

 

[Edited a tad…]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Repost: Fifteen Years Ago…

October 2nd, 2013

Pistol Whipping A Dead Gay Kid Because They Can

Debunking Stephen Jimenez isn’t hard…he was involved in the ABC 20/20 whitewash of Matthew Shepard’s murder and makes the same claims here that 20/20 did years ago.   But it is necessary, not only to defend a kid who can no longer speak for himself, but because it is a trope of the anti-gay industrial complex that hate crimes against gay people are nothing the nation need concern itself with.   Nothing to see here folks…the homosexuals bring it on themselves…and even like it.   There is no pattern of violence.   Homosexuals are not being targeted.   Nothing to see.   Nothing to see…

Debunking Stephen Jimenez’s Effort To De-Gay Matthew Shepard’s Murder

Journalist Stephen Jimenez’s  The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard makes the bombshell claim that illicit drug use, not homophobia, was the central factor in the gay University of Wyoming student’s brutal 1998 murder.  Shepard truthers in  the  right-wing media have pounced on the book to  assail hate crime legislation and the larger push for LGBT rights. But Jimenez’s argument is tainted by its reliance on wild extrapolation, the use of highly questionable and often inconsistent sources,  paranoia that critics of his work are engaged in a “cover-up” of politically sensitive truths, and the cavalier dismissal of any evidence that runs contrary to  his central thesis.

Go read the whole thing…you are going to be hearing more about it soon. His book comes out on the anniversary of the murder because that is the perfect time to spit in the faces of people who are still appalled at what happened that night, and determined to put an end to the hatred that fueled it. Jimenez and his soul brother Andrew Sullivan need everyone to stop making such a big deal out of one little gay kid because, perhaps for different reasons, perhaps not, they think it ridiculous.There’s a nugget in this article that I hadn’t understood before, which might explain Sullivan’s need to whitewash Shepard’s murder…

For an author trying to make the case that homophobia played no role in Shepard’s murder, his killer’s use of crude, anti-gay language would seem to pose a significant problem. Not so, Jimenez assures us. McKinney – who described himself as a “drunk homofobick [sic]” in a letter written from prison – was merely trying to imitate the thug image of the gangsta rappers he admired, according to Jimenez. This explanation  is  just as implausible as Jimenez’s bizarre speculation that President Bill Clinton spoke out on Shepard’s murder and championed hate crime legislation in order to divert public attention from the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

(Emphasis mine). So it’s about Sullivan’s Clinton hatred again.   Or back when the 20/20 episode was production it was, and now he’s just sticking to it because it’s out there, and anyway, isn’t all this outrage about what happened to a little twink a bit overwrought? Sullivan has always been an outspoken critic of hate crime laws, and the narrative that hate played any role that night in Laramie had to be debunked.   Because…liberals.

There is nothing mysterious or hidden about the murder of Matthew Shepard. The trial transcripts themselves show clearly, convincingly and overwhelmingly that Shepard not only did not know his killers, but that they beat the 112 pound Shepard mercilessly to the brink of death precisely because he was gay.   Some have said, a tad more plausibly, it was merely a robbery gone bad. But they targeted him because he was gay, and I have been to Laramie, I have driven the route that McKinney and Henderson took as they drove Shepard out of town to the isolated place where they tied him to a deer fence and beat him…I drove it at night around the same time…and I promise you that if you do the same you will, if you are even slightly open to the evidence, come to the only possible conclusion: that they had more than robbery on their minds on their way to the killing place.

Who can say why some people prefer their comfortable conceits to reality. Stephen Jimenez may simply be a publicity seeking asswipe. Or he and Andrew Sullivan may really believe that the facts in front of one’s nose are merely a veneer behind which the hidden conspiracies and plots that really move human events lurk. Perhaps they find the idea that the beating death of a pretty gay boy might genuinely shock anyone ridiculous, the thinking being Shepard was a little twink who went looking for rough trade and got what was coming to him. He’d already allowed himself to be raped once didn’t he? Whatever the motivation, ask yourself who is deeper in the human gutter, the knuckle-dragging killers who hated or the respectable upright whitewashers of hate.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Pistol Whipping A Dead Gay Kid Because They Can

April 27th, 2011

Bullying Tactics

Ah…the predictable backlash against the backlash against the backlash has begun…

Lawyers question firm’s decision to ditch gay marriage case

Atlanta-based law firm King & Spalding won plaudits Monday from gay activists for backing out of an agreement to argue to uphold the federal ban on gay marriage. But a day later the reviews were a bit more bruising in  the legal community.

Top lawyers and law professors, with some notable exceptions, called it an embarrassing blunder by the prestigious firm or  a betrayal of a client and legal principles. Others think King & Spalding, whose clients include General Electric and Coca-Cola, may have backed out because the firm fears the fallout from leading an anti-gay legal fight.

You say that like it’s a bad thing…

King & Spalding’s announcement it would not represent congressional House Republicans in their quest to defend court challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)  and the subsequent decision of Paul Clement, the lawyer  in the case, to quit the firm and take it  elsewhere was the talk Tuesday among Yale University Law School faculty, said Lawrence Fox, a Yale professor and expert in legal ethics. DOMA defines marriage “for federal tax, Social Security and other purposes” as only a union between a man and a woman.

“We really go down a bad road if we say law firms can’t take on (controversial)  matters or people will assume you have those views,” said Fox. “I’m going to walk into my class today and I’m going to use this. I’m tearing up my lesson plan …  to talk about this case.”

The nice thing about working in an ivory tower is what you do doesn’t have to have any relationship to the world outside.   Tenure.   It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who have to live there, in the world of the commoners, it’s only they who remember the panic that set in back in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could not constitutionally be denied the right to marry.   It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who remember how the party of Lincoln and Fred Phelps pushed through congress the Defense Of Marriage Act to protect American heterosexuals from the damaging effects of having to live in a world where the sordid, brief and barren sexual assignations of homosexuals had the same legal standing as their noble unions of male and female.   It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who remember how the man who stood in front of them and said “I have a vision for America and you’re part of it” signed that bill into law in the dead of night, somewhat less then three years after he folded on his promise to let gay servicemen serve openly and with dignity.   It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who watched as the new republican majority in congress, elected on campaign pledges of jobs, set about immediately to work reassuring their base that the meager gains gay Americans had made while the democrats were in control would not stand, and that they would be steadfast in opposing president Obama’s plan to impose The Gay Agenda on America.

It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who read the steady stream of news reports of same-sex couples beaten down and destroyed by this nation’s abject capitulation to bigotry, month after month, year after year.

Gay couple’s immigration plight: Ailing New Yorker may be torn from spouse over visa

A gay Long Island couple who have played by the immigration rules for more than a decade are stuck in a Catch-22 that could tear them apart just when they need each other most.

New Yorker Edwin Blesch, 70 and his South African husband, Tim Smulian, 65, have been spending six months on Long Island and six months abroad to comply with Smulian’s tourist visa.

But Blesch, who has HIV, suffered several mini-strokes and other complications and is now unable to travel safely.

Smulian is his primary caregiver – but has no way to stay here permanently.

Immigration Officials To Gay Binational Couples: Just Kidding, No Deportation Holds

It’s unclear what will happen to the couples already profiled by major news sources, like Monica Alcota and Cristina Ojeda. The one thing that is clear is that this is a sad day for binational same-sex couples, and for everyone who values America’s tradition of being a place where people can come from anywhere in the world to make a home. Like so many other things, that seems to be a privilege reserved for straight people.

It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who remember their names…names like Laurel Hester.   Not law professors in ivory towers.

Here is a law firm that proudly touted its support for gay Americans in their struggle for equality.   Suddenly it is, in a very high profile way, part of the republican party’s DOMA circus.   Suddenly every attorney, every clerk, every secretary, every intern working for this law firm is under a gag order…not simply to refrain from speaking about the case, but never to breath so much as a word against DOMA.   Imagine that instead of Teh Gay this case was about defending a congressional ban on Jewish ownership of businesses.   How many eyebrows would be raised when a law firm that touted its opposition to antisemitism, suddenly took on the congressional defense of that law, and gagged its partners and staff from ever speaking a word against the segregation of Jews?   Who would complain when the law firm withdrew and the jackass antisemitic partner who dragged them into that despicable case left to pursue it on his own, that the Jews had gone too far?

But conscience, and a sense of basic human decency wanders in a lot of people, even now, when it comes to the persecution of gay Americans.   Suddenly persecuting minorities becomes some abstract thing, less important, less real, then the right of republicans to conduct a great circus show of defending marriage against the forces of Obama and Satan, and demonize a segment of America for votes.   The constant rain of gay blood on the streets isn’t even on their moral radar…

HRC is right to fight vigorously to overturn DOMA, which deprives gays and lesbians of many of the rights enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts. But it sullies itself and its cause by resorting to bullying tactics.

So says The Washington Post.   Bullying tactics?

Details Of Brutal Hate Crime Attack On Damian Furtch Emerge

A gay man was attacked outside a West Village McDonalds for doing nothing more than wearing pink shoelaces and bright clothing, according to the victim.

Damian Furtch, 26, was pummeled early Sunday by two suspects shouting anti-gay epithets, police said.

The beating was the third bias attack in the neighborhood since October.

Bullying Tactics?

Gay Bash Benefits Gay Bashing Victim

On February 22, around 11:00 p.m., Shortell was walking home to his apartment on Kent Avenue and North Fourth Street, a walk that never felt unsafe to him before, when he was brutally attacked by a group of four teenagers. The details were fuzzy after that and as a result of the incident, Shortell suffered a fractured chin and nose; eye sockets and cheekbones, requiring ten hours of immediate surgery, several days in the hospital, and a month of recovery since.

Bullying tactics?   Bullying tactics?   Here’s the problem: the scapegoats aren’t taking it anymore.   They’re fighting back.   Where is the outrage in the corporate news media…the comfortable McMansion in the rich white suburbs corporate news media?   Once again, it’s directed at gay Americans.   For standing up for their human dignity.   For defending themselves against hate.   For fighting back.   Republicans inciting hatred for votes is just Business As Usual.   Gays asking businesses to walk the walk not just talk the talk on civil rights is front page news!   How dare they.   Don’t they know their place anymore?   What is this world coming to, when even homosexuals demand to be treated with respect?   Who told the them they had a right not to be bullied?   It certainly wasn’t us.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Bullying Tactics

October 10th, 2010

But We Must Consider The Feelings Of The Bullies Too…

The problem with directly confronting and dealing with anti-gay bullying is apparently we have to do it in a way that doesn’t make the bullies feel like they’re doing anything wrong…

Suicide surge: Schools confront anti-gay bullying

A spate of teen suicides linked to anti-gay harassment is prompting school officials nationwide to rethink their efforts against bullying – and in the process, risk entanglement in a bitter ideological debate.The conflict: Gay-rights supporters insist that any effective anti-bullying program must include specific components addressing harassment of gay youth. But religious conservatives condemn that approach as an unnecessary and manipulative tactic to sway young people’s views of homosexuality.

It’s a highly emotional topic. Witness the hate mail – from the left and right – directed at Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District while it reviews its anti-bullying strategies in the aftermath of a gay student’s suicide…

What leaps out at you first here is the rote equivocation on the part of this mainstream reporter.   Instead of stating what is simply a fact here that religious conservatives insist young people’s views of homosexuals must remain negative, its religious conservatives condemn that approach as an unnecessary and manipulative tactic to sway young people’s views of homosexuality.   Never mind that.   Note that its hate mail when it comes both from the homophobes and people outraged at what homophobes are doing to helpless children.

Reporters can’t be taking sides after all.   Just imagine the national outrage and loathing if the news media was as carefully neutral toward Al Qaeda.   We can’t call them terrorists after all, that would be taking sides…

This in a nutshell, is why gay kids are dying.   The religious right has successfully convinced everyone that brutalizing gays is an essential part of their religious freedom. Hating Jews might raise a few eyebrows. Hating people of color might get them some frowns of disapproval. But to even question that they are and have been for decades now engaged in a systematic campaign of hate mongering, let alone question their need to hate their gay neighbor is apparently a step too far. And the consequence is that gay kids feel as though they have no friends in the adult world.   Their need for love and acceptance in this world is of no more importance then the need of bigots to spit in their faces and look the other way while their kids kick them in the stomach.   They are alone.

But if we act aggressively to protect gay kids from bullying we’re taking sides and that just wouldn’t be fair…

But at least four younger teens have killed themselves since July after being targeted by anti-gay bullying, including Justin Aaberg, 15, of Andover, Minn., who hanged himself in his room in July. His friends told his mother he’d been a frequent target of bullies mocking his sexual orientation.Five other students in his Anoka-Hennepin school district have killed themselves in the past year, and gay-rights advocates say bullying may have played a role in two of these cases as well.

Carlson, the district superintendent, lost a teenage daughter of his own in a car crash, and says he shares the anguish of the parents bereaved by suicide. He acknowledges that a controversial district policy calling for “neutrality” in classroom discussions of sexual orientation may have created an impression among some teachers, students and outsiders that school staff wouldn’t intervene aggressively to combat anti-gay bullying.

As we software engineers say, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature…

[Edited a tad…]

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

January 18th, 2010

“Against The Public Policy Of The State”

Posted on Truth Wins Out…

Here in my home state of Maryland, state delegate Emmett Burns Jr. (D – Baltimore County), known among activists here as a reliable opponent of equality for gay citizens, went on the offensive right out of the gate this year.   The legislative session had hardly begun when he introduced House Bill 90, to invalidate same-sex marriages performed in other states

But it isn’t just marriage Burns, and his anti-gay cohorts in the Maryland legislature want to deny gay Marylanders…it’s acknowledgment of the basic humanity we share with our heterosexual neighbors…and support in our time of grief.

Support such as that the Maryland Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, which gives money to victims of violent crime to help with medical and legal expenses. Along with the news of Burn’s latest attack on same sex couples, came news in the Baltimore Sun of a gay man shot and killed, apparently at random by a young man who had been overheard to say “I’m going to kill myself a gay tonight”.   The killer left in his wake one dead man, and a grieving companion of 13 years.   Burns, a longtime foe of same sex marriage will, if he has his way, insure that no grieving gay spouse will ever see a cent of help from the Board, even if they avail themselves of marriage outside the state.

What you need to understand about situations like this is they’re not a bug, they’re a feature.   The message must be that the state does not care one whit what happens to gay people.   But more then that, gay people must suffer, simply for existing.   And what better time to drive the knife into our hearts then when we are burying our dead.   Because if we don’t bleed, if our hearts don’t ache, then men like Burns, who says he is a Baptist minister, just aren’t being righteous enough.

You can read the rest of my TWO post Here.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on “Against The Public Policy Of The State”

September 29th, 2009

Apology From ABC In 3…2…1…Never…

The other day, while Judy Shepard, the mother of murdered gay college student Matthew Shepard, was giving a talk about hate crimes, a man rose from the audience to call her a liar

About 45 minutes in, a man rose and asked a question that amounted to repeating a current popular right-wing lie – Matthew Shepard was killed because his killers were high and wanted to rob him; his sexual orientation was irrelevant. Mrs. Shepard refuted the claim – pointing out that in one of the killer’s confessions, he admitted they acted because of Shepard’s sexual orientation; the other, in his statement in court, admitted the same. Neither men tested positive for drugs or alcohol after Matthew’s murder. The interlocutor asserted at this point that she was lying and doing a disservice to history by lying about the reasons for her son’s murder. To my eyes, Judy Shepard appeared visibly upset by the man’s accusations. He claimed to be relying on a report from 20/20…

Ah yes…the 20/20 whitewash.  That gift to America’s bigots that keeps on giving…

“The Matthew Shepard Story: Secrets of a Murder,” which aired Nov. 26, promised shocking new information about the case. But it contained mostly speculation, scandalous details, unreliable new witnesses and revised confessions. The premise of the report by Elizabeth Vargas was that McKinney attacked Shepard during a robbery under the influence of crystal meth and that the murder had nothing to do with the victim’s sexuality…

Vargas went out of her way to show that McKinney and Henderson did not hate gay people. She questioned previous reports that characterized them as “rednecks” (her word), and tells viewers that in fact they had steady jobs and girlfriends. Vargas reported that Shepard’s friends promoted the hate crime theory in the days following the attack…

Emphasis mine.  I’ve written about the hacktacular 20/20 piece before.  But it is best summed up by Rob DeBree, the lead investigator on the case…

In his confession to DeBree, McKinney had denied using meth the day of the murder, and while McKinney had been arrested too late for the police to confirm this through blood testing, DeBree felt certain that McKinney had for once told the truth.  Obviously it’s unsurprising that the lead investigator would disagree with the defense, but DeBree had some compelling reasons on his side.  "There’s no way" it was a meth crime, DeBree argued, still passionate about the issue when I met him nearly six months after the trial had ended.  No evidence of recent drug use was "found in a search of their residences.  There was no evidence in the truck.  From everything we were able to investigate, the last time they would have done meth would have been two to three weeks previous to that night.  What the defense attempted to do was a bluff."  Meth crimes do have hallmarks.  One, "Overkill," certainly seems to describe what happened to Matt, but no others so seamlessly fit that night: "A meth crime is going to be a quick attack," DeBree pointed out.  "It’s going to be a manic attack…  No.  This was a sustained event.  And somebody that’s high on meth is not going to be targeting and zeroing in on a head, and deliver the blows that they did in the way that they did," with such precision.  "Consistently it was targeted, and even if you’re drunk, you’re going to have a tough time trying to keep your target.  No.  There’s absolutely no involvement with drugs."

Beth Loffreda,  Loosing Matt Shepard.  pg 133 – 134

A week after we met in his office, Rob [DeBree] took me to the crime scene.  As we drove out to the fence in a Sheriff’s Office SUV, he stopped in mid-sentence by the Wal-Mart"  "Here’s where it began," he told me and gestured in imitation of McKinney striking Matt.  We restart the conversation, but he’s made his point: the drive to the fence seems unimaginably long.  It’s not far – no more then a mile or two – but the rutted dirt road they turned on to makes for extremely slow driving.  When I say something to Rob about how long it takes, he agrees.  "They were coming here to finish him."  On that dirt track, it is hard to believe the defense attorney’s claims that the two killers had been drunk or high on drugs or crazed by homosexual panic.  It just takes too long to get to the fence…

Beth Loffreda,  Loosing Matt Shepard.  pg 155 – 156

"I have never worked a homicide with this much evidence," Rob says, all these months later a bit of wonder still bleeding into his voice.  "It was like a case of God giving it to us.  I’m not kidding.  The whole way it broke down from the beginning to the end – it was like, here it is, boys: work it.  It’s almost like it pissed off God, and he says, oh well, come here, let me walk you over here, walk you over there, pick up all this, pick up all that.  It was just a gift.

Beth Loffreda,  Loosing Matt Shepard.  pg 157

I drove that same path when I was in Laramie, to the extent I was able to before coming upon all the "private property signs", and that same impression swept over me like a cold clammy sickness.  You simply cannot drive the path that Shepard’s killers took and come away from it believing that it was simply a robbery gone bad.  Unless of course, that is what you need to believe. 

Considering the sorry state of American journalism, to say the 20/20 piece represented a new low is almost complementary.  But historically it is unremarkable.  Since the 1950s, mainstream American journalism has always excused anti-gay violence, usually by blaming the victim.  ABC didn’t so much sink to a new low, as pound some well worn territory.  There is no violent anti-gay hatred in America, only homosexuals who go too far and suffer the consequences.  That is what the news media in this country believes, if not on the beat, then without a doubt in the boardroom.

But now the creators of The Laramie Project have returned to their work to write an epilogue.  And in the process they’ve interviewed one of the killers, Aaron McKinney…

"As far as Matt is concerned, I don’t have any remorse," McKinney is quoted as saying in the script, which was provided to The Associated Press by the production company.

McKinney, according to the script, reiterates his claim that the 1998 killing in Laramie, Wyo., started out as a robbery, but makes clear that his antipathy toward gays played a role.

"The night I did it, I did have hatred for homosexuals," McKinney is quoted as saying. He goes on, according to the script, to say that he still dislikes gays and that his perceptions about Shepard’s sex life bolstered his belief that the killing was justified.

Emphasis mine.  But wait…there’s More

According to the script, McKinney expresses empathy with Shepard’s parents over the loss of their son, though he adds about Judy Shepard: "Still, she never shuts up about it, and it’s been like 10 years."

Gaze for a moment, if you have the nerve, into that utterly empty heart and then contemplate this fact: mainstream American news publishers, editors, owners, that rarefied media club of old boy straight male testosterone, still believes, 40 years after Stonewall, decades into the gay community’s struggle for equality here in America, that gay kids like Matthew Shepard are less a normal part of American society then this cold blooded killer is.  The killer they can understand.  They don’t approve of what he did that night, but they understand him.  The gay kid they simply cannot.  He was flaunting it.  He was coming on to someone who was disgusted by homosexuals.  He should have known better.  He brought it on himself.  In the end, when all the other excuses have withered away…it was a robbery gone bad…it was drugs…that knee-jerk understanding of McKinney’s disgust at homosexuals, that if Shepard hadn’t come onto him he would still be alive today, will remain, unmovable.

The media establishment does not regard homophobia as a problem because in the boardrooms, among the CEOs, media owners and big dollar producers, disgust is a normal reaction to homosexuality.  See it here, in this article on 10 Sexual Controversies That Changed TV… 

With everything from the new Melrose Place to trashy Twilight knockoffs, the new Fall TV season promises steamy viewing. Hemlines may rise and morals may fall, but TV writers would do well to remember that presenting sex on network TV has always been a tricky business. Though we’ve come a long way since Ricky Ricardo knocked up Lucy, only to discover that the network censors wouldn’t let him say the word “pregnant,” it’s amazing how sensitive the suits still are to sex. Here are ten TV shows in which the sex lives of their characters dramatically changed the entire series, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

Yet in one instance after another that the authors cite, it’s homosexuality that causes an uproar, not so much among the viewing audience, as in the boardroom.  Are you old enough to remember watching all of these TV shows and wonder why the gay characters never had lovers and somehow always ended up dating women…?

In the end, the network had it both ways, collecting their big ratings when everyone tuned in at the start to see what the fuss was about, then ordering that the creators downplay the sexy stuff and reshape the central storyline into a murder mystery. The worst damage was done to Crystal’s character, who attempted suicide in the hospital after being dumped by his boyfriend on the eve of his gender-reassignment surgery. He survived, but while the character continued to identify as gay, he never hooked up with another guy in the course of the series; instead, he had a quick fling with a woman, got her pregnant, and spent much of his remaining time on the show fighting for custody of his daughter…

…religious groups, rather than being impressed with Sidney’s anti-abortion bona fides, made such a stink about the idea of a gay man on TV that NBC delayed airing the pilot for a year, then insisted that Sidney be gelded. Apparently Sidney was so crushed by the death of his one male lover (whose photo on the mantelpiece watched over the action like a baleful ghost) that he could never date again. When, towards the end of the second season, he dipped one toe back into the dating pool, it was with a woman, as if he’d been on the shelf so long that he’d forgotten his orientation…

…Early ratings were shaky, and the CBS brass decided that it must have something to do with viewers being put off by threatening lesbian vibes. Though both characters were supposed to be straight, it was felt that when the two dark-haired, hard-edged actresses were seen in close proximity to each other, they looked like, in the words of an unidentified CBS executive, “a couple of dykes.” It was decided that the best way to solve the problem was to fire Foster and replace herwith the blonde Sharon Gless, who, according to some mysterious executive calculation, was judged more Malibu Beach than Isle of Lesbos…

…Coming at the end of an episode, the kiss was tantamount to a cliffhanger; it all but guaranteed that slack-jawed viewers would tune in next week. Those who did got to see Donohoe deliver a back-pedaling speech about how she liked both men and women equally and would be happy just to be friends if that’s what her new friend preferred, while Greene “considered” exploring a new side of herself before deciding that, nope, she wouldn’t be going there…

The show had a resident good-looking gay guy — Matt Fielding, played by Doug Savant — who, in contrast to the juicy goings-on by the hormonally deranged straight people all around him, seemed almost pathologically stable. When Matt was permitted to enjoy an on-screen kiss with a man, the network edited it out of the program before allowing the episode to be broadcast, though they had no problem with having him gay-bashed on camera, twice

…As the show neared its seventh season, there was a persistent and widespread rumor that the youngest Connor child, D.J., was going to announce he was gay. It never happened — the big surprise of the season premiere turned out to be that Roseanne herself was pregnant again…

In 2005 the Hollywood establishment fled from Brokeback Mountain into the comforting arms of Crash, a self-serving story about racism in Los Angles, so John Wayne wouldn’t be rolling in his grave.  Next year saw a remake of 3:10 to Yuma, with an added psychotic homosexual killer subtext that wasn’t in the original.  Of course the psychotic homosexual killer is himself killed in the film’s climax, to avenge the heterosexuality of the hero.  So the establishment returns again and again to its comfort food:  Homophobia isn’t a problem, homosexuality is.  Disgust toward homosexuals is both natural and normal.  It is only when homosexuals flaunt it that things get violent and that is simply to be expected.

20/20 didn’t do a story about why Matthew Shepard was murdered, it did a story about why anti-gay hate coudn;t possibly have had anything to do with it.  And if you think this latest confession from his killer changes that you aren’t paying attention.  McKinney’s disgust and acid loathing are understood and shared throughout the media establishment, and so they see nothing out of the ordinary.  It merely confirms for them that essential truth that it was Shepard’s being open about his homosexuality that got him killed.  If you are a homosexual and you are open about it then you bring it on yourself.  You should have known better.  In the old media boardrooms that’s not considered hate, but merely a fact of life.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Apology From ABC In 3…2…1…Never…

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