Hate Crimes Against Homosexuals: A Controversial Issue

Shortly after midnight on October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard was leaving a party in a Laramie, Wyoming club. He was offered a ride home by fellow party goers, Russel Henderson and Aaron McKiney, but little did he know what their intentions were.

Once in the car, the two men robbed Matthew and "pistol-whipped" him to keep him under their control. They tortured him for hours before tying him to a fence post. That afternoon he was found by Aaron Krefels, a local cyclist. Krefels had found him eighteen hours after his attack. He was in a coma because of fractures to the back of his head and brain stem damage he had recieved from his attackers.

After five days on life support, with injuries doctors deemed too severe to operate, Matthew died. He had not regained consciousness beforehand. He never had the chance to truly live his life.

The murderers were picked up following Matthew's death. His shoes, wallet, and a gun covered in his blood were found in the trunk of their car. During the trial, Aaron McKinney gave a variety of reasons as to why they killed Matthew, such as the "gay panic defence"; this argues that they were driven to temporary insanity due to advances that Matthew Shepard allegedly made.

Matthew Shepard was a victim of a hate crime. A hate crime is a crime committed against a person because of a specific reason (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.). In Shepard's case, it was the fact that he was a homosexual man. And crimes against homosexuals are becoming more and more frequent. "Lesbians and gays are the third highest targeted groups. 735 were committed against gay men, and 146 were against lesbians, and according to the FBI, hate crimes against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people represent 14% of hate crimes committed in the United States." (stophate. us)

One example of anti-gay hate crimes was the situation that Damian Furch found himself in on the way home from work on March 30, 2011. He stopped at a local McDonalds at around 4:30 in the morning near his West Village home. He left the eatery because two patrons were making him feel uncomfortable, and was across the street when the same two patrons caught up to him; they began yelling gay slurs and that's when fists were thrown. Damian had to get stitches and reconstructive surgery for his broken nose.

But why do people have so much hate inside of them, and why aim that hate towards homosexuals? The may reason being that the bible says that it is a sin.

"Mankind shall not lie with mankind as he would with womankind. It is an abomination"
Leviticus 18:22

These are the words frequently said by people that do not support the homosexual lifestyle. People like Fred Phelps, founder of the Wesboro Baptist Church. WBC is a church that follows mainly Calvinist views, which are mainly that they are the chosen few to go to heaven when they die. Their beliefs are that Americans will all be sent to hell because they allow the homosexual lifestyle to continue to exist. They protest at the funerals of soldiers, saying that they died because the United States condones homosexuality. They also use this same logic at the funerals of AIDs victims, the funerals of random acts of violence, and, most "importantly", Lady Gaga concerts. Because her music, obviously, is making everyone homosexual!

The church has gained more bad publicity over the years for protesting at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, soldiers, and threatening to do so at the funeral of Cristina Taylor-Green; the nine year old girl that was shot during the 2011 Tucson, Arizona shooting. Their actions have also gotten them banned from ever entering the United Kingdom.

I mention the acts and tactics of the Westboro Baptist Church because they are a large representation of an extremist hate organization. They are monitored by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, both are civil rights organizations. People like "Reverend" Fred Phelps (who is not an ordained priest) inspire people like Russel Henderson and Aaron McKiney to do what they do.

But there are also people like Scott Long. Long is the executive director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. Also there is Harvey Milk. Milk was on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and was the first openly gay man to be elected. He was assassinated with Mayor George Moscone by Dan White. Milk spend the majority of his career trying to make California safer for not only LGBT citizens, but every citizen.

There are many people locally who are trying to help the LGBT youth of Michigan, such as Cassidy Creech, a senior at Canton High School that began the GSA Alliance of South East Michigan through the local GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) chapter. He created the organization because he wanted to bring local Gay-Straight Alliances together so that they could brain storm with one another and so that friendships could be made. I, myself, am a part of this organization representing Royal Oak High School's Gay-Straight Alliance. Not only do local high schools attend the meetings of this organization, but there are about five colleges that regularly attend.

"I fully realize that a person who stands for what I stand for, an activist, a gay activist, because the target or the potential target for a person who is insecure, terrified, afraid, or very disturbed with themselves." Harvey Milk, on a tape he made to be played in the event of his assassination.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Heather / hdierks1 said...
May 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm
This is a wonderfuly writen paper and I was very moved by it. You brought up some very good points. Well done :) 
 
cursedremains replied...
May 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm
Thank you so much! I really appreciate the comment.
 
Heather replied...
May 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm
Your welcome :) I passed this on through my facebook, and will mention it on my youtube channel hdierks1 because i think it's well writen and has some very good points :) 
 
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