Tag Archives: New York City

“You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.” ― John Morley, On Compromise

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There has been a great deal of heated discussion recently concerning an organization called GLAAD. GLAAD was founded in New York City in 1985 “… to protest against what it saw as the New York Post’s defamatory and sensationalized AIDS coverage, GLAAD put pressure on media organizations to end what it saw as homophobic reporting.” (Wikipedia) In 2012 GLAAD founded the Commentator Accountability Project (CAP). GLAAD maintains the purpose of CAP is to give a public airing of what various anti-gay commentators are saying and have said when they are not speaking through the mainstream media. Critics in the United States, generally those anti-gay commentators singled out in CAP and their supporters, accuse GLAAD of trying to impose censorship, that is, to stifle 1st Amendment guarantees of freedom of expression and freedom of religion. As a gay man, the anti-gay commentary GLAAD brings to light concerns me. I agree it needs to be challenged. However, censorship is an issue that resonates with me also, as I am a librarian and as such have a mandate to uphold intellectual freedom and freedom of expression. Continue reading

Once again, there will be a chorus screaming “special rights” when the subject of gay bashing being punished as a hate crime arises. But near as anybody can tell, the opportunity to be threatened, humiliated and to live in fear of being beaten to death is the only “special right” our culture bestows on homosexuals.–Diane Carman

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Is gay bashing a hate crime? Does it merit prosecution and punishment as a hate crime? The murder of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, in 1998 ignited the debate over these questions when it was alleged his assailants Aaron McKinney, and Russell Henderson targeted him because he was gay. In the course of the court proceedings against Aaron McKinney in November 1999, Prosecutor Calvin Rerucha stated:

The two had led Shepard to believe they were gay. Matthew, believing they wanted to discuss the politics and struggle of the gay movement, followed McKinney and Henderson into their truck. After getting in the truck, Henderson said “McKinney pulled out a gun and told Matthew Shepard to give him his wallet.” McKinney said “Guess what. We’re not gay. And you’re gonna get jacked.” When Matthew refused, McKinney hit him with the gun. With Henderson behind the wheel, they drove more than a mile outside Laramie, as Matthew begged for his life, McKinney struck him while Henderson laughed. “He (McKinney) told me to get a rope out of the truck,” Henderson said. According to Henderson, McKinney allegedly tied Shepard’s beaten body to a wooden split-rail post fence, robbed him of his wallet and patent leather shoes, continued to beat him and then left him to die for over 18 hours bleed profusely in near freezing temperatures “with only the constant Wyoming wind as his companion.” (as cited in Matthew Shepard)

His assailants pistol-whipped him so severely he had suffered fractures to the back of his head and in front of his right ear. He experienced severe brainstem damage, which affected his body’s ability to regulate heart rate, body temperature, and other vital functions. There were also about a dozen small lacerations around his head, face, and neck. His injuries were too severe for doctors to operate. He never regained consciousness, succumbing to his injuries at 12:53 a.m. on October 12, 1998, at Poudre Valley Hospital, in Fort Collins, Colorado. Continue reading