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9 August 2002

I'm on an e-mail list managed by a friend in Texas who sends out articles of interest to the gay and gay-friendly community. The articles are from newspapers all over the world with items about the good and the bad--legislation which is helpful, or harmful to the gay community, instances of injustice, instances of support (legislation which gives same sex couples equal rights, for example). I don't always read all the articles, but I at least read the headlines.

The best articles are those where gay individuals, or gay couples, are treated the same as everyone else. Nobody pointing fingers or yelling epithets. Just normal people.

The worst articles are those which recount instances of physical harm, especially when that violence is condoned by local law enforcement.

This morning I read this headline: "Marcano Freed of Killing Designer."

The story is from Independence Square, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The defendant, Marcano, assisted in the murder of a 26 year old clothing designer in 1999. Apparently Marcano and a friend had gone to the home of the victim to watch television. At some point Marcano's friend went to the bathroom and the victim apparently propositioned him. The two began to argue and, as the article continues:

Nyron left, went upstairs to the kitchen, armed himself with a Chinese chopper and he and Lynch began to fight.

Marcano said in his statement that he held Lynch while Nyron chopped him "because he was fighting back and I did not want anything to happen to my friend."

Lynch was chopped 42 times, his skull was split open in the back, his face was chopped open and he had several injuries to his chest and limbs.

He was convicted of the murder, but his conviction has just been overturned by an Appeals Court.

"It was a classic case of provocation," the Chief Justice said, adding that Lynch had wanted to sodomise the two young men.

He said there could be nothing "more heinous, more reprehensible" than for someone to be subjected to such an advance.

Now think about that. Read that again. The victim propositioned the men. He didn't attempt to rape them. They murdered him by chopping him 42 times. His skull was split open in the back, his face was chopped open. And the judge feels this was justified because he dared to proposition the two men?????

"The acts themselves were so unnatural that they would have caused a certain reaction," he added

I'm sitting here in total amazement. I'm trying to imagine a man chopping to bits a woman he wasn't interested in because she had dared to hint that she might enjoy a liaison. I'm trying to imagine a judge saying that the attack was justified because the murderer wasn't interested in having any sexual relationship with her.

What is it about homosexuality that prompts such physical reaction? Why is the very hint of an attraction of a man for another man (this doesn't seem to be as prevalent with female same sex attraction) prompt such outrage, such violence?

I read once that most (admittedly not all) straight murders are committed by means that distance the murderer from his victim. They are shot with a gun, for example--an act which can be done from across a room, or across a street. Poisoning involves no hands on contact. While there are some "up close and personal" murders in the straight community, the majority of them are done at some distance.

This usually doesn't happen with a murder (or attempted murder) of a gay person by a straight person. If you read articles for any length of time, you'll find that attacks like this one, with massive trauma that can be accomplished only by getting your hands on the victim are the vast majority of them. Look at the condition of Matthew Shepard. Read the story of my friend Gabi Clayton's son Bill.

What is there about the hint that a gay man finds another man attractive that causes a straight man to snap, to commit such brutal attacks? Why do packs of straight men feel they have the right to beat up a single gay man? And worst of all, why do judges and/or juries feel that these murderers are somehow justified in their heinous acts simply because they might have been propositioned by someone of the same sex.

Are men so unsure of their own sexual identity that they have to lash out in such a vicious, violent fashion on encountering someone of the same gender who finds them attractive?

There is absolutely no logic for the violence that I can even begin to understand.

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(site of the murder of Matthew Shepard)

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Thank you for nominating my entry, Moving On for a DiaristNet award!

Quote of the Day

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

--John 13:34

By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

--John 13:35

Why does it take five great big guys
to beat up one little queer?
I think it's fear

--Steve Schalchlin

Picture of the Day

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Bill Clayton, age 16

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Bill committed suicide
following the hate crime asault


One Year Ago
Purple Catsup
When my aunt and uncle came to the table, what they saw were stone cold multi-colored mashed potatoes, pathetic meatballs, and totally inedible string beans. And two very proud cooks.

Two Years Ago
American Way of Grief
Times of loss are when you are the most vulnerable, when you rely so heavily on people to be strong when you can’t and when those people are often so terribly uncomfortable that they can’t bear the thought of having to deal with your tears, having to see your grief.

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