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26 MAY 2010

|| Uganda ||
Posted on May 26, 2010
Reporting From Uganda's Hate Factory

Is Uganda really as homophobic as many fear? Yes, says journalist Mariana van Zeller, who spent time in the nation while she was four and a half months pregnant for a Current TV report on the proposed "kill the gays" bill.

By Neal Broverman

While Uganda's proposed "kill the gays" bill has grabbed the attention of the LGBT world, many straight Americans have never even heard of it — or the American influence behind the bill. Wednesday night Current TV will premiere an episode dedicated to the bill on its documentary series, Vanguard. "Missionaries of Hate" delves into the issue, with Peabody Award-winning journalist Mariana van Zeller traveling to the heart of hate in Uganda.

Van Zeller spoke with Ugandan pastors like Martin Ssempa and American evangelicals like Scott Lively, both of whom have stirred up more homophobia in a nation already extremely antigay to begin with. Pregnant at the time, van Zeller also reached out to gay Ugandans, who wanted to speak on the increasingly desperate situation there. Back home in Los Angeles, van Zeller talked with The Advocate about her experiences in Uganda and provided more insight on what is really going on there.

The Advocate: Were you hesitant to take the story?

Mariana van Zeller: Not at all. The first time I saw a news clip on this bill, I immediately thought we had to do this story. I couldn’t believe this was happening. Shortly after, I started reading about the influence of American evangelicals and the strong belief that they influenced this bill. A couple of weeks later, we were on a plane to Uganda. We wanted to investigate what exactly was the role of American evangelicals on this bill and also what was life like for gays in Uganda and how things stand to change if this bill is passed.

What are the conditions like in the country? Are gays being scapegoated for issues like poverty and instability?

Unfortunately, homophobia exists across Africa. What Uganda has done is take it to another level. The hate that is being propagated in Uganda right now is extremely scary.

Uganda is a poor country; 30% of its income is dependent on foreign aid. But it’s politically stable, even though it had a war for many years that brought down the economy. The war faded and it’s been a stable country; it has stable leadership compared to other African nations. However, one of the questions we asked to many of these pastors was, "With so many problems like AIDS and poverty, why make this your main focus?" What they replied over and over again was that the family is the base of African culture and they believe that family values are being destroyed by what they call the "gay agenda," and so this is where they have to start their battles. If this isn’t taken care of, then everything else is at risk, which is of course, ridiculous.

Is there an ulterior motive with the people pushing this bill, like [member of parliament David] Bahati and Pastor Martin Ssempa?

Absolutely. Over 90% of the population is against homosexuality, which is a staggering statistic. Both Bahati and Ssempa really used this to increase their popularity. You can see that with a person like David Bahati, who was a relatively unknown politician before this and is now one of the most well-known people not only inside Uganda but around the world. The same thing happened with Pastor Ssempa — he’s been a popular pastor, but this has taken his popularity to a whole new level. What has surprised us is that he is extremely popular among young people. The majority of his congregation is young people. He holds church rallies every Saturday night at Makerere University, one of the most prestigious universities in East Africa, and it’s always packed with college students. His Sunday morning services are always packed with young people and are also held at the university.

To actually interview some of these young people is to see how they believe and trust every word Ssempa says; it's incredible. They really think homosexuals are evil and should be put in prison for life, and some actually said to us that “they should be killed.”

The antigay agenda seems to be pushed by an emphasis on the mechanics of certain sexual practices. Is that their ticket to turning people against gays?

Absolutely. They’re using a lot of the same language that is being used by some American evangelicals here when they talk about the threats of the gay agenda: the recruitment of children, the fact that gays aren’t born this way, that it’s a choice.

We were there reporting when the bill was really heating up, when Ssempa had become the face of this campaign and he was holding weekly church rallies and mass protests all around Uganda in support of the bill. Again and again, he would show gay porn because he thought it was important to show people what gay people do in the privacy of their home because. He’d say, “You know, [gays] say it’s not our business what they do in the privacy of their own bedroom, but let me show you what they do in the privacy of their bedroom.” Obviously it’s a completely distorted image of what gays do. He’s showing fisting, very graphic images in front of congregations of hundreds of people, children included. He’s showing, as he calls it, the "eating of poo-poo" — and so that’s what people think represents gay sex. So, after seeing and hearing this, they think gays from the West are coming into their country and actively recruiting children into homosexuality, and then the result of that is they want gays jailed or killed.

It seemed almost impossible to find someone who would defend gays. Is the national homophobia as widespread as it appears in your story?

It is, and that was extremely surprising to us. We went to the market with a man named Long Johns who is gay, and he asked people at the market, who didn't know he was gay, what they thought of this bill and what they thought of gays, and then we saw his reaction. The majority of people said gays deserve life in prison or death. Unfortunately, it really is the majority of the country [that holds that opinion].

There must be educated people who know this propaganda is not true. Why are they not speaking up?

There was a human rights conference that was held mainly to speak about this bill. There was an American professor invited and human rights and gay activists that got together and spoke about how unconstitutional and against human rights this bill was. Shortly after the conference started, a member of parliament stood up and basically took over the conference and used some of the harshest words I'd heard in Uganda. He said he hopes this bill is introduced and he hopes he is allowed to be a hangman and allowed to hang gays. I tracked him down after the conference and asked him a few questions. He said it's not just me or David Bahati who believes this, it's 90% of Ugandan parliament [that] is against homosexuality and feels, some way or another, this bill should be passed. So this idea that it's some crazy nut in Uganda and the majority doesn't think this way is not true.

How do the gay Ugandans keep up their spirits?

One of our main goals for going to Uganda was to find out what life was like for gay Ugandans. We’ve seen news clips and things written about the bill but we wanted to get as close as we could to gays in Uganda so we could get a sense of what life was like. We knew it was going to be challenging because there’s a lot of fear in the community, so we didn’t know how many would speak on camera because they’re risking their lives. It was amazing how many people were willing to speak on camera, including Long Johns, who opened up his life to us. He said, “There can be risk involved by showing my face, but I believe this is the right thing to do. I want to raise awareness of what is happening in my country and among my peers. I believe by showing my face, I can make a difference.”

Was it scary reporting the story?

Never scary for me. More scary for the people we were interviewing. We had one young gay man named Gerald who agreed to be interviewed and we asked, "Would you feel comfortable doing this interview walking down the street?" He immediately said, "Yes, I can take you to the neighborhood where I grew up." During that conversation he kept pointing out people looking at us. He said there were certain words I can't say like "homosexual," so we were using code words. He knew if we used certain words, we could get attention, and he said, "If they find out I'm gay and speaking to you, a group could come up and start beating me." In fact, during one point in our conversation, one taxi driver kept giving him intimidating looks. At that point we stopped the interview.

Was it hard to remain objective?

Yes. It was extremely difficult to keep quiet while you're listening to all these religious men and politicians who have enormous influence saying these outrageous remarks. However, our role there was to get them as comfortable as possible so they could speak as openly as possible, so that we could show people around the world what is actually happening in Uganda.

You know, I was four and a half months pregnant in Uganda. At one point it came out to Ssempa and other pastors that I was pregnant. Their first reaction was for them to put their hands on my belly and start praying for my baby to not be homosexual. I really had to contain myself not to say, "Stop it. Take your hands off my belly; my baby can be whoever he wants to be." But I thought it was important to let it go so that I could interview him and really get his thoughts on homosexuality and get his message back to the United States.

The segment delves into American evangelicals coming over and spreading antigay animus. Do you think there will be fewer pastors coming to Uganda because they don't want to be attached to legislation involving execution?

There have been many American evangelicals who have distanced themselves from this bill, and one of them is Rick Warren. Warren has very close ties to Ssempa — Ssempa actually called Warren a wimp — "He comes to Uganda and says homosexuality is evil and then he goes to the United States and says this bill is wrong."

But it hasn't stopped American evangelicals from going to Uganda. Just in the beginning of May, Lou Engle from a group called TheCall, who was involved in the passing of Prop. 8, visited Uganda and attended a rally that had all the main players of the bill there. Even though he didn't say he wasn't for this bill, he said Uganda was ground zero and Ugandans should stay firm in the face of evil. That had enormous damage. Many American evangelicals have condemned the bill, but as many gays in Uganda have told us, sending out a press release is not enough. This bill has an American face to it, especially to the gay community in Uganda. What they pinpoint again and again is this March 2009 conference where they say things really took a turn for the worse — it was attended by these three American evangelicals. Since then, the path to legislation is being pushed by men who have long histories with American evangelicals. These evangelicals need to go to Uganda and take back what they previously said, and say, "This bill is wrong and we absolutely condemn it." We haven't seen anyone do that.

American evangelical Scott Lively told you Uganda is a Christian nation, while America is not. Is that part of the reason people like him are going to Uganda, because their voices are no longer being heard in the U.S.?

Absolutely. Scott Lively is not really taken seriously in the U.S. This is the guy who wrote The Pink Swastika that says gays are responsible for the Holocaust; he's sort of a fringe character. But he goes to Uganda and he's treated like Billy Graham. There's a certain amount of credibility one has in Uganda just by being an American, so every word they say there carries a lot of weight. So it shouldn't have been a surprise that a month after the evangelicals' March 2009 visit, this bill was introduced in parliament

The bill seems to be dying a slow death. What do you think will happen?

It looks like it might indeed be dying. But next year is an election year in Uganda, and with over 90% of the population being against homosexuality, President Yoweri Museveni has a really tough choice to make. He can risk losing public support and votes if he condemns the bill, or he can risk losing foreign aid by pushing the bill. So things are very much up in the air.

What has the president said about the bill publicly?

He issued one statement that I know of. He didn't say whether he supported it or not. He said, "It's incredible, with all the problems that exist in this country, that Hillary Clinton is now obsessed with this." Many supporters of this antigay campaign took that as a veiled endorsement because they thought he was saying Americans should mind their own business.

Is the bill dying simply out of practical reasons?

I think there's an enormous amount of international pressure on president Museveni right now.

Is the typical Ugandan aware of the financial ramifications of this bill passing?

No, in fact, when we confronted Ugandans on this, they said, "We can live perfectly without foreign aid. It's more important for us to put homosexuals in prison."

29 JANUARY 2011

From care2 online 28 January 2011:

Openly Gay Ugandan Advocate Beaten to Death

By: Molly Conley

Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato has been beaten to death, according to the BBC. Kato, a well known gay rights activist and officer with Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), had his picture, name and address plastered across a Ugandan tabloid in October with the headline "100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos Leak." ť The subheading on the cover read "Hang them."

The magazine, called Rolling Stone, has a circulation of about 2,000 and has no association with the United States publication.

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition asking the UK to grant asylum to Brenda Namigadde!

Kato and SMUG had gotten a permanent injunction forcing Rolling Stone to cease publishing names and photos in their tabloid, but it seems that may have come too late. The police say that they believe Kato was killed in a robbery gone wrong.

Three evangelical missionaries from the United States came under fire last March where they, according to The New York Times, discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how "the gay movement is an evil institution"ť whose goal is "to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity."

Shortly after the evangelicals presented in Uganda, the Anti-Homosexuality bill was introduced in Parliament. The bill would put to death those who had been convicted of homosexuality. After much protest, the death penalty was dropped from the bill, the entirety of which seems to have been shelved.

Reuters was able to speak with Rolling Stone editor Giles Muhame, who said "There has been a lot of crime, it may not be because he is gay. We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them."

David Kato's death is especially terrifying for 29-year-old Brenda Namigadde. Namigadde is a lesbian in the U.K. who will be deported back to Uganda on Friday. She has not been granted asylum because officials say that there is not sufficient proof that she is a lesbian. Namigadde is understandably terrified, telling The Advocate "It's really very scary to go back to Uganda. My life is gone as well. I am in danger. [Kato] is the one who was trying to stand for people."

Please sign the petition asking the UK to grant asylum to Brenda Namigadde!


25 MAY 1895

OSCAR WILDE - incarcerated for 2 years by the British judiciary


MICHAEL BOOTHE, ACTOR, murdered in London July/August 1990. A report in the SSO of 10 August 1990 from Capital Gay (UK) stated: Actor Michael Boothe’s brutal murder has sparked an outcry over growing “queerbashing” and police harassment of London’s gay community, with marches and meetings. Organiser, Keith Alcorn, says, “We get bombarded with homophobia in the press, in the streets, in our everyday lives. It’s a matter of gay rights being human rights, and our demanding that we get them.”

26 January 1996

This report was in the Melbourne Star Observer of 26 January 1996:

"Glasgow: In a British legal first, a lesbian who murdered a man with whom her female lover was having an affair has received a reduced sentence because of the "provocation" caused by the relationship. Previously the marital-cheating "provocation" defence has only applied to heterosexual killers, according to a report in The Scotsman. The High Court in Glasgow earlier this month sentenced Vicki McKean, 28, to eight years imprisonment for the murder of Stephen Blackwell, 40, saying his relationship with Connie Andrew, 27, mitigated the crime. McKean had stabbed Blackwell eleven times as he sat in her living room."

(SSO 20 February 1997 - Kevin Muhyiddin - Bath UK murder)

(SSO 060397 transvestite prostitute - stabbed to death - London)

(SSO 130397 Frederick Sweet murdered in Plymouth UK November 1995, Bernard Hawken seriously injured)

APRIL 1999

ANDREA DYKES, JOHN LITTLE, NIK MOORE murdered in Soho, London, Admiral Duncan pub bombing, April 1999. David Copeland, ex-member of the British National Party, was given six life sentences on 30 June 2000 after the jury concluded he was "bad not mad". As the jury foreman declared him a murderer, and an extraordinary roar erupted from the massed ranks of his victims squeezed on to the benches behind him, David Copeland smirked. Copeland's room in Broadmoor is decorated with a Nazi flag. Copeland taught himself bomb-making from the Internet and became Britain's first serial bomber driven by hatred and racism. He told detectives he wanted to sow the seeds of a race war. During a 14-day bombing campaign, he injured 139 people in blasts that included devices at a street market in Brixton High Street and in Brick Lane, East London, home of the Bangladeshi community. In a letter from Broadmoor, Copeland wrote: "I can't believe I have fooled the doctors." - referring to the assessing psychiatrists.

Gary Reid survived the bomb blast but part of the bomb is still buried in the stump of his left leg, which was amputated above the knee after the blast. Reid, a psychiatric nurse before the blast, said his former job makes him more understanding than most when it comes to the man who planted the bomb.

"It was interesting to see how pathetic he is," Mr Reid said. What he did to me, to all those people, to society was unforgivable, but I have no hate for the man. He is an extreme example of the homophobia and racism that still exists. We must make sure that such a thing never happens to anyone else again."

23 APRIL 2004

The Melbourne paper MCV reported the following item in its 23 April 2004 issue no. 174:

Skinhead Gay Slaying

November/December 2004

In London a spate of violent homophobic attackes has left 5 injured and one gay man dead. All the attacks took place around London's South Bank within a 15 minute period. A gang of youths apparently targeted patrons leaving gay clubs. The dead man was David Morley who survived the 1999 nail bombing of the Soho gay pub. Six people have been charged with his murder. Meanwhile, police are still searching for a man who stabbed a gay man on a London night bus.

SCOTLAND has seen a sharp increase in the reporting of anti-gay hate crime due, police say, to improved reportingstrategies and better liaison with the LGBT communities.

24 OCTOBER 2005

PlanetOut carried the following item as reported by U.K on 24 October 2005

London: Men charged in gay man's killing U.K. Monday, October 24, 2005 / 04:13 PM

SUMMARY: Two men were charged on Monday with the murder of gay bar manager Jody Dobrowski, who was brutally beaten in a London park.

Two men were charged on Monday with the murder of gay bar manager Jody Dobrowski.

The two men were arrested over the weekend and charged with the killing of Dobrowski, who was beaten to death on Clapham Common on Oct. 13.

Thomas Pickford, 25, who is reportedly unemployed and homeless, and decorator Scott Walker, 33, both from the Clapham area, appeared in a custody hearing on Monday.

Meanwhile, memorials from Jody's family, friends and work colleagues are continuing to pour in.

His mother issued a statement the day after his death, saying his "light would never be extinguished," while his friends have slammed the attackers who killed him.

Police have now said that the attack on Dobrowski was so ferocious that his face was unrecognizable. Officers said the 24-year-old had been punched and kicked until he was dead, with many injuries sustained to his head.

Detectives are urging those who were in the area of the murder at the time to come forward.

They are also keen to speak to anyone who saw Jody before the attack or saw anyone matching the suspect descriptions in the Battersea Rise area earlier in the evening.

26 MAY 2006

The Melbourne paper MCV reported the following in its issue 281 dated 26 May 2006:

Lesbian's murder 'horrrific"

A British court heard last week that a man on trial for killing a 34-year-old woman, her two children and her elderly mother, made the attack after the woman told him she was a lesbian.

Welsh woman Mandy Power, her daughters Katie, 10, and Emily, 8, together with Doris Dawson, her 80-year-old invalid mother, were bludgeoned to death in their home in June 1999. Their home was then set on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Only after firemen carried Mrs Power and the children from the house did their facial and head injuries become apparent, the court was told.

"This was not merely a murder, this was a massacre. Three generations of one family were brutally put to death, we say by the defendant, who exploded into an uncontrollable rage," said prosecutor Patrick Harrington, in his opening remarks at the retrial of labourer David Morris, 44, whose earlier conviction was overturned on appeal.

The court was told that Morris was a 'violent thug' with a strong histroy of violence towards women, and that he became enraged when Power rebuffed his sexual advances and told him she was a lesbian.

After committing the murders, Morris set four separate fires, allegedly in the hope that the flames would conceal any evidence of his crime, Harrington claimed.

A gold chain ripped from Morris' neck during his assault, and found covered in Mandy Powers' blood at the scene of the "most extreme violence", eventually led to his arrest.

An investigation byBBC Television's Panorama programme in 2003 claimed that South Wales Police made a string of errors while investigating the Power murder case, with vital witness statements not being properly acted upon.

David Morris has pleaded not guilty. The trial continues.

19 OCTOBER 2006

The following report is from MCV Issue 302, 19 October 2006, headed:

Life Sentence

A London man who murdered his ex-girlfriend after she told him she was a lesbian faces a lifetime prison term.

James Seaton was convicted last Thursday (12 October 2006) of murdering Jacqueline Queen after she announced she was leaving him for a woman.

Wielding a hammer and a 12-inch kitchen knife, Seaton launched a frenzied attack upon Queen in the lounge-room of his North London home.

“The only sentence that the law permits me to pass is one of life imprisonment,” Judge David Radford said while summing up.

During the trial the court heard that Queen was probably still alive as Seaton began sawing off her head in a botched attempt to dismember the body.

20 OCTOBER 2006

Killing gays is OK, says Muslim Imam

Manchester Imam defends execution of gay people

Manchester, England

Manchester's leading Imam has confirmed that he thinks the execution of sexually active gay men is justified. Mr. Arshad Misbahi, who is based at the Manchester Central Mosque, confirmed his views in a conversation to Dr John Casson, a local psychotherapist.

Dr Casson said: "I asked him if the execution of gay Muslims in Iran and Iraq was an acceptable punishment in Sharia law, or the result of culture, not religion. He told me that in a true Islamic state, such punishments were part of Islam: if the person had had a trial, at which four witnesses testified that they had seen the actual homosexual acts."

"I asked him what would be the British Muslim view? He repeated that in an Islamic state these punishments were justified. They might result in the deaths of thousands but if this deterred millions from having sex, and spreading disease, then it was worthwhile to protect the wider community."

"I checked again that this was not a matter of tradition, culture or local prejudice. 'No,' he said, 'It is part of the central tenets of Islam: that sex outside marriage is forbidden; this is stated in the Koran and the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had stated that these punishments were due to such behaviours.'"

"He told me that no Muslim would have spoken to him as I had done - they would have been too afraid, ashamed or inhibited: he admired my courage and openness."

Commenting on Imam Arshad Misbahi's views, Dr John Casson said: "I support the human rights of all people peacefully to practice their religion, including the right of Muslim women to wear the veil if they choose. Equally gay men and women must enjoy the right to be themselves without the fear of being beaten, killed or condemned by homophobic religious people. These condemnatory attitudes have an adverse psychological impact on lesbians and gay men, especially lesbian and gay Muslims."

Gay and human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, of the gay rights group OutRage!, added: "It is disturbing that some British imams are endorsing the execution of gay and lesbian Muslims.

"Imam Arshad Misbahi's homophobic attitudes give comfort and succour to queer-bashers. They encourage conflict and disharmony between Manchester's large gay and Muslim communities.

"Muslim and gay people know the pain of prejudice and discrimination. We should be working together to challenge homophobia and Islamophobia. I hope liberal Muslims will speak out in defence of the human rights of lesbians and gay men," said Mr Tatchell.

18 DECEMBER 2008

The following item is from MCV dated 18 December 2008:

JEFF AKERS - murdered 19 February 2008

Beat Murderer sentenced to life

A 30-year-old man found guilty of the murder of a retired accountant in a public toilet in Surrey has been jailed for life.

The UK's Pink News reprots that Mark Malone will serve at lest 30 years.
He was convicted last month of the murder of Jeff Akers.
On February 19 2008, Malone stole an eight inch knife from a burger van and attacked Akers in the public toilet, known as a meeting place for sex.
Malone told the court that Akers, who was gay, propositioned him for sex and he lashed out, but could not remember the attack.
Akers, 50, staggered out of the toilet in Walton, Surrey, in his underpants, and fell to the ground with the kitchen knife in his back.
He was taken by air ambulance to St Peter's hospital in Chertsey where he died.
A post-mortem revealed that the cause of death was a single stab wound to the back.
A retired accountant, he lived with his partner of 22 years.

18 DECEMBER 2008

Report from MCV issue 415 dated 18 December 2008:


Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has released figures showing convictions for homophobic and transphobic crimes in the UK are on the rise.

In the three years to March 2008, more than 2,400 defendants were prosecuted for homophobic or transphobic crimes, while successful convictions rose from 71 per cent to 78 per cent in 2007-2008.

"The CPS can be rightly proud of its record on prosecuting crimes that are motivated by hostility towards people based on their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability," Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions said in a statement.

"But there is still more that the CPS, and the criminal justice system as a whole needs to do, particularly when it comes to supporting victims and witnesses throught he process of a court case and helping them to give the best evidence they can."


24 JUNE 1973

New documentary recalls 1973 UpStairs Lounge fire

Dave Walker, | The Times-Picayune By Dave Walker, | The Times-Picayune
on June 21, 2013 at 3:42 PM, updated June 24, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Situated above the Jimani Lounge and Bar at 141 Chartres St., The UpStairs Lounge gay bar was torched on June 24, 1973. Fatalities totaled 32. Nobody was ever prosecuted for the crime.

“I learned about the fire as a kid,” said Royd Anderson, local educator and filmmaker, whose new documentary about the tragedy debuts on its 40th anniversary. “My dad would take us around. He was very knowledgeable about the history of the city. He would point out the building and would tell us the story.”

That story was straightforward, though ultimately unresolved. Someone, perhaps a patron who’d been 86ed, started a fire in the stairwell leading up to the bar. When a door at the top of the stairs opened, flames rushed in to the bar, then occupied by about 60 people. About half escaped through a back exit. The rest, trapped by smoke, flame and window bars, didn’t.

“The UpStairs Lounge Fire” were to air at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday (June 24) on Cox Communications cable channel 4. Repeats were planned at 1 p.m. Tuesday (June 25) and 6 p.m. Thursday (June 27).

In addition, Anderson was to screen the film and lead a Q&A session at 8 p.m. Monday at PJ's Coffee, 5432 Magazine St. He was also to discuss the film at 7 p.m. Friday (June 21) on WYES’ “Informed Sources.”

For Anderson, researching “The UpStairs Lounge Fire” was a greater challenge than he’d had with any of his earlier documentaries about Louisiana disasters, “The Luling Ferry Disaster,” “The Continental Grain Elevator Explosion” and “Pan Am Flight 759.”

“The information is very scant,” he said. “I think Louisiana does a pretty good job of keeping its tragedies a secret.”

Also difficult, he said, was finding eyewitnesses to interview on camera.

“For my previous films, there was no problem talking to eyewitnesses,” he said. “This one was extremely difficult. The UpStairs Lounge fire: a remembrance Forty years ago on June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to the UpStairs Lounge, a popular gay bar on the corner of Iberville and Chartres Streets. 32 people died in the blaze and no one was ever arrested or convicted for the crime. We explore the event through eye witnesses and experts in this video.

“Most of them didn’t want to get in front of the camera and talk. That generation doesn’t want to be known to be gay to the public.”

The clippings, photos and footage he did find, combined with the interviews he was able to arrange, animate the haunting story Anderson once heard his father tell. The film also revives outrage over the crime’s unsolved status.

“There was a great injustice done, I think,” Anderson said.

Here are two videos of the tragic events - no one has ever been prosecuted for the horrific murders of 40 years ago:

The Jimani’s webpage dedicated to the fire.



Tony Adams was murdered in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 3 November 1978.


Julio Rivero was murdered in New York in 1990. It took many months for his murderers to be brought to justice, and when they were, the trial was the first gay hate crime trial in the United states.

Gay Community News (Boston, USA) reported in its 11-17 August 1991 issue:


"In early 1991, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) Policy Institute released its yearly report, 'Anti-Gay/Lesbian Violence, Victimization & Defamation.' It documents a dramatic 42 percent nationwide rise in the number of incidents of violence between 1989 and 1990. The six cities that participated in the survey exhibited a range of increases, from an 11 percent rise in Chicago to 133 percent in Minneapolis/St Paul.

The report also claims that increased reporting of anti-gay/-lesbian violence (which can indicate an increase in the willingness of victims to file complaints, press charges or simply notify the local community health centre) is not enough to explain the size of the increases in the numbers of reported violent incidents.

The rise in anti-gay episodes reported to all gay community agencies ---- and most police departments reflects a variety of factors----. However, such large increases ---- especially in the number of physical assaults and other serious crimes - also indicate the severity of the problem has grown --- in the past year. [emphasis is that of the report's author]

The NGLTF report goes on to point out that given the geographical diversity of the cities that document increases, 'it is likely that other US urban areas (and perhaps suburban and rural communities) are experiencing a similar upswing.'"

The same issue of Gay Community News provided the following "Information extracted from NGLTF Policy Institute Report, 'Anti-Gay/Lesbian Violence, Victimisation and Defamation in 1990'":

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.: Two assailants repeatedly stabbed a gay man, ripped open his chest, and then slashed his throat. Prior to the murder, witnesses saw the men follow the victim and call him "faggot" and "queer".

QUEENS, N.Y.: A Latino gay man was beaten to death with a hammer in a schoolyard near several gay bars.

ATLANTA: A black gay transvestite was killed by a single bullet in a drive-by shooting.

(USA FBI Uniform Crime Reports - Hate Crime Statistics 1995):


Bias Motivation-----------Incidents--------Offences--------Victims------Known Offenders

Sexual orientation------------1019--------------1266----------1347---------------1273

Anti-Male Homosexual-------735----------------915-----------937----------------1031

Anti-Female Homosexual-----146----------------189-----------191-----------------131





ROXANNA ELLIS AND MICHELLE ABDILL, two lesbians brutally murdered on 4 December 1995 in Oregon by Robert James Acremant, 27. An “urge” prompted him to brutally kill the two women. It was a foiled robbery that pushed him to murder rather than the women’s sexual orientation.

“It wasn’t that they were lesbians, but that made it easier because I don’t like them,” Acremant said.

TYRA (NEE TYRONE) HUNTER, 24 Transgender, died in Washington DC (see report in PlanetOut 14 August 2000

(SSO 130397 - homosexual youth suicide - no research?)

The following article appeared in The Advocate (USA) on 11 November 1997 - a further indictment of the USA justice system in relation to gay, lesbian and transgender hate crimes - about unsolved murders:

Investigations pending - unsolved murders of gays and lesbians - Hate Crimes, part 3:

by Lee Condon

Since 1991 six gay men last seen leaving New York City gay bars have been killed and dismembered, their remains in garbage bags and left at rest areas along highways.

From 1987 to 1996, 12 men with connections to the gay community have been strangled to death and then dumped in a rural area in the Hampton Roads section of Virginia.

In Denver in 1992 four men were fatally stabbed, each apparently after picking up someone at a gay bar.

In Atlanta 15 African-American transvestites or transgendered people have been murdered from 1987 to 1996. Most were shot after leaving gay bars or clubs featuring drag shows.

Last winter (1996/1997) two double murders claimed the lives of two gay African-American couples who were shot to death in Prince Georges County, Md. (Maryland).

None of the above-mentioned crimes has been solved.

Part of Bea Hanson's job as director of client services at the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project is tracking killers who target gays. For a long time Hanson didn't get anywhere in her efforts to get law enforcement agencies to investigate the cases as serial killings. Local police departments dismissed her suggestions. Her letters to the Federal Bureau of Investigation asking for help went unanswered.

When Andrew Cunanan murdered Gianni Versace, everything changed.

After Cunanan's body was found, Hanson and executive director Christine Quinn wrote to the FBI again. Within two days the FBI's deputy director called and asked for a meeting which was held the last week in Spetember. "They started out by acknowledging they didn't do a good job of reaching out to the gay community in Miami," Quinn says, referring to the city where Versace was killed.

Criticisms of the FBI post-Cunanan have brought unsolved murders of gay men and lesbians to the forefront. "It has fast-forwarded our relationship with the FBI," says Quinn. "We've proved ourselves as people who know what we're talking about. It was an incredibly historic meeting."

Shirley Lesser, executive director of Virginians for Justice, says getting law enforcement to pay attention to the murders of gay men and lesbians is a challenge, pointing to the unsolved Hampton Roads murders. "It's not gay-friendly here," she says. "There is not a public outcry to solve gay murders. Police resources are dependent on where the public wants those resources to go."

To Lesser, the cases should be easier to solve. "The killer or killers are very anxious to get caught," she says. "They leave the bodies on the side of the road in open view." Yet only the latest of the 12 killings has produced a suspect: Elton Jackson, 41. Hampton Roads police will only say that they have not ruled him out as a suspect in the 11 other killings.

Lesser is also frustrated over the unsolved case of two lesbians killed in Virginia while hiking the Appalachian Trail on Memorial Day weekend in 1996. FBI officials told Virginians for Justice that they had not ruled out any motivation, except to say the killings were not a hate crime. "To hear one of the agents say, 'It's certainly not a hate crime' - how can you rule it out?" Lesser asks. "We were concerned the potential for hate violence was being overlooked."

The FBI acknowledged the possible hate-crime link only after pressure was exerted by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "I don't think the gay and lesbian community should have to do that much work to get them to consider it a hate crime," Lesser says.

Thomas Kneir, deputy assistant director for Organized Crime, Drug, and Violent Crime programs, was one of several FBI officials who met in Washington, D.C., with gay and lesbian antiviolence activists. "Regardless of what may have happened in history," Kneir says, "the meeting was about where do we go from here."

As for the Cunanan case, Kneir says the FBI has acknowledged its outreach should have been better: "It probably pointed out to us maybe our liaison with the gay and lesbian community wasn't as good as it should have been."

As for unsolved murders that appear to be serial killings, Kneir says the crimes have been referred to agents who specialize in tracking such cases. In instances where the FBI does not have jurisdiction, Kneir says, the FBI will discuss the cases with local police.

Darryl Cooper, chairman of Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence in Washington, D.C., says the groups' relationship with police has improved in recent years out of sheer necessity. Police are trying to crack 20 unsolved murders of gay men there.

So why are the books still open on so many homicides of gay men and lesbians across the nation?

Dianne Hardy-Garcia, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, says both police and families of victims compromise murder investigations because they do not want to deal with the issue of sexual orientation. "In some cases we have police who don't want to deal with this," Hardy-Garcia says. "Police officers participate in the closeting of cases. They will tell victims' family members they don't want to bring up the gay aspect of it, saying it might prejudice a jury. It's 'Let's just keep this quiet.'"

In some cases family members find out their loved one was gay at the time of the murder. "Sometimes they don't press the police," Hardy-Garcia says. "They have shame about where [the victims] were and what they were doing."

Quinn agrees, saying she fears that the number of gays murdered is actually even larger than believed because family members have asked that the victim's sexual orientation be kept quiet. "There is a feeling among law enforcement that if it's the wish of the family that the sexual orientation of the victim should not be revealed that they should honor it," Quinn says. "We're going to push the FBI to overcome it."

If murder victims are not identified as gay or lesbian, Quinn says, others may not be made aware of danger in their community and will also be unable to help catch the killer. "The first priority has to be finding the suspect," she says, "not making the family comfortable."

Valuable time was lost in the investigation of the deaths of the two Appalachian Trail victims because victim advocates spent a week haggling with police over whether it should be disclosed that the women were lovers, Quinn says. Also, police in Prince George County were criticized for taking too long to alert the nearby Washington, D.C., gay community that four gay African-American men had been shot to death there in two months.

While most large cities have antiviolence projects to monitor unsolved gay and lesbian murders, large parts of the country are without such advocates. Quinn says she fears that the code of silence surrounding gay murders is still prevalent in some parts of the country and that there may be other serial killers out there besides those who have been identified. "They're the tip of the iceberg," she says. "If you can't identify a victim's sexual orientation, you can never have the community participate in the investigation to catch a murderer."

As for the future, perhaps community participation will increase. At the meeting in September, the FBI agreed to ask its field officers to contact local representatives of gay and lesbian antiviolence groups to discuss how they can better work together. The FBI also promised to meet quarterly with gay and lesbian leaders and may use them to help with sensitivity training for FBI agents. The bottom line, says the FBI's Kneir: "We need to make a better effort."

From 27 April 1998 onwards - report by Southern Poverty Law Centre Murder of Steven Goedereis Two plead guilty in gay man's murder (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Sun-Sentinel Published on August 23, 2005 Two men being retried for the hate killing of a gay Greenacres man pleaded guilty Monday [Aug. 22] in separate deals that came against a backdrop of juror misconduct. Bryan Donahue's and William Dodge's guilty pleas abruptly halted their ongoing murder trials — the second for each in the April 27, 1998, beating death of Steven Goedereis. An appellate court overturned their first convictions. The case ended with a touch of the dramatic in a West Palm Beach courtroom as Donahue suddenly agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and a hate crime after Circuit Judge Krista Marx delayed the jury's entrance to resume the trial because he was crying. ... Donahue, 23, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, which he will serve at the same time as a 30-year sentence he got for stealing Goedereis' backpack — effectively meaning he will serve no additional time for the murder plea. ... Goedereis was walking home after drinking with friends when the two teens beat and kicked him almost 30 times in the head and face, prosecutors said. Dodge stomped the 29-year-old waiter so hard that his sneaker left an imprint on Goedereis' forehead, authorities said.

» The (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Sun-Sentinel reports

Christopher Jones, 37, was murdered in Baltimore in June 1999 by Gary Mick, who was sentenced on 25 July 2000 in Baltimore, Maryland Circuit Court to life imprisonment plus thirty years for killing one gay man and attempting to kill another, the Baltimore Sun reported. (Item reported in PlanetOut, 26 July 2000)

Michael J Hatch was murdered on 20 October 1999 in Barron County, USA as reported by Hatecrime web site on 8 August 2000, when Raymond C Walton and Corey L Kralewski were being tried for the murder. The hate crime issue was added to the original charges because the victim was intentionally selected because of their belief or perception regarding Hatch's sexual orientation.

Tracy Ranta of Baltimore, Maryland - transgender hate crime murder - 22 November 1999

USA Arthur Carl "JR" Warren - murdered - beaten to death by two 17 year olds and one 16 year old in Grant Town West Virginia 4 July 2000

ERIC FRANKLIN PLUNKETT murdered 28 September 2000 at Gallaudet University. Plunkett, 19, was a gay deaf man with cerebral palsy. (PlanetOut news 2 October 2000)

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered hate crime murder victims in USA - 224 - from PlanetOut - In Memoriam ( period covered not specified. (Web site found 2 June 2000)

PlanetOut reported on 28 July 2000 on hate crimes in California: California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) on 27 July presented new hate crime statistics for the state for 1999. Although the total of 1962 incidents (affecting 2436 victims) represented a 12% increase over 1998, Lockyer acknowledged that might represent an increase in reporting rather than actual crimes, although he emphasised it was far too many either way. He further stressed that "each hate crime is an attack on the victim's personal identity or beliefs, leading to an ongoing fear of repeated attacks ...... the perpetrator views their victim as lacking full human worth" due to their disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Sexual orientation was the basis of 22% of California's hate crimes (436 incidents), second to race/ethnicity at 60% and ahead of religion at 17% and gender or disability at 1%.

About two-thirds of California's hate crimes were violence against persons rather than property. Of the violent crimes, 46% were intimidation, 31% simple assaults, 17% aggravated assaults, 5% robbers, and less than 1% were murders or rapes. Prosecutors filed complaints in 372 cases, achieving almost 62% convictions.

Dr Laura Schlessinger, syndicated radio show in USA has called gays and lesbians "biological errors". Paramount are to give her a TV programme starting on 11 September 2000, and a campaign has been under way for some months now to try and stop the show going ahead. There is a web site and many of the large sponsors of her radio shows are now in the process of dropping her - the pink dollar strikes again???

CONTINUAL RISE IN VERMONT HATE CRIMES reported the SSO on 9 November 2000.

The number of hate crimes against gay men and lesbians in Vermont has increased since the introduction of civil unions legislation. Associated Press reports that in 1999, a total of 11 incidents were reported, compared to 13 reports in the first six months of 2000. Max Schleuter, executive director of the Vermont Crime Information Centre, has stated that while the reports should give us some concern, “whether or not it is related to civil unions is a hard argument to make.” There has also been a substantial rise in the number of “hateful incidents” - abusive behaviour which does not qualify for prosecution. Assistant Attorney-General Kate Hayes has stated that the state attorney-general’s civil rights division has received a phone call at least once a week since August (2000) about hate incidents, which include abusive mail, phone calls and emails relating to civil unions.

Gwen Araujo murder trial begins Tom Musbach, / Network Wednesday, April 14, 2004 / 05:41 PM

SUMMARY: Describing Gwen Araujo's death as an "execution," prosecutor Chris Lamiero opened the trial of three men charged with killing the transgender teen in October 2002, after they discovered she was biologically male.

The long-awaited proceedings began Wednesday in Hayward, Calif., after three weeks of jury selection. The prosecutor, often referring to the victim by her birth name, Eddie, took several hours to recount how the defendants -- Jose Merel and Jason Cazares, both 24, and Michael Magidson, 23 -- got to know Araujo as "Lida" and later had sex with her. Lamiero also reviewed at length the events leading up to Araujo's death during a house party in Newark on Oct. 3, 2002. Araujo's body was found nearly two weeks later, buried in a shallow grave about 150 miles away from Newark.

The case received widespread media coverage and drew national attention to the problem of anti-transgender violence. "If there is such a thing as a pure crime of hatred, this is surely it," said Shannon Minter, legal director of the Transgender Law Project at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). "Gwen Araujo's only 'fault' was being a transgender person and having the courage to be true to herself."

The three men face murder charges with hate crime enhancements. According to the Associated Press, attorneys for two of the suspects plan to argue that their clients acted in the heat of passion, which would reduce the charges to manslaughter. Minter called the trial "extremely important" because "it is one of the first times that an act of hate violence against a transgender person has been prosecuted anywhere in the country." "If the prosecution succeeds, which I am confident it will," Minter told the Network, "the verdict will send a powerful message that transgender people can no longer be attacked and brutalized with impunity. This case also underscores why it is so important to include transgender people in hate crimes statutes."

A fourth suspect in the killing, Jaron Nabors, 20, pleaded guilty in a deal to testify against his friends. He is serving an 11-year sentence for manslaughter.

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Testimony ends in Gwen Araujo case Eric Johnston, PlanetOut Network Tuesday, May 25, 2004 / 04:57 PM

SUMMARY: Testimony wrapped up Tuesday in the case of three California men charged with murdering transgender teen Gwen Araujo, with defense lawyers arguing that the men acted in a panic.

Testimony wrapped up Tuesday in the case of three California men charged with murdering transgender teen Gwen Araujo, with defense lawyers arguing that the men were deceived and acted in a panic.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin June 1 in Hayward, Calif.

On Monday, a clinical psychologist called by the defense testified the three defendants likely went into a "panic," brought on by a combination of anger, shame, drugs and alcohol, after discovering the 17-year-old Araujo was biologically male.

"It would flip them out," said Dr. Andrew Pojman.

Prior testimony revealed two of the defendants had sexual encounters with Araujo.

Advocates for transgender people have repeatedly taken issue with the lawyers' "transgender panic defense" strategy.

Michael Magidson, Jose Merel and Jason Cazares are charged with killing Araujo, who was beaten and strangled at Merel's house in Newark, Calif., on Oct. 4, 2002. They each face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder with hate crime enhancements.

A fourth man, Jaron Nabors, 21, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and agreed to testify against the others. He is serving an 11-year prison sentence.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Araujo's mother asked the court to have the deceased girl's name legally changed, posthumously. The victim was born Eddie Araujo, but chose to go by the name Gwen at age 14.

"I always promised Gwen that I would petition the courts to have her name changed, and I want to fulfill my promise," Sylvia Guerrero told the San Jose Mercury News.

"I wish in her lifetime I had called her Gwen more,'' she added. "I didn't realize how much it would have meant to her."

Guerrero said the name change is not solely about honoring her daughter's memory, but also to force the news media and others to refer to her as Gwen. Guerrero said she wants mainstream news organizations to stop identifying her child as "Eddie 'Gwen' Araujo."

Tina D'Elia, who represents Community United Against Violence and was in the courtroom Tuesday, told the PlanetOut Network the judge took the request under advisement and promised to make a decision within a month.

"So we're hopeful," said D'Elia.

1 July 2004

Slain transgender teen gets name change

Tom Musbach, PlanetOut Network Thursday, July 1, 2004 / 05:17 PM

SUMMARY: A California court has recognized the name change for slain transgender teen Gwen Araujo. Activists hope the order will stop lawyers and the media from calling her "Eddie."

A California court has officially recognized the name change for slain transgender teen Gwen Araujo, and family and friends say the court order should spare her the indignity of being referred to with male pronouns or being called "Eddie" during the retrial of her murder.

Araujo's mother and advocates for transgender rights announced the legal name recognition in a press conference on Thursday in Fremont. The official name is Gwen Amber Rose Araujo, changed from the birth name of Edward Araujo Jr.

"I'm elated for Gwen, my family and our friends. This is something that all of us have been waiting too long for," said Sylvia Guerrero, Araujo's mother, who petitioned for the name change on May 25. "It is one of my regrets that I didn't call my daughter Gwen more while she was alive. Having this order granted helps me to put that regret to rest."

Superior Court Commissioner Thomas Surh granted the name change last week on June 23, one day after the trial of her three alleged killers ended in a mistrial. The jurors in the case deadlocked after 10 days of deliberation and were unable to agree on first- or second-degree murder charges. A hearing to determine the retrial date is scheduled for July 30.

Araujo was brutally killed at a house party on Oct. 4, 2002, after some attendees discovered she was biologically male. Three male suspects, two of whom had sex with Araujo, were charged with first-degree murder with a hate crime enhancement.

The killing and subsequent criminal trial drew widespread media attention to anti-transgender violence, but it also highlighted problems of accurately portraying transgender individuals in the media and in court. Advocates for transgender rights said Thursday's announcement about Araujo's name should make a strong statement.

"The court's decision sends a clear message to journalists that 'Eddie Gwen Araujo,' 'Eddie Araujo' or the male pronoun 'he' has never been appropriate," Eddie Gutierrez, associate director of regional media for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), said in a prepared statement.

"Make no mistake, this court order is not a symbolic document," said Christopher Daley, co-director of the Transgender Law Center.

"Due to last week's mistrial, Gwen's name and identity will once again be subject to unprincipled attacks from the same defense attorneys who have spent the last several months disrespecting her," Daley said. "It is my strong hope that as we move towards a retrial for their clients, each of these attorneys will give the order the respect it demands by referring to Gwen by her legal name."

Star witness on stand in Araujo retrial Ann Rostow, PlanetOut Network Tuesday, June 7, 2005 / 05:26 PM

SUMMARY: Defense lawyers in the retrial of three men accused of slaying transgender teen Gwen Araujo used part of their opening statements to characterize the star witness as a manipulative liar.

Defense lawyers in the Hayward, California retrial of three men accused of slaying transgendered teen Gwen Araujo used part of their opening statements last week to characterize star witness Jaron Nabors as a manipulative liar. This week, Nabors took the stand.

Prosecutors relaunched the case against Michael Magidson, Jason Cazares and Jose Merel, accused of the October 2002 murder, after the first jury could not decide whether the murder was premeditated, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial.

In both trials, the prosecution's case depends heavily on the word of Jaron Nabors, a fourth member of the group who accepted a plea bargain in exchange for his testimony against the others.

Gwen Araujo, who was 17 at her death, befriended the men and had sexual encounters with Magidson and Merel while disguising her birth gender. Her secret was revealed late one night during a party at Merel's house, and the scene turned murderous.

In his testimony on Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Nabors said Merel and Magidson were suspicious of Araujo that night. "I swear, if it's a man, I'm going to fucking kill him. She ain't leaving," Nabors quoted Merel.

The witness recalled Magidson responding, "I don't know what I'm going to do." Nabors testified that he then told Magidson, "Whatever you do, make sure you don't make a mess." Under questioning, the 22-year-old admitted that he thought "there was going to be some physical violence" if indeed Araujo had been deceiving his friends.

Indeed Araujo was exposed that night, at which point Magidson and Merel allegedly snapped, brutalizing the young woman, kicking her, and then hitting her over the head with a heavy frying pan.

As Araujo begged for her life, two other partygoers, Merel's brother and his girlfriend, left the house in alarm. Neither of them ever called the police.

Nabors says Magidson took Araujo into the garage, tied her up and strangled her with a rope. Later, the men drove her body from the San Francisco suburbs into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and buried her in a shallow grave.

Although Araujo's family reported her missing, her murder was not discovered for several weeks. Nabors spoke of the evening to friends, and under questioning by police, he led authorities to the grave. He pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter, while Merel, Magidson and Cazares were charged with first-degree murder.

Last year, Magidson's lawyer in particular used the "trans panic" defense, insisting that the murder was a crime of passion due to the shock of discovering that Araujo was transgendered. The jury deadlocked on premeditation, and the case was declared a mistrial.

According to the Associated Press, Magidson is positioned to try the same defense a second time. Merel's lawyer says his client cared about Araujo, and did not participate in the worst of it, while Cazares claims to have been outside during the attacks.


6 August 2004

Death for hate-crime killer; DA calls gay panic 'ridiculous'

Christopher Curtis, PlanetOut Network Friday, August 6, 2004 / 07:28 PM

SUMMARY: After a Georgia jury sentenced a man to life in prison for stabbing a gay man to death, the county district attorney called the gay-panic defense "downright ridiculous" this week.

This week a Georgia jury sentenced a man to life in prison for stabbing a gay man to death, but the story is making headlines for what the county district attorney is saying about the convicted killer's defense.

James Lee Shaw told a court he fatally stabbed Rowland Hardwick in a restaurant restroom in August 2002 because Hardwick had a knife and tried to rape him. Shaw claimed that when he was young he was molested by men, telling jurors he suffered flashbacks.

But prosecutors noted that in the 40 times Hardwick was stabbed, Shaw did not have the defensive wounds expected in a struggle. Prosecutors say Shaw was not defending himself from a rape, but attacking a man who had simply made a pass at him.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard says Shaw's defense amounted to nothing more than a "gay panic" defense and said he is sick of it.

"It is demeaning, outrageous, insulting and downright ridiculous for defendants to believe that the death of any human being is justified because he or she is homosexual," Howard said in a quote published by the Associated Press.

Howard has faced the gay panic defense before, when an assistant district attorney from his office was found bludgeoned to death in his east Cobb County apartment in 2001.

Police charged Roderiqus Reshad Reed of Ahmed Dabarran's murder. But Reed's attorneys successfully argued that Reed killed Dabarran in self-defense after being forced to commit a sex act at gunpoint by a third man. Reed was acquitted last year.

In another case last year, one student at Morehouse College was convicted of attacking a classmate with a baseball bat after being stared at in shower stall. Prosecutors say it was a hate crime, but the jury only convicted Aaron Price of aggravated assault and aggravated battery.

Copyright © 1995-1999 PlanetOut Corporation. All Copyright & Trademark Rights Reserved.

22 November 2004

The following article appeared in on 22 November 2004, and is an FBI report into anti-gay hate crimes in the USA:

"FBI: Anti-gay hate crimes decline in '03 Christopher Curtis, PlanetOut Network published Monday, November 22, 2004

Reported hate crimes directed toward gays, lesbians and bisexuals fell slightly last year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's data on hate crimes published Monday. According to the report, in 2003 hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation made up 16.4 percent of the nation's hate crimes. The year before, 16.7 percent of the nation's hate crimes targeted people based on their perceived orientation, which was the highest percentage since the report started publishing 13 years ago.

The report claimed there were 1,239 incidents of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation with 1,479 victims. The year before the FBI reported 1,244 incidents of similar hate crimes with 1,513 victims.

Of the 1,479 victims, 61.5 percent were targeted because they were male homosexuals. Anti-lesbian attacks accounted for 15.6 percent of the attacks. Attacks made on homosexuals at large accounted for 21.2 percent of the attacks. Anti-bisexual violence accounted for 0.07 percent, while attacks against heterosexuals made up 1 percent of the recorded data.

According to the report, hatred based on sexual orientation in 2003 motivated six murders, three rapes, 162 incidents of aggravated assault, 446 incidents of simple assault, 433 incidents of intimidation and 295 acts of vandalism.

California recorded the most violent incidents, 337, against people based on their perceived sexuality. New York came in second, with 71 attacks. And Massachusetts came in at third place with 69 incidents.

According to the FBI, most of the attacks against people based on their perceived sexuality, 30.3 percent, occurred at home. Highways and roads came in at second, making up 25 percent of the attacks. Schools and colleges placed third, with 11.9 percent of the attacks. The report, made possible by the Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1990, analyzes data from 11,909 law enforcement agencies.

According to the report, crimes motivated by a person's perceived sexuality made up 16.4 percent of the nation's over 7,400 hate crimes recorded. Hate crimes motivated by someone's religion shared the same percentage. Most of the nation's hate crimes, 52.5 percent, were motivated by race."

NEWS: US group rewards info leading to gay murder conviction

Ross von Metzke | June 28, 2005 Wanda Alston WASHINGTON, D.C.

— The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced this week that it had paid $10,000 to two individuals who provided information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man who murdered beloved District of Columbia lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights advocate Wanda Alston on March 16. The murderer, William M. Parrott Jr., subsequently pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on April 21 and is scheduled to be sentenced July 29.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the donation toward the reward by the Task Force contributed greatly to the swift closure of the murder of Wanda Alston," said Sergeant Brett Parson of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit of the Metropolitan Police Department. "It is partnerships like this, between the community and the police, that make Washington, D.C., a safer place to live."

"Wanda's murder is an awful tragedy and nothing can change that," said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman. "We are gratified that we could help bring the man who murdered her to justice."

Alston's extensive organizing and leadership experience included working as staff at the National Organization for Women and the Human Rights Campaign; she was a founding member and board member of the National Stonewall Democrats; and she was an organizer of four national marches. Alston was involved with the Task Force in many ways, most passionately through participation in its Power Summits and national actions. At the time of her death, she served as the mayor's special assistant for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Affairs.

Parrott told authorities he was under the influence of crack cocaine, and that the motive for killing Alston was to rob her so he could buy more of the drug. He could receive a maximum of 40 years in prison. – Gay Link Content

Ex-cop gets life for killing gay student

PlanetOut Network Wednesday, July 6, 2005 / 04:24 PM

SUMMARY: A former policeman in Columbia, Mo., was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison for killing a gay college student with whom he was having an affair.

A former policeman in Columbia, Mo., was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison for killing a gay college student with whom he was having an affair.

Steven Rios, a 28-year-old married father, also received an additional 10 years for armed criminal action for slashing the throat of his victim, Jesse Valencia.

Rios will not have an opportunity for parole, the Associated Press reported.

Valencia, 23, was found dead June 5, 2004, in a yard near his home. Prosecutors argued that Rios killed the University of Missouri-Columbia student because Valencia had threatened to reveal their affair to the police chief.

Rios first met Valencia in April 2004, when he arrested the student while investigating a loud party. The ex-cop testified that his affair with Valencia began that same night.

Copyright © 1995-1999 PlanetOut Corporation. All Copyright & Trademark Rights Reserved.

FBI: Hate crimes dropped slightly in '04 Christopher Curtis, PlanetOut Network Tuesday, October 18, 2005 / 04:27 PM

SUMMARY: The FBI has released hate crimes data for 2004 that show a slight decrease in anti-gay violence, but a national group questions the report's accuracy.

The FBI has released hate crime statistics for 2004 that show a slight decrease in violence against LGBT victims, but a national anti-violence group questions the report's accuracy.

According to the FBI, 15.6 percent of the hate crimes of 2004 were directed against the victims' perceived sexual orientation. In 2003, crimes motivated by sexual orientation made up 16.4 percent of the nation's hate crimes. In 2002 it was 16.7 percent.

The report claims in 2004 there was 1,197 incidents of sexual orientation hate crimes with 1,482 victims. In 2003, there were 1,239 incidents of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation with 1,479 victims. In 2002 the FBI reported 1,244 incidents of similar hate crimes with 1,513 victims.

Of the 1,482 victims, 61 percent were targeted because they were male homosexuals. Anti-lesbian attacks accounted for 14 percent of the attacks. Attacks made on homosexuals at large accounted for 20 percent of the attacks. Anti-bisexual violence accounted for 1 percent, while attacks against heterosexuals made up 2 percent of the recorded data.

The report has been published annually since Congress passed the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990. The law directed the Attorney General to collect data "about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity."

Clarence Patton, executive director of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), dismissed the report as "The Book of Zeroes."

"If you go by county by county, you will see zero after zero after zero, and what this means is not that there weren't any hate crimes, but no one reported them," he said.

"In 2003, the F.B.I. said there were 725 hate crimes in California," he pointed out. "At the same time, there were 433 incidents reported to us in Los Angeles and 317 in the San Francisco Bay Area."

"The FBI numbers comes from local law enforcement submitting data to them. Many law enforcement agencies don't have to do it, so the FBI doesn't get data from everywhere," Patton said. "A lot of folks from the community are more willing to report to a community-based organization rather than law enforcement."

"Another thing that skews the numbers is that even in jurisdictions with hate crime laws, oftentimes the cases don't get classified as hate crimes," Patton added. "Sometimes it's poor police work, sometimes it's lazy police work. Sometimes it is a lack of clear understanding about what the hate crime policy is."

Patton believes the police need to develop a closer relationship with police organizations so they have a more precise picture of hate crimes in America.

He also thinks a new federal hate crime law needs to be drafted to make the reporting of such crimes mandatory for police agencies.

"We won't know how to solve the problem until we know how big the problem is," Patton said.

Last month the U.S. House of Representatives passed a hate crimes bill that would give law enforcement officers the tools to prosecute crimes directed at a victim because he or she is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The measure still must pass the Senate.

Copyright © 1995-1999 PlanetOut Corporation.


Man convicted of hate crime in N.Y. attack Larry Buhl, PlanetOut Network Wednesday, March 29, 2006 / 10:59 AM

SUMMARY: A Brooklyn man is convicted of a hate crime in the severe beating in June of a gay man; activists hail the unusual verdict as a win for LGBT rights.

A 23-year-old Brooklyn man was convicted Monday of committing a hate crime in one of the most brutal anti-gay assaults in New York City last year.

Steven Pomie was convicted on five counts, including first-degree assault and assault as a hate crime, for attacking Dwan Prince outside Prince's apartment in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn in June. Authorities said Pomie and two others beat Prince unconscious and kicked him in the head while screaming anti-gay slurs.

The attack left Prince in a coma for more than a month, and several of his injuries still require rehabilitation. But he recovered enough to provide dramatic testimony at the trial that helped convict Pomie on all counts. He faces up to 25 years in prison, according to Newsday. Sentencing is scheduled for April 24.

The guilty verdict was a win not only for Prince but also for the LGBT community, said Clarence Patton, executive director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project.

"This kind of crime sends shock waves through a neighborhood and through the LGBT community, but too often the perpetrators of anti-LGBT hate violence are never apprehended, let alone tried and found guilty," Patton said.

The reason for the low number of hate crime assault prosecutions is the nature of the crime, Patton said: "Victims tend to be alone, and the assault happens too quickly for the victim to make a positive ID of the assailant." Patton noted that, although many states have laws against anti-gay assaults, it is difficult to prove hate as a motivating factor, and prosecutors are often not confident enough that they can make the hate charge stick.

The prosecution in Prince's case was helped by the fact that several witnesses called police while the attack was occurring. In addition, Anti-Violence Project staff and volunteers went to the Brownsville neighborhood to solicit information and witnesses, and even held a City Hall press conference to raise visibility around the case.

Patton praised the "excellent work of the police investigators and the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office in bringing some justice to Dwan" and thanked Anti-Violence Project staff and volunteers for helping to find the perpetrators.

But Patton said he will not be satisfied until the other individuals involved in the attack are charged and brought to trial.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now include gay men and lesbians in hate crime laws, although not all of those specifically cover gender identity.

A new anti-LGBT assault in New York City is reported to the Anti-Violence Project every 36 hours.


October 14, 2006

Man Attacked in Possible Hate Crime Dies


The victim of what the authorities say was a hate crime died in a Brooklyn hospital yesterday, five days after he was attacked, robbed and forced into roaring traffic on the Belt Parkway, where he was struck by a hit-and-run driver.

The victim, Michael J. Sandy, turned 29 on Thursday. McCartha L. Lewis, his aunt, said dozens of his friends and relatives gathered at Mr. Sandy’s bedside at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center about noon as he was taken off a respirator that was supporting his breathing.

“He was already brain dead,” Ms. Lewis said. “He was already gone. Michael is at peace at this moment, resting peacefully right now.”

She added, “It was a very sad moment at that time, and up to now it is still a very sad time for us.”

Three Brooklyn men have been charged with hate crimes in connection with the attack on Mr. Sandy, who grew up on Long Island and worked in the interiors department at the Ikea store in Hicksville.

Officials said the men singled out Mr. Sandy for being gay and plotted to rob him by using AOL instant messages to lure him to a parking lot by Plumb Beach near Sheepshead Bay about 9:40 p.m. Sunday.

Detectives investigating Mr. Sandy’s Internet communications in the hours before the attack were led to the first suspect, John Fox, 19, of Knapp Street in Brooklyn, a sophomore at SUNY Maritime College. The other two suspects are Gary Timmins, 16, of Gerritsen Beach and Ilya Shurov, 20, of Sheepshead Bay. The three men have been charged with first-degree assault as a hate crime and first- and second-degree robbery, also as hate crimes, according to the police.

A fourth man was questioned and released, officials said, though the investigation is continuing.

Yesterday, a grand jury indicted Mr. Fox on charges of assault and attempted robbery as hate crimes, according to court and law enforcement officials. On Monday, prosecutors are expected to reconvene the grand jury to ask it to reindict Mr. Fox on felony murder charges.

Also on Monday, the grand jury is expected to consider an indictment against Mr. Shurov, and on Tuesday, against Mr. Timmins.

Michael Brick contributed reporting.

Victim, 72, of Detroit hate beating dies

Friday, February 23, 2007 / 04:39 PM

SUMMARY: Andrew Anthos, 72, whose dream was to light up the Michigan State Capitol in red, white and blue, dies Friday of injuries sustained in a hate beating.

Andrew Anthos, whose dream was to light up the Michigan State Capitol dome in red, white and blue, died Friday of injuries sustained in a Feb. 13 hate beating.

Though Anthos, 72, was visiting with friends as recently as Wednesday, his condition declined rapidly in the past two days and he was administered the last rites late Thursday in Detroit Receiving Hospital.

The attack, which left Anthos paralyzed from the neck down and virtually without speech, shocked the gay community, which reached out to his family with love and support -- as well as anger and a resolve for justice.

"There's going to be a great deal more attention now that this, unfortunately, has become a homicide," said Jeffrey Montgomery of Michigan's Triangle Foundation.

"We have worked with prosecutors here for many years, and all the buttons that can be pushed are being pushed right now," Montgomery said.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has offered to pay for Anthos' funeral, Montgomery said.

"So many people want to pay their respects," said Anthos' niece, Athena Federis, adding that she considers the gay and lesbian people who've offered their support "like family."

The gay, biracial Anthos, known to loved ones as "Buddy," had been riding the bus that evening from the public library back to his Detroit apartment when another passenger annoyed with his singing approached him and asked if he was gay.

Anthos left the bus and helped a wheelchair-bound fellow passenger through the snow, only to be followed by the assailant, who hit him in the back of the head with a metal pipe and fled.

The wheelchair-using friend was able to provide some information, Detroit Police Detective Sgt. Ryan Lovier said. But police still seek potential witnesses aboard the bus, which would have arrived at the stop near Detroit's Windsor Towers apartments roughly between 6 and 6:30 p.m.

The assailant is described as a light-skinned black man, no more than 23 years old, about 5 foot 7 and 150 pounds, wearing a dark coat and pants, Lovier said. (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)

12 FEBRUARY 2008

Lawrence King Remembered: A Year Later (12 February 2009)

The murder of Lawrence King didn't get nearly the media attention that Matthew Shepard's 1998 murder got, but there will be those who will be thinking of King on February 12th.

It was on that day one year ago that 15-year-old King, an openly gay eighth grade student in Oxnard, Calif. who sometimes wore makeup, jewelry and women's clothing to school, was shot to death by 14-year-old Brandon McInerney, a fellow student who has been charged—as an adult—with premeditated murder and committing a hate crime.

According to The San Jose Mercury News, the Ventura County district attorney's office just this week filed new court documents in response to an appeal filed by McInerney's defense attorneys who allege that prosecutors had abused their discretion by charging their client as an adult.

However, the district attorney's office maintains that McInerney should be tried as an adult because he carried out a premeditated execution-style murder of King.

Witnesses cited in the district attorney's filings say that McInerney sat behind King in a computer lab class on that fateful day for about 20 minutes when without a word he fired one shot into the back of King's head.

After King collapsed, McInerney stood up and fired a second shot into King before stalking out of the classroom.

The district attorney's filings also asserts that McInerney had been known to bully students, including King, and had publicly stated that he was going to shoot King.

While the case makes its way through the legal system (a preliminary hearing is slated for March 17), a California-based non-profit called GroundSpark seeks to spark a national dialogue about youth and gender through nationwide screenings of a feature-length documentary called Straightlaced—How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Debra Chasnoff, GroundSpark's executive director, the film will be screened in states including Wyoming, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and Alabama in the coming weeks and months. For more information about the film, visit GroundSpark.

In the meantime, take a moment to remember King on February 12.

Image courtesy of The Advocate
Posted by Carter Todd on February 11, 2009
Copyright © 1995-1999 PlanetOut Corporation.

19 APRIL 2008

From Topix, 19 April 2008

Gay hate-crimes memorial to be displayed in Florida capitol

Event marks first time a gay exhibit has been in state’s rotunda

Gay American Heroes, the traveling monument that memorializes gay men and women who have been killed due to homophobic violence, is scheduled to be displayed in the Florida Capitol Rotunda April 28.

The monument features the names, pictures and stories of more than 500 people who were killed in homophobic hate crimes. Recent inductees include Lawrence King, the 15-year-old who was shot and killed in school in California, and Simmie Williams, the 17-year-old who was killed on Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

Lynn Mulder said he and his wife, Skipper’s mother, Patricia, are excited to hear that the display will be held on Skipper’s birthday. The event was originally planned for April 21 but had to be moved.


This report was in MCV (18 September 2008) and updates news of Matthew Shepard's brutal murder 10 years ago:


A public commemoration, honouring hate-crime victim Matthew Shepard, who was murdered 10 years ago, is to take place in Minneapolis. Shepard was brutally beaten by Aaron James McKinney and Russell Arthur Henderson after they met him at a bar in Laramie, Wyoming, on 6 October 1998. The pair tortured and bashed the 21-year-old student before tying him to a fence in a paddock. Shepard died in hospital six days later. A candlelight vigil, followed by a reading of The Laramie Project, a play which documented Shepard's murder and the subsequent trial, will take place next month. McKinney and Henderson are serving life in prison.

Meanwhile, the authors of The Laramie Project are to return to Laramie, to research an epilogue to the award-winning play. The group said through a spokeswoman that it intended to discover "what, if any, effect the intervening years have had on the town and its people," the New York Times reports.

18 DECEMBER 2008

Report from MCV Issue 415:


Violence against LGBT people is likely to be on the rise in the USA, the New York City Anti-Violence Project has reported.

The organisation, which documents assaults against LGBT people, cited the recent fatal baseball bat beating of an Ecuadorian immigrant, Jose Sucuzhanay, as the latest indication that anti-gay assaults were increasing.

Sucuzhanay died last Friday night, five days after he and his brother were attacked while walking home with their arms around each other by a car load of men shouting anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs.

"We are witnessing what appears to be an increase in both the occurrence and severity of violence motivated by racism, homophobia and transphobia," Sharon Stapel, the Anti-Violence Project's executive director, told the Associated Press.

9 MAY 2011

The following two items were received from the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) on 9 May 2011. The video mentioned in the article is too upsetting to be put on this web page, but if anyone wants to see it, it can probably be found on the web.

Beating of transgender woman caught on tape

in UNITED STATES, 28/04/2011

A video of a vicious beating at a Baltimore County McDonald's restaurant went viral Friday, garnering hundreds of thousands of views on websites and prompting the fast-food giant to issue a statement condemning the incident.

The video shows two women — one of them a 14-year-old girl — repeatedly kicking and punching the 22-year-old victim in the head, as an employee of the Rosedale restaurant and a patron try to intervene. Others can be heard laughing, and men are seen standing idly by. Toward the end of the video, one of the suspects lands a punishing blow to the victim's head, and she appears to have a seizure. A man's voice tells the women to run because police are coming.

The three-minute clip was apparently first posted on YouTube, then taken down by administrators who said it violated the site's policies. But it popped back up on other sites and was ultimately linked from the popular Drudge Report, which gave it top billing for much of the day.

By early evening, the video had received more than 500,000 views on one site alone. County police confirmed that the attack occurred April 18 in the 6300 block of Kenwood Ave. Police said the 14-year-old girl has been charged as a juvenile, while charges were pending against an 18-year-old woman.

Equality Maryland said the victim is a transgender woman and called on state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler to step in and investigate the case as a hate crime. Police and prosecutors said they did not know whether the victim is a transgender woman.

"It does appear that the victim was a transgender woman, and she was brutalized while people stood by and watched," said Lisa Polyak, vice president of the board of directors for Equality Maryland, an advocacy organization that fought unsuccessfully in the past legislative session for greater protections for transgender individuals. "There's no excuse for that violence under any circumstances, but we would encourage police to investigate as a hate crime."

The police report does not provide a motive, but quotes one of the suspects saying that the fight was "over using a bathroom."

As the video spread online, McDonald's acknowledged that the attack had occurred in a Baltimore-area restaurant and said it was working with local police.

"We are shocked by the video from a Baltimore franchised restaurant showing an assault. This incident is unacceptable, disturbing and troubling," the company said in a statement posted on its website. "Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and employees in our restaurants. We are working with the franchisee and the local authorities to investigate this matter."

The video received widespread attention part because of the racial dynamics of the attack – the attackers were black, and the victim is white. State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger, who said he was unaware of the gender-related issues, said the racial dynamics of the incident could result in hate-crime charges.

"We just received this case, and the Police Department is continuing their investigation," Shellenberger said. "If there is evidence that the crime was racially motivated, we will take a look at those charges and see if we meet those elements. We have the ability, if the facts are there, to upgrade the charges at a later date."

The victim suffered cuts to her mouth and face, and a police report said she had been taken to Franklin Square Hospital Center in fair condition. Police said Friday they had no update on her status.

The video begins with two women near a bathroom door kicking and hitting a woman who is lying on the ground.

An employee repeatedly tries to separate them, but the attackers continue to stomp and kick the victim's head. People yell, "Stop! Stop!" to no avail, though others can be heard laughing. An older woman at one point also attempts to pull the attackers away and is shoved.

About halfway through the three-minute clip, the attackers rip a wig off the victim and drag her by her hair to the front door. That is where the victim is sitting before another blow to the head causes an apparent seizure.

Throughout the attack, a man is filming and does not intervene. But when the victim appears to have a seizure, he yells, "She having a seizure, yo. … Police on their way. Y'all better get out of here."

Through a McDonald's spokesman, the owner of the Rosedale restaurant released a statement. The chain said the owner and employees would not be made available for comment, including an update on possible discipline of the employees.

"I'm as shocked and disturbed by this incident as anyone would be. The behavior displayed in the video is unfathomable and reprehensible," said the franchise owner, Mitchell McPherson. "The safety of our customers is a top priority. We know the police were called immediately, and we are thoroughly investigating this matter.

9 MAY 2011

Teonna Monae Brown - 18-year-old charged in McDonald's beating

in UNITED STATES, 28/04/2011

Baltimore County police have named the 18-year-old charged with beating a transgender woman at Rosedale McDonald's, amid demands from some community members that the incident be investigated as a hate crime. As charges formally filed vs. teen, transgender community plans rally at restaurant.

Teonna Monae Brown of the 2000 block of Kelbourne Road in Rosedale was charged in the attack on Chrissy Lee Polis. The incident was videotaped and went viral online late last week, with hundreds of thousands of views on various websites. The video shows Polis, 22, being kicked and punched in the head by two people until she appears to have a seizure. While one employee and a patron try to intervene, others can be seen standing and watching, and some are laughing.

Brown, who was arrested Friday, has been charged with one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault. She remains at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $150,000 bond.

A 14-year-old girl has also been charged in the attack, but her name has not been released because the charges were filed in juvenile court.

Scott Shellenberger, the state's attorney for Baltimore County, has said his office plans to gather additional evidence to determine whether the April 18 attack on Polis can be prosecuted as a hate crime.

Another woman filed assault charges against Brown in July, which prosecutors dropped three months later.

Sandy Rawls, founding director of Trans-United, a Baltimore-based group that fights discrimination against transgender people, said people hate what they do not understand. "When people see us, they don't understand us. So it's an educational problem," said Rawls, a transsexual woman who lives about a mile from the McDonald's. She also blamed "a violent culture."

"'Love thy neighbor' is fading," she said.

Rawls is helping to organize a rally for 7 p.m. Monday at the McDonald's in Rosedale, to raise awareness of hate crimes against the transgendered.

Andrew I. Alperstein, a defense attorney and a former Baltimore County prosecutor, said it is possible to add hate crime accusations after the initial charges are filed. He said the 14-year-old girl could be charged as an adult, but the state's attorney's office must see whether she has a previous record and evaluate her role in the attack, adding that "it was a horrible assault."

"A picture is worth a thousand words," he said.

McDonald's issued a statement condemning the beating, and the owner of the Rosedale restaurant announced Saturday afternoon that the employee who taped the beating had been fired.

While Alperstein said the employee who taped the incident faces little liability for not stopping the fight, he could be held criminally liable if found to have encouraged the fight.

Alperstein predicted that McDonald's would likely face a civil lawsuit because it has a duty to protect its customers.

By Sunday evening, a Facebook page titled "Chrissy Lee Polis" with a picture of the McDonald's arches had more than 800 people who "liked" the page. Many of the posters on the page pledged their support and provided words of comfort, and several identified themselves as transgender.

One poster, Robyn Webb, has a teleconferencing company, TG Works, that is collecting funds to help pay for Polis' medical bills and help her relocate. Polis, who has not had a job or a stable place to stay for the past two years, has said she has been living with friends in the area.

Webb thought the incident should be prosecuted as a hate crime.

The police report does not provide a motive, but it quotes one of the suspects saying that the fight was "over using a bathroom." In the report, officers said the teens accused Polis of going into the wrong one.

Many transgender individuals face public accommodation issues, Webb said.

Donna Plamondon, who is transgender, plans to attend the rally for Polis. "It does my heart good to see the outpouring of support" for the community, she said.

She too called the incident an apparent hate crime.

"People are waking up that this is what life is like for a transgender," she said. "Why would you choose to put yourself in this position every day?"

13 APRIL 2012

This terrible story is from LGBTQNation online by email:

Killer gets life in prison without parole for assault, murder of gay teen

A judge in Baltimore, Md., has sentenced Dante Parrish, 37, to life in prison without parole for the savage assault and murder of Jason Mattison Jr., a 15-year old openly gay teen.

Dante Parrish (left) and Jason Mattison Jr.

Parrish was a family friend who had previously spent 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 1999 — Jason was murdered in November 2009, less than one year after Parrish’s release.

Baltimore Circuit Judge John Addison Howard quoted an old Scottish prayer when handing down the sentence, which included a second life term for attempting to sexually assault Jason, before suffocating him with a pillowcase, slashing his throat and stuffing him in a bedroom closet.

“From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us,” Howard recited.

“To me,” he told Parrish, “you are every bit as frightening and more, because you are real.”

Parrish was convicted of theft and drug possession in 1992, making a false statement in 1993, malicious destruction of property in 1997 and murder in 1999, in the killing of an East Baltimore man, reported The Baltimore Sun.

He was sentenced to 30 years in prison in the case, but later convinced Maryland’s Innocence Project, a group that works to overturn wrongful convictions, that he had been wrongfully convicted.

After a new trial in 2008, he was sentenced to time served and released through a plea deal in January 2009 — Jason was murdered 11 months later.

Jason had been living at the home of a relative at the time of his murder.

During the trial Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Hastings said Jason was reportedly not welcome in his mother’s home because he was gay.


MAY 2010

Zimbabwe police arrest two employees of gay rights group

Headlines — By admin on May 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm
By Fortune Tazvida

Police in Zimbabwe on Friday raided the offices of the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) and arrested two employees, Ellen Chademana and Ignatius Muhambi on allegations of possessing dangerous drugs and pornographic material. The arrests were immediately condemned as being part of the ongoing persecution of members of the gay community in the country.

Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzi and Detective Inspector Chibvuma both led a team of police officers to the offices of GALZ in Harare’s posh Milton Park suburb. Both GALZ employees Chadehama and Muhambi were hauled to Harare Central Police Station and were still in custody Saturday evening.

The late Keith Goddard (left) with a GALZ staffer The police are said to have taken with them several computers, documents and other material as evidence after the raid. Lawyers representing the arrested duo were denied access to their clients on Saturday. Under Zimbabwe’s harsh censorship laws pornographic material is dealt with under the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act.

In November 1999 President Robert Mugabe accused the British Government of setting ‘gay gangsters’ on him over his violent land reform exercise. The Zanu PF leader has over the years made his homophobic views clear describing gays and lesbians as ‘worse than pigs.’

Astonishingly Mugabe’s own Youth Development and Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere was outed as gay. Kasukuwere amassed his wealth through many gay liaisons with rich businessmen and ministers while he was still a blue-eyed Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) hitman in Mutare.

Only last year a 31 year old Bulawayo man, Mncedisi Twala, sensationally claimed that the then ZANU PF National Chairman, John Nkomo, molested him in April 2002. After first fleeing to South Africa Twala says he came back after the formation of the unity government and filed a police complaint in July. The police however refused to investigate the complaint and even arrested Twala.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge has in the past also faced accusations of having gay liaisons. The CIO launched a manhunt for gay activist Dumisani Dube after he made a stunning disclosure that he had a love affair with the cabinet minister. Dube also claimed Mudenge infected him with the deadly HIV virus several years ago. Relatives close to Mudenge concede his health has dramatically deteriorated over the years and he was literally ‘in the departure lounge.’

GALZ was formed in 1989 to provide gay men and lesbians in Zimbabwe with a network to facilitate communication within the gay community. By default the network also provided a space for bisexuals and other alternative people who sought more broad-minded company. Primarily concerned with providing the community with social events, the organisation kept a low profile at its onset until a programme of outreach led to its high profile.


- see G&L Holocaust Memorial Project leaflet about Russia and the Soviet Union, Colombia, Iran, Peru, Cuba and, of course, Nazi Germany, WWII

HOMOPHOBIA PART 5a - Same Sex Marriage Issues Part 1
HOMOPHOBIA PART 5b - Same Sex Marriage Issues Part 2
HOMOPHOBIA PART 5c - Same Sex Marriage Issues Part 3
HOMOPHOBIA PART 5d - Same Sex Marriage Issues Part 4
HOMOPHOBIA PART 6a - GLTH Suicide Part 1
HOMOPHOBIA PART 6b - GLTH Suicide Part 2
Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Hate Crimes - PREFACE
Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Hate Crimes - INTRODUCTION
Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV Hate Crimes - CHAPTER 1 - AUSTRALIAN 1971-1980
Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV Hate Crimes - CHAPTER 2 - AUSTRALIAN 1981-1990
Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV Hate Crimes - CHAPTER 3 - AUSTRALIAN 1991-2000
Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV Hate Crimes - CHAPTER 4 - AUSTRALIAN 2001-2010
Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV Hate Crimes - CHAPTER 5 - AUSTRALIAN 2011-2020
Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV Hate Crimes - INTERNATIONAL - Part - 1 A to I
Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV Hate Crimes - INTERNATIONAL - Part - 2 J to S
Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV Hate Crimes - INTERNATIONAL - Part - 3 T to Z





Mannie also has a personal web site, which may be found by clicking on the link: RED JOS - HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM

Mannie's blogs may be accessed by clicking on to the following links:

MannieBlog (from 1 August 2003 to 31 December 2005)

Activist Kicks Backs - Blognow archive re-housed - 2005-2009

RED JOS BLOGSPOT (from January 2009 onwards)

This page updated 22 JULY 2013 and again on 9 NOVEMBER 2016