A College Point, NY man was brutally gay bashed this past Friday night in Queens. Jack Price, 49 years old was beaten while anti-gay slurs were screamed at him. He is now in a coma with everyone one of his ribs broken, two collapsed lungs, spleen and liver damage. It is believed the two assailants followed him into a deli calling him “faggot” then followed him outside where he was beaten. His chances of survival are being evaluated on an hour by hour basis.
This makes me sick to my stomach because I value safety. What makes me more sick is the passive violence that fuels this active violence that we barely acknowledge. This violence won’t stop until we change the climate of speech that makes GLBT folks the “bad” guys out to “destroy” marriage or “indoctrinate” children. As long as we have hate speech, we will have more crimes like these. As long as anti-gay activist are ready and willing to dehumanize and demean our lives, our history and our loves, there will be a ready army of others ready to give action to their words.
I also will look to the anti-gay groups to take a public stand and condemn this act of violence. I would request that Americans for Truth, Concerned Women for America, American Family Association, etc…issue press releases denouncing this act of violence against GLBT folks. If they are really about the love for GLBT folks they say they are, I would like them to put their words to action.
This is footage of Matthew Shepard just two years before he was robbed, beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead. We see lots of pictures of Matthew and to see a video of him alive, smiling and talking knowing that 2 years later he would be killed in a brutal and violent crime, is an awakening.
The chances of any of us being taken hostage by an armed madman are thankfully pretty low. On the other hand, our chances of being held psychological hostage to our own fears or the control of others is pretty high. In fact, I would bet to say many of us are psychological hostages to the unresolved conflicts in our lives. George Kohlrieser has been a professional hostage negotiator for decades and brings his years of conflict resolution skills in compact form in the book, Hostage at the Table.
From the get-go this book is captivating with stories of hostage situations taken from Kohlriser’s own experiences as a hostage negotiator. By explaining the nature of conflict and the biology of the “fight or flight” nature of our minds, he gives us a clear picture of why so many of us are being held psychological hostages. He takes us through the skills hostage negotiators use to resolve conflicts and shows how those same skills can be used by business leaders, parents and educators to prevent us from being psychological hostages to the everyday conflict that comes up in our lives. Noting that hostage negotiators have a success rate of over 90 percent, this book offers skills to make life more wonderful by learning to deal with conflict.
I found that most of this book and its offerings fit really well with the foundations of Nonviolent Communication. Kohlriser talks about the importance of “bonding and attachment” and learning to bond even with an ‘enemy’ and becoming a “secure-base” are the keys to never thinking like a hostage. He talks extensively about how the bonding process is one of the key skills all hostage negotiators use to create a safe space where dialogue and negotiation can occur. He stresses the importance of connection, which is the goal and purpose of Nonviolence Communication. For this reason, I would recommend all NVC practitioners read this book. I would also urge all business leaders, community activists and politicians to also read this book.
Kohlrieser uses an interesting metaphor in his book that he calls, “putting the fish on the table” where he compares conflict resolution to cleaning and gutting fish. It is a rather gross and bloody metaphor and it works beautifully by noting that when we leave the fish under the table, they fester become toxic and rot under the table and when we put the fish on the table and do the work of gutting and scaling, we are working toward a beautiful dinner that we can enjoy. His point being that to live a beautiful life, we need to put our fish on the table and deal with the mess before we can move on to the beauty of life.
Kohlrieser points out that all hostage takers have suffered great loss. For almost every event of shootings, hijackings, or people barricading themselves into their homes, we find the individuals have suffered great losses. Whether it was a job, the death of a loved one or the loss of one’s home.
Some of Kohlrieser’s guidelines for solving conflict:
An important thing I would like to note about this book is how Kohlrieser explains that the research shows that a person is incapable of killing another person. First, they must dehumanize them to where they are seen as an object. By creating a bond with their captors, many people have managed to stay alive. In the opening story, Kohlrieser tells of a grandmother who bonds with a man who broke into her house in the middle of the night by offering to cook him dinner and give him a place to sleep. Later, in the morning they discover the man was a psychopathic murderer who had murdered the family who were the nearest neighbors. This lesson about bonding and dehumanizing is a valuable lesson to understanding hate crimes and the part that “hate speech” plays in these crimes. By dehumanizing gays and lesbians, blacks, immigrants, and others into objects rather than people, it is easier for everyday people to justify violence against them. This is why it is so important that we bond and create dialogue with those who create such speech so they understand the outcomes of their words.
You can read the first chapter of the book, including the story of the grandmother here. (PDF files and requires AcrobatReader)
Dr. Sa’d Al-’Inzi: When a person commits an abominable act, like homosexuality, for example, or lesbianism, in the case of women’s parlors this constitutes “spreading corruption in the land,” and should be punished by death. […]
Moderator: Other than life imprisonment and the death sentence, what can be done?
Dr. Sa’d Al-’Inzi: According to Islamic law, a homosexual should be thrown from a tall building.
Moderator: What would you do with them?
Dr. Sa’d Al-’Inzi: To be honest, death is too good for them. They should be gathered in a public place, where they would be flogged and tortured, so the truth about these people is made clear and they serve as a lesson to others, because they are an epidemic plaguing society. Read more
I wonder if he really thinks god is love too! Turture, thrown from buildings, public flogging and god loves you. I am baffled at the morality of those who claim to be moral.
H/T: Atheist Media Blog
I decided today that I don’t really care about Mormons or what they spend their money on. I just want to live without fear of discrimination in my life. I don’t really care if more or less blacks voted against me in this past election. I just want to live without fear of losing my job because I am gay. I don’t really care if Christian groups do or do not support my relationship with my partner, I would just like to know we are safe, legally protected and that my tax dollars are not being used against me or him and certainly not “us.”
I also don’t want to spend my time writing, protesting or speaking out for gay rights. I would like to go watch TV on the couch with my partner and the dogs. I don’t want to make signs anymore, or brainstorm the next protest chant. I don’t want to spend hours on the internet searching for the peer reviewed science that corrects the lies and research misused by you and your friends. I don’t want to spend hours at the State House waiting my turn to testify before a committee of men who behind close doors will laugh and call me, “Faggot” and let the bill to protect me die in committee. I would like to go have dinner and a movie, then sit with friends and enjoy life.
I can tell you that I am tired as hell and emotionally worn down over the years of lies and funny looks because I am gay. I am tired of the stereotypes, the misconceptions and the mothers shielding their children from me and my partner when I know deep in my heart, they would be safer with me than most other people. I am tired of worry about what neighborhood I choose to live in and if it is “safe” for people like me. I really just want to live my life in peace.
Sadly, the reality is that I need to muster up some energy and make some posters to head out to the protest on Saturday because no matter how much the bullies try to get me to fight, I refuse to fight. Fists never suited me or my style but don’t think for one precious minute that I am going to back down and let you push me around for another day. It is our time and we are tired of being shunned, abandoned and beat up. As Melissa said, “I am a giant” and will not be afraid, I will not back down and “you will not make me fall.” I will not cower and I will certainly never give up until all of us can be free to go be with the one we love without the fear of you and your version of god.
Give it your best shot! I have survived being bashed twice now. Go ahead, hit me, punch me, pass your amendments but don’t think for one minute you have stopped me or even weakened me because you would be mistaken. The arc of the universe does exactly what Martin said it does. It leans to the side of justice. I have seen it and I know it is true. I don’t just believe in the “beloved community”, I am part of the beloved community. I am the beloved community. We are all the beloved community.
What may surprise you is that I won’t gloat when we are finally free and safe from harm. I won’t rub it in your face. I instead will invite you to dinner and welcome you into my home like a long lost friend. I have not one ounce of hate in my bones. I don’t look down on you and I don’t think less of you. I feel sorry for you. I will always be sad for those who suffer at the hand of ignorance and live in the darkness of fear of their fellow man solely because they didn’t take the time to seek out the truth. I will still see you as my brother no matter what you do to me more because I refuse to see you though the dark and cloudy lens you are choosing to use to look at me.
I am proud and inspired to say this was sent to me by the newest member of the SC PFLAG, my sister! That also inspires me to make it successful. I offer my full support to Sean Kenndy’s family and to the members of PFLAG!
Target: U.S. Senate
Sponsored by: Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays
On May 16, 2007, Sean Kennedy, a 20-year old gay man, was attacked on the streets of Greenville, South Carolina. He died of his injuries later that night. Yet, because of the lack of hate crimes legislation, his attacker will be eligible for parole in as little as 10 months.
Sean was a brave young man with a bright, infectious smile. But his life was cut short and justice left unserved.
As it stands now, 23 states, including South Carolina, do not have hate crime laws that include sexual orientation, but passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Action (LLEHCPA) would change that by strengthening existing laws and allowing the Department of Justice to assist local prosecutions, and where appropriate, investigate and prosecute cases.
Sean’s death shows that comprehensive hate crime legislation is urgently needed. Please support the LLEHCPA.
Some guy, with what are being called “extreme Christian” views, has claimed that gays and lesbians should be executed because the bible is clear on that. The remarks were made during a school debate of Federal candidates (it is unclear what office he running for). David Popescu replied to a student asking his opinions on gay marriage by saying gays should be executed.
During a telephone interview later in the day, Popescu reasserted his view.
“A young man asked me what I think of homosexual marriages and I said I think homosexuals should be executed,” he said. “My whole reason for running is the Bible and the Bible couldn’t be more clear on that point.”
Why does it seem to me that hating gays is just fine as long as you claim God told you to do it……
UPDATE: After some thinking and reconsideration, I have decided to take my words back about this one. I am not really sure if I think this is motivated by hate as much as it is fear of god. I think this man truly wants to live by what he believes the bible says about the laws. Funny enough, I would rather chuck it up to hate because I think that is fixable with understanding, empathy and information. Fear of god, I am not sure I can do much to change that one.
H/T: PZ Myers
Michael Causer, a 19-year-old teen was beaten viciously in what police are calling an anti-gay hate attack on Friday, July 25, 2008. He remains in critical condition after requiring brain surgery as a result of the attack. His family notes that Michael is a rather small kid who “wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
3 Suspects have been arrested in the crime and details of the attack should emerge with time. In the meanwhile, my thoughts and hopes go out to Michael, his family and the community around him. Hate crimes create victims far beyond those attack. Now others in the community will live in fear of this happening to them.
Hat tip to Ex-Gay Watch.
Please join the facebook group in Support of this young lad!
There seems to be some level of irony that an event designed and created to bring attention to bullying is being protested by bullies. Just this year alone, we have faced the tragic murder of Lawrence King who was murdered for asking another boy to be his valentine. King was often the target of bullies and suffered greatly through the tauting and teasing.
Study show us that bullying has long term effects including a link to depression. Kids who are bullied are more likely to drop out of school, get into trouble with the law and turn to alcohol and drugs. Often kids who are bullied are perceived to be gay by other children. This compounded with the negative enemy imaged of gays and lesbians by anti-gay organizations, causes children to take sometime violent measures to be sure no one “thinks” they are gay.
Today’s protest, the Day of Silence, is meant to make a statement about the bullying and the violence that can be associated with it. One would think the opposition to gay rights would be equally as opposed to bullying and violence and thus supportive of this event. One would think that Christian and other religious groups whose interest in in “saving” or ministering to gays and lesbians would be supportive of this event, but such is not he case.
The Rev. Ken Hutcherson is protesting the protest today at a school in Washington State. Now, I try to refrain from calling people names and labeling someone a bully would be name calling. I admit that fully, but I also admit that many anti-gay organizations and individuals just fit the definition of a bully. While there is no official definition of a bully, which has made it difficult for lawmakers to address the issue, the dictionary defines a bully as:
The Hyperdictionary: http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=bullying
1. [n] the act of intimidating a weaker person to make them do something
2. [adj] noisily domineering; tending to browbeat others
Synonyms: blustery, domineering, intimidation
See Also: aggression, frightening, terrorisation, terrorization
The first defintion, a noun, clearly describes the actions of many anti-gay individuals and organizations when you consider that many religious organizations are trying to scare gay people into going back into the closet or to try and change their sexuality. The second defintion, an adjective speaks for itself, in connection to anti-gay religious organizations as they can be some browbeating on their part to send us into the shadows.
With all that said, it is no wonder they would protest a protest that protests them!
The Southern Poverty Law Center has released its annual list of hate groups. In the Category of “anti-gay” nine (9) groups have been listed. “anti-gay groups” are organizations that go beyond mere disagreement with homosexuality by subjecting gays and lesbians to campaigns of personal vilification. They are:
|District of Columbia|
The annual report also gives new credibility to the argument that hate speech leads to violence, noting that hate crimes against Latinos have risen 35% from 2003 to 2006. It is believed the assailants think they are attacking immigrants who have been made the enemy by anti-immigration groups. Any group that is painted as the enemy is bound to be victims of further and heightened violence. I cannot tell you how important this message is to stopping hate violence. Perhaps this year, people like Peter LaBarbera, Matt Barber, and Stephen Bennett will see that calling on people to defend themselves from the gay agenda is a call to violence. When you paint folks as a threat to children, diseased, etc, the reaction is heightened violence.
I would also hope that these groups will stop supporting this David Parker guy from Mass Resistance who has now officially been deemed a hate group.
A teenager was walking on Martin Circle about 9 p.m. Sunday when three boys he knew made fun of his homosexuality and tried to rob his purse, Athens-Clarke police said.
The victim said the boys have teased him before because he is gay.
One of the boys punched the 17-year-old victim in the head from behind, and one tried to take the purse, police said, but the victim was able to hold onto the bag.
Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 030408
I know I haven’t been blogging much lately, but I wanted to set time aside today to remember and acknowledge some of the recent victims of hate crimes I have seen in the news. The following people have been victims of anti-gay hate crimes and my thoughts and wishes for healing go to all involved:
Simmie Williams, Jr.
Age: 17 years old and openly gay. Shot down in Ft Lauderdale, Florida on February 22, 2008.
Lawrence King: Oxnard, California
Age 15: Shot by his friend Charlie on February 12, 2008 for being gay and asking Charlie if he would be his Valentine.
Age Unknown, was beaten in January 2008 after walking hand in hand with his male partner in Darlinghurst, Austrailia
Age 31, run over with a car on September 18, 2007 after leaving his place of employment which happens to be a gay bar in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Video is available here
Age unknown, was beaten in a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida eating establishment for being gay.
ELLEN: “On February 12th, an openly gay 15-year-old boy named Larry who was an eighth-grader in Oxnard, California was murdered by a fellow eighth-grader named Brandon. Larry was killed because he…was gay. Days before he was murdered, Larry asked his killer to be his Valentine…And somewhere along the line the killer Brandon got the message that it’s so threatening and so awful and so horrific that Larry would want to be his Valentine that killing Larry seemed to be the right thing to do. And when the message out there is so horrible that to be gay you can be killed for it, we need to change the message.”
To start with, I am going to reveal who I am voting for this election….OBAMA! Why??? Two really big reasons, the first being that Daily Kos is reporting that Obama may have some knowledge of Nonviolent communication. From watching him in debates I might believe this. Either way, I think he has more of a peace mind than any other candidate and he is against the war in Iraq. Second, I have major reservations about Clinton. I feel angry when I see her attack campaign tactics. I just don’t want to vote for someone whose idea of a campaign is to trash the other guy rather than promote their own ideals.
I borrowed this photo from Andy:
I know more about what Hilliary dislikes about Obama than I do about what she WILL do for this Country. I find that frustrating. I need to understand and feel moved by the candidate for whom I vote and it isn’t Sen. Clinton. I feel scared that if this is how she handles rough water in the campaign, how will she handle rough waters in the light of war?
Aside from all of that, I support Clinton should Obama not win the ticket. I will do this more so because I do not feel confident with McCain behind the wheel and I think I would move to Canada should Huckabee ever by some off the cuff chance ever be elected. I respect that he wants to shake things up, but his denial of evolution makes me nervous.
Well, the site is still running at 1/4 speed. I actually have an open ticket with ipower support and have had no response. I just need to move the site to a new server. I apologize the site is so slow, but on the other hand maybe it is a sign to pack it in. I have been at this for a few years and I wonder if it isn’t time to just move on? I really think we will win civil rights for gays and lesbians in the courts. I am not sure that we will ever change anyone’s mind with a web-site, but hell I could be wrong and just feeling cynical.
“live simply, so that others may simply live”
Anyone reading this site or who knows me personally knows that my role model and hero is Mohandas Gandhi. I truly believe he was on to something about creating peace in the world. Peace is important to me because it means less violence, it means justice. It means that we live our lives in ways that allow all of us to be our best.
To move closer to this vision and this quote, my partner and I will be selling our home and downsizing our lives. We wish to live more simply, so other can simply live. We hope to get it down to one car and I want a smaller place that uses less energy and with less land to manage. No more 250 foot driveway when it snows….no more football field of lawn to cut…. I want less work around the house, so I can devote more time to the causes and hobbies I love. I also want to be able to travel more, do more and see more. (sounds like a PBS commercial). So, on the market the house goes…I want to return to music, return to art but also start teaching nonviolence, mediation and nonviolent communication.
Some part of me would love to live in a hut someplace and start teaching young kids how to farm and sustain life. It is more in line with my beliefs about the world than the stuff I am currently doing. I believe the only true way to create peace in the world is to get out there and do it.
I have enjoyed very much hanging out with the folks over at this Christian website. They had a few lengthy discussion about Peter LaBarbera and his mission, homosexuality and other stuff, but I think my time posting there is reaching the end. I just don’t think we will learn much from each other as people there like most place seem to want to convert me to their religion. I feel so sad that so many people are trapped into fundamentalist religions. The whole idea of strict, black and white thinking is dangerous. Aside from that, think of all those ideas that get wasted when people control their thinking and ideas to such boxes. Either way, I am striving to figure out how to live in a world that is mainly religious now that I really no longer believe and that I have been awakened to the dangers of believing in mythology without evidence.
Well, there is not much good news or at least I didn’t see much. Another young life was shaken by hate in Ft Lauderdale, FL. when a man was beaten senseless for being gay. This happen less than 24 hours after a young gay man was gunned down in a recent hate attack at the young age of just 17 years old. This is the same town with the anti-gay mayor, Jim Naugle who I wrote about in my first issue of “get” magazine. I can’ t help but wonder if the rise in hate crimes in this tourist resort is not due to the right wing propaganda. I can’t say it is, but I also can’t help but point out all the right wing rhetoric against gays in the same town that has seen a murder and a beating against gays and transgendered people all in a short time frame.
At the same time, the right wing groups who claim such compassion for gays and lesbians are taking their usual silent approach to these murders. No world from Peter Labarbera stating his disgust for the recent violence. No outcry for peace or compassion from Exodus International. I can’ t say I am not a little angry about that, I am!
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"Be the change you wish to see in the world"
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King Jr.
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