Tag Archives: Hate Crimes

16 years ago today.

6 Oct

On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming. He wasn’t expecting that day to be different from any other beautiful sunny afternoon in the vast plains surrounding Laramie, but that day would change many lives.

Aaron spotted what he initially thought was a scarecrow next to a fence. Then he noticed a glisten of blood. The sun sparkled on what he barely recognized as a face. What Aaron had discovered was the 22 year-old Matthew Shepard, clinging to life.

Most of you know what happened next. Matthew held on for five more days and as his parents held his hand and prayed, Matthew slipped away quietly on October 12th, leaving in his wake a new movement for equality.

The outcries for justice and for greater protections were immediate and resonating.

Since then, Matthew’s mother Judy has made it her personal mission to protect all young LGBT people from Matthew’s horrific fate. In founding the Matthew Shepard Foundation, she has created safe spaces in and outside of schools for kids, and worked with parents to ensure their children learn to erase hate from their lives.

But overwhelmingly what you saw in 1998 was a community ready to act, ready to change something. And Matthew’s story was the catalyst for that. Many of you have seen or read the Moises Kaufman play, The Laramie Project – Matthew’s story as told through interviews of those who were living in Laramie at the time – some of his friends and some who just happened to be riding a bike through the plains of Wyoming that day. If you think of nothing else today, please consider the importance of telling your story – how your story can change the world around you.

This young boy, unbeknownst to him, has changed the world with his.

15 years ago today.

7 Oct

 

On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming. He wasn’t expecting that day to be different from any other beautiful sunny afternoon in the vast plains surrounding Laramie, but that day would change many lives.

Aaron spotted what he initially thought was a scarecrow next to a fence. Then he noticed a glisten of blood. The sun sparkled on what he barely recognized as a face. What Aaron had discovered was the 22 year-old Matthew Shepard, clinging to life.

Most of you know what happened next. Matthew held on for five more days and as his parents held his hand and prayed, Matthew slipped away quietly on October 12th, leaving in his wake a new movement for equality.

The outcries for justice and for greater protections were immediate and resonating.

Since then, Matthew’s mother Judy has made it her personal mission to protect all young LGBT people from Matthew’s horrific fate. In founding the Matthew Shepard Foundation, she has created safe spaces in and outside of schools for kids, and worked with parents to ensure their children learn to erase hate from their lives.

But overwhelmingly what you saw in 1998 was a community ready to act, ready to change something. And Matthew’s story was the catalyst for that. Many of you have seen or read the Moises Kaufman play, The Laramie Project – Matthew’s story as told through interviews of those who were living in Laramie at the time – some of his friends and some who just happened to be riding a bike through the plains of Wyoming that day. If you think of nothing else today, please consider the importance of telling your story – how your story can change the world around you.

This young boy, unbeknownst to him, has changed the world with his.

Now, on the 15th anniversary of his murder, author Stephen Jiminez has released a book denying the hate crime that took place here. Based entirely on innuendo, Jiminez is doing his best to attack the memory of a boy who gave me the strength to tell the world who I am. Please join me in asking bookstores to cancel his appearances by signing this petition. Using the 15th anniversary of this horrific event to sell books is beyond the pale.

shepard-matthew

Author Unveils Anti-Gay Matthew Shepard Truther Book on 15th Anniversary of His Murder

3 Oct

shepard-matthew15 years ago, I was walking through the student union of my college when I saw a TV with a news story about a young man in Laramie Wyoming who’d been found badly beaten – and left for dead.

That young man was Matthew Shepard. His grisly murder not only acted as a lightning rod for our community, but it also caused many, including myself, to come out and be counted.

Over the years, the media has tried digging deeper on this story only to be debunked at every conspiracy theory they could unearth. One of the first conspiracy theories around Matthew’s murder came from author Stephen Jiminez. In 2000, just 2 years after Matthew’s murder, Jiminez came across an anonymous letter claiming that Matthew was essentially in a sexual relationship with his murderer, Aaron McKinney. Despite McKinney’s denial of this, despite none of Matthew’s friends or family ever having seen McKinney in their lives prior to the murder and despite not even knowing who wrote this letter, Jiminez thought it necessary to craft a fiction about Matthew Shepard.

The brilliant Media Matters thoroughly debunks “The Book of Matt,” including Jiminez’ own background with the story, every one of his sources (many of whom are “anonymous,”), and his dismissal that Matt’s murder had anything to do with his sexuality despite taped confessions from the killer repeatedly referring to Matt as “the fag” and “the queer.”

Dozens of reputable bookstores around the country are not only stocking this innuendo-filled book, but they’ve invited Jiminez to speak and sell his book to more people.

Last week, I spoke with Bradley Graham at DC’s Politics & Prose – one of the few decent independent booksellers in the city. While grateful that I brought this to their attention, they refused to cancel the event. In a follow-up email to me, Brad dismissed my concerns that the book was full of lies by stating:

“As an independent bookstore, P&P has long played a role as more than just a retail outlet; it’s also an established forum for community discussion on a broad range of topics. In a democracy like ours, such forums are essential. Citizens must have opportunities to hear diverse and sometimes divergent views and to engage in respectful debate about them, even if those views are controversial. As long as this dialogue remains civil and considerate, we will stay committed to holding events featuring a wide universe of books and reflecting many different perspectives.”

Please read the above article from Media Matters on just how hurtful this book is to the LGBT community. Then check the list of readings here and see if one of your local bookstores is hosting a reading. Drop them a line and let them know that they are giving a platform to someone who is spreading lies, rumor and conjecture which are aimed at spitting on the grave of Matthew Shepard.

I’ve done the work of finding phone numbers for all scheduled book events for Mr. Jiminez. Please make the calls and let the stores know what’s going on. Most probably have no idea.

10/8/13 

Harvard Coop
1400 Massachussetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02238

1-800-368-1882

10/9/13

Politics & Prose Bookstore
5015 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008

(202) 364-1919

10/10/13

CARMICHAELS BOOKSTORE
2720 FRANKFORT AVE
LOUISVILLE-JEFFERSON COUN, KY 40206-2769

(502) 896-6950

10/12/13

Iowa City Book Festival
Iowa City, IA 52240

http://www.iowacitybookfestival.org/contact/

10/14/13

Sarasota1Bookstore
1359 Main Street
Sarasota, FL 34236

941-365-7900

10/15/13

Books and Books
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134

305.442.4408

10/16/13

Inkwood Books
216 S. Armenia
Tampa, FL 33609

(813) 253-2638

10/19/13

MADISON PUBLIC LIBRARY – MARY VAUGHN/ORDER DEPT
126 S. HAMILTON STREET
MADISON, WI 53703-3210

608-266-6300

10/21/13

Auntie’s Bookstore
402 W Main
Spokane, WA 99201

(509) 838-0206

10/22/13

University Book Store
4326 University Way, N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105

(206) 634-3400

10/23/13

Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

(206) 366-3333

10/24/13

Powell’s Books
1005 W. Burnside St.
Portland, OR 97210

503-228-4651

10/29/13

Copperfield Books
138 N. Main Street
Sebastopol, CA 95472

(707) 823-2618

10/30/13

Book Soup
8818 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

310-659-3110

11/1/13

The King’s English Bookshop
1511 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84105

(801) 484-9100

11/3/13

BOULDER BOOKSTORE
1107 PEARL ST
BOULDER, CO 80302-5103

(303) 447-2074

11/4/13

Tattered Cover
2526 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80206

303-322-7727

11/5/13

Old Firehouse Books
232 Walnut St
Fort Collins, CO 80524

(970) 484-7898

11/6/13

Bookworks
4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107

(505) 344-8139

11/7/13

COLLECTED WORKS BOOKSTORE
202 GALISTEO ST
SANTA FE AIRPORT, NM 87501-2101

(505) 988-4226

11/12/13

BookPeople
603 North Lamar
Austin, TX 78703

(512) 472-5050

11/13/13

The Twig Book Shop
306 Pearl Parkway, Ste 106
San Antonio, TX 78215

210-826-6411

11/14/13

BRAZOS BOOKSTORE INC.
2421 BISSONNET ST
HOUSTON, TX 77005-1451

(713) 523-0701

11/18/13

SUBTEXT A BOOKSTORE
165 WESTERN AVE N STE 14
SAINT PAUL, MN 55102-4613

(651) 493-3871

11/19/13

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA BKSTR COFFMAN MEMORIAL UNION
300 WASHINGTON AVE SE
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55455-0371

(612) 625-6000

11/20/13

BOSWELL BOOK COMPANY LLC DANIEL GOLDIN
2559 N DOWNER AVE
MILWAUKEE, WI 53211-4242

(414) 332-1181

11/22/13

BOOK CELLAR
4736 N LINCOLN AVE # 38
CHICAGO, IL 60625-2089

(773) 293-2665

14 years ago today

6 Oct

On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming. He wasn’t expecting that day to be different from any other beautiful sunny afternoon in the vast plains surrounding Laramie, but that day would change many lives.

Aaron spotted what he initially thought was a scarecrow next to a fence. Then he noticed a glisten of blood. The sun sparkled on what he barely recognized as a face. What Aaron had discovered was the 22 year-old Matthew Shepard, clinging to life.

Most of you know what happened next. Matthew held on for five more days and as his parents held his hand and prayed, Matthew slipped away quietly on October 12th, leaving in his wake a new movement for equality.

The outcries for justice and for greater protections were immediate and resonating.

Since then, Matthew’s mother Judy has made it her personal mission to protect all young LGBT people from Matthew’s horrific fate. In founding the Matthew Shepard Foundation, she has created safe spaces in and outside of schools for kids, and worked with parents to ensure their children learn to erase hate from their lives.

But overwhelmingly what you saw in 1998 was a community ready to act, ready to change something. And Matthew’s story was the catalyst for that. Many of you have seen or read the Moises Kaufman play, The Laramie Project – Matthew’s story as told through interviews of those who were living in Laramie at the time – some of his friends and some who just happened to be riding a bike through the plains of Wyoming that day. If you think of nothing else today, please consider the importance of telling your story – how your story can change the world around you.

This young boy, unbeknownst to him, has changed the world with his.

Gay Dads, 4 Kids Terrorized by Neighbors – You Can Help!

13 Jul

Roy, Felix and their four children

You may recall last week when we told you about the Arizona family that has been threatened, had their property set on fire and their children chased down the street by men with guns while police did nothing.

While local authorities are  still being pressured by the media and people around the country to investigate this and prosecute accordingly, not much has changed for the two dads and their four adopted children.

While we can’t go wave a magic wand and make Arizona police and elected officials comprehend the idea that all families should be treated equally, we can show them they’re not alone.

The Family Equality Council and their new media manager, Sean Carlson (my fiancé) are attempting to do just that. Last August, I took part in a life-changing week in Provincetown, MA. Family Equality Council’s Family Week is a place for families of all different combinations. Two Dads, Two Moms, Two Grandpas, Two Grandmas – no matter what – everyone is welcome.

For the first time in many of their lives, children of LGBT parents are shown they are not the only family like theirs. In fact, not only are they introduced to a world with hundreds of families like their own, they are even celebrated in a parade down the main street of town.

With your help, the Family Equality Council is going to be bringing this family to Provincetown for Family Week this year.

From their fundraising page:

“It started with grafitti, then escalated to setting their bushes on fire and banging on the windows at night. Then the unthinkable happened: someone broke into their home and vandalized the children’s furniture.

The past few months have been a nightmare for the Bermeas – the harassment, the late night calls to the police, the aftermath, and the increased media attention have all made this time a less-than-ideal summer vacation.

We can do something about this – raise enough money to send the entire family to Family Week in Provincetown, MA.

Please help show this family they’re not alone! Contribute Now!

Christian Pastor Orders Assault on Gay Son Attempting to Enter Church

3 Oct

Jerry Pittman Jr and his boyfriend Dustin Lee

Last Wednesday night, Jerry Pittman Jr. and his boyfriend Dustin Lee went to visit Jerry’s father’s church – The Grace Fellowship Church in Humboldt, TN.  When they pulled up in their car, Jerry heard someone shout “Sick ‘em” and his uncle and two other deacons ran for the car and began attacking the couple.

The New Civil Rights Movement reports that while beating the two young men through the windows of the car, the deacons were heard shouting anti-gay language. In an interview with WBBJ TV, an ABC affiliate – the men told reporters that when police arrived, they refused to take a statement from them or allow them to press charges. There were twenty churchgoers standing outside the church as the attack occurred and not a single “Christian” attempted to stop the assault.

WBBJ Reports:

“My uncle and two other deacons came over to the car per my dad’s request. My uncle smash me in the door as the other deacon knocked my boyfriend back so he couldn’t help me, punching him in his face and his chest. The other deacon came and hit me through my car window in my back,” said Pittman. He said bystanders did not offer assistance. He said the deacon yelled derogatory homosexual slurs, even after officers arrived. He said the officers never intervened to stop the deacons from yelling the slurs.

Once officers arrived, the deputy on the scene additionally refused to stop the church-going folk and deacons continue to shout anti-gay slurs at the couple.

The couple has filed charges against the deacons and Pastor Pittman. The Sheriff in the interview, as you will see takes no time to place potential blame on the gay couple. One has to wonder if he would do the same thing if a rape victim came to him.

See the full video here.


							

NOM’s Anti-Gay Rally Speaker Screams Gays are “Worthy to Death”

15 May

Rev. Sen. Ruben Diaz and NOM President Brian Brown (photo: Jeremy Hooper, GoodAsYou.org)

Due to inclement weather and a knee injury, I was unfortunately unable to attend today’s “Rally to Defend Marriage” in the Bronx, but thanks to the unending work of blogger and activist, Jeremy Hooper at GoodAsYou, we’re learning a lot about the event.

The rally, first proposed and planned by Reverend Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. of New York, was supposed to bring more than 20,000 people to the Bronx to fight against marriage equality. Diaz is the most fiercely anti-gay politician in New York, despite having two gay brothers. This rally was planned after New York Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell introduced legislation (again) to bring marriage equality to New York State.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) jumped on board to sponsor the march and pay for commercials and other event costs, thus endorsing the things being said in the rally by their guests. In the past, NOM has been very careful about speaking against the violence their rally attendees frequently endorse towards LGBT people. After Larry Adams attended a NOM rally in Indianapolis last summer carrying a sign indicating that the solution to gay marriage is to murder gay people, NOM tried to distance themselves from the message.

This time, it may not be so easy for NOM to distance itself from the message. Whereas previously the violent message was coming from rally attendees, at today’s rally in the Bronx, the quote from one of the rally’s speakers referred to gays and lesbians as “worthy to death.” Perhaps there was something lost in the Spanish to English translation, but it seems clear from the speakers as well as the crowd’s response that an endorsement of murder is the message being presented. Many thanks to Jeremy Hooper for this video. Please visit this link at GoodAsYou.org for the full disturbing video.

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