The past several days have seen a lot of news of vicious attacks on gay men and lesbians. Andy Towle reports on the latest crime, committed against a young man in Tulsa, OK. More graphic images of the sawing, stabbing and punching inflicted on Brandon Patrick are available as well.
While these crimes are horrific by themselves, what is all the more chilling is the common theme running through them: These are crimes motivated by hatred towards the lesbian and gay community and having the effect of terrorizing that entire community. At the federal level as well as in most states, crimes committed against LGBT individuals are not considered hate crimes even when motivated by hate and promoting fear in the LGBT community at large. Furthermore, these crimes are all too often not investigated and/or prosecuted to the extent they should be as a result of the homophobia present in the local police forces and prosecutors' offices across this country. Please call your US Senators to ask them to support the Matthew Shepart Act recently passed by the House of Representatives but awaiting consideration in the Senate. It would give prosecutors added tools to punish, and by so doing, deter hate crimes committed against our community and its members.