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AAAAAA! Daddy Bush thinks he’s got another great candidate for president lined up: his second son Jeb. People, after Jeb he’s got two more sons, Neil and Marvin, and a daughter, Dorothy. SOMEBODY STOP HIM BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

His remarks: “I’d like to see him run. I’d like to see him be president someday.” When asked if he was serious, he said: “Or maybe senator. . .Whatever. Yes, I would. I mean, right now is probably a bad time, because we’ve had enough Bushes in there. But no, I would. And I think he’s as qualified and able as anyone I know on the political scene. Now, you’ve got to discount that. He’s my son.”

Lord help us. It does sound like Jeb is doing some résumé burnishing: apparently he is considering a run for the Senate. This is a man who has helped end affirmative action in Florida, who signed “Terri’s Law” relating to the Terri Schiavo situation, opposes gay marriage, domestic partner benefits, gay adoption and gay hate crime laws, calls feminism a “modern victim movement”, wants to build more prisons, supports abstinence education, wants more money for the “Drug War”, wants welfare recipients to feel “shame”, and believes that abortion should be banned except in the event of rape, incest or threat to the health of the mother.

Nice.

Cemetery

Just some queers and perceived queers who were subject to hate crimes and/or murder in 2008. Learn more about their stories by clicking on their names.

Taysia Elzy & Michael Hunt

Milton Lindgren & Eric Hendricks

Leeneshia Edwards

Ebony Whitaker

Duanna Johnson

San Francisco Lesbian

Simmie Williams

Jose Sucuzhanay

Lawrence King

Angie Zapata

Wayland Union High School Student

Nathan Runkle

Moses Cannon

Lance Neve

Tony Hunter

Jimmy Lee Dean

(“…suspects later admitted robbing Dean because they thought a gay man would make an easier target.”)

Here’s why hate crime legislation is necessary and not just an ‘empty gesture’ as some have called it:

1. When hate crimes against certain groups are reported as such, the data can be tracked, aggregated, trends followed, and problem areas specifically addressed.

2. A hate crime has more victims than the primary person(s) who experienced the violence and abuse. A hate crime has as its secondary victims everyone else who belongs to that category that made the primary victims into targets. A hate crime against an individual who is perceived as LGBT has the effect of putting the whole LGBT community in a state of heightened fear. It establishes a precedent of attacking LGBT people because of their perceived queerness for other homophobic individuals who might tend towards violence.  Therefore, a murder as a result of a hate crime has wider negative effects than a murder that was  not a hate crime.

3. The label of hate crime breaks the silence that often surrounds violence and abuse towards oppressed and marginalized groups in society. It publicly names this particular kind of violence for what it is, which is of course essential if we want to look for real solutions to stop it. This is discussed in some of the links above… Indiana has no hate crime law, so LGBT advocates don’t know how prevalent hate crimes are, or which crimes against LGBT individuals were motivated by their LGBT status.

Something else to note: location, race, and socio-economic class seem to have important effects. A disproportionate number of those killed lived in conservative communities, were people of color, and were low-income. These parts of the victims’ identities intersect with their queerness, perceived or real, to create an identity, a personhood, that marked them as targets. Do their killers and harassers figure that by choosing victims who are doubly- and triply-marginalized they will be able to get away with their crimes? They certainly have enough precedent to think it’s a good bet. Or does possessing intersecting marginalized identities just create so much hate in would-be attackers that where one “offensive” identity would have been bearable, two or more is just temptation too great to resist?

From the Brooklyn Eagle via Pam’s House Blend:

The vast majority of brutality against gays is carried out by young men, usually acting in groups, said Riki Wilchins, executive director of Gender Public Advocacy Coalition, a Washington nonprofit that works in schools to address discrimination.

Their victims most often are other young men with feminine demeanors or transgender women, said Wilchins. “These assailants are looking to eradicate and exterminate something that enrages them, and that is what makes them hate crimes,” he said.

AP:

Stapel attributed the increase in part to more people reporting incidents, but she believed there actually could have been more assaults because 2008 was an election year.

“Election years are always violent years for us because of wedge issues,” Stapel said, referring to ballot measures this year banning gay marriage in California and Florida. “With increased visibility comes increased vulnerability to LGBT stereotypes and violence. We’ve seen some of the most violent hate crimes that we’ve seen in a while.”

Do prominent anti-gay measures have the effect of creating more hate crimes against LGBT individuals? Do these measures send a message to society that queers are lesser people, second-class citizens, not quite as deserving of respectful treatment as “regular” folks? If we believe our laws are supposed to reflect our society’s values, then I would say that anti-gay laws definitely send a message that it is okay to treat LGBT people as “less than”. If we already have fewer rights before the law, some individuals inclined towards violence and hate will feel that violence against a gay person will be analogously less serious before the law than violence against a “regular” person.

Your thoughts please. Respect for the humanity of Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans people is a requirement if you want to post. If I missed any anti-LGBT hate crimes, please post them in the comments!

Check out these great resources: LGBT Hate Crimes Project and LGBT Hate Crime Reports

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