Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The March Goes On ... But March With Caution

I have said it before, but it bears repeating: while the LGBT community has made great strides of late in the fight for equality, at work, for marriage equality, and for our binational brothers and sisters, the successes have spawned a rise in incidents of gay bashing.

Now, I’m not suggesting we step back, but I am suggesting that when we step up, and keep marching, that we remain vigilant and aware. For every step forward we make, those folks who wish to deny the LGBT community any form of equality, step up their fight against us, and their anger at our recent victories, spurs on those who respond to us with fists and anger and vandalism.

As we move forward, the numbers of hate crimes are going up because there are those who seek to deny us equality and they will use any means available to get their point across. And these incidents will increase, sadly, because our movement toward the goal will increase. I just hope that we all, the LGBT community and our allies, will step up, and be vigilant, and guard one another against the anger.
June 28: Ron McCoy and his partner, Chris Bowers, flew to Albuquerque for a long-awaited road trip through the Southwest, but their excitement soon died down. McCoy and Bowers took a seat in the front of a rental car shuttle bus, and sat there holding hands when the driver noticed them.
“I saw him look at us, look down at his hands and he looked so angry. He just blurted out at me, he goes, “'Okay, if you're going to do that, you're going to the back of the bus.'"—Ron McCoy
Shocked and not wanting to cause problems, the couple obeyed, but once the shuttle stopped, McCoy asked the driver why he forced them to move: “I said, ‘I think it was because you didn't like the fact that I was holding my partner's hand.' He goes, ‘See, now you're telling on yourself.’ My partner responds, 'Well, that's discrimination,' and the driver responds, ‘You're telling on yourself again.’”

Bernadette Aguirre, who witnessed the confrontation. jumped in: “I told the bus driver that I was completely appalled that anybody would be treated this way.”

“And the driver looks back at us and goes, 'I'll show you what's appalling,' and he points to us,” McCoy said.

The couple then complained to Sunport, who contracts with a private company, Standard Parking, to run the rental car shuttle buses. Their spokesman said: “First and foremost, it is absolutely unacceptable. We immediately got in touch with Standard Parking to assess what exactly happened. They acknowledged this was a mistake on the part of the driver.”

And yet they never apologized to McCoy and Bowers, and the driver continues to drive for the company.

UPDATE: The company has finally apologized and suspended the driver for his behavior.

August 3: The perpetrator took his time. That was what terrified John Hill most about the surveillance video of his Julia Street home, which showed a man pulling down a striped gay-pride flag and scrawling the word ‘fags’ across a shutter.
Hill is the chairman of the Forum for Equality, a statewide organization of LGBT individuals and their straight allies working for equal rights, and he calls the incident a hate crime. 
New Orleans Police Department spokesman Garry Flot said the department is investigating the incident with the FBI as a hate crime, and is asking the public's assistance in identifying the man seen in the video.
"It was so deliberate. That's what scared me most."—John Hill
Hill and his fiancé, John Weimer, who have lived in the 1832 townhouse since 2007, discovered the slur and the missing flag Saturday morning. By midafternoon they had replaced the missing Pride flag with two more.
"We're doubling down."John Hill

August 5: A group of men and women broke Jason Jacobs's nose after hurling anti-gay slurs at him in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle.

Jacobs was walking home shortly after midnight when he was approached by three men and two women, who started calling him derogatory names based on his sexual orientation. The mob chased Jacobs down the street and attacked him when they caught up, leaving him with a broken nose and cuts to his face and knees.

Jason Jacobs believes he was attacked because he is gay; police say Jacobs had been drinking and was unable to provide a good description of his attackers.

We are all watching Russia these days, because of the virulently anti-LGBT laws that threaten the safety of, not only LGBT Russians, but LGBT visitors to the country; the laws that may threaten LGBT athletes, and LGBT athlete allies, in the Winter Olympics in 2014.

But we here at home face our own hazards. While the laws are there, in some spots, to protect us, we still need to be aware that some people don’t like what we are asking for: equality. Some people don’t like that we are getting married in more and more states. Some people don’t like that we want protections in the work place. And rather than argue their point, some people, use their fists and their words, and spray-paint, to taunt us and terrorize us, hoping we’ll stop.

But one thing they don’t know about the Gay Community is that we won’t give up. We have been marching toward days like these for a long time, and a lot of us have fallen along the way due to homophobia and bigotry, and some of us have died for the fight, but we are still here and we are still marching and demanding our rights as citizens.

We just need to watch those who want to stop us; report those that threaten, those that vandalize, those that brutalize.

Our march goes on, and, I hope, it goes on safely.

Ron McCoy and Chris Bowers

John Weimer, Jr and John Hill


Ask the Cool Cookie said...

The great disease of American Malise is in thinking that once something is done, its done. It isn't.

The strides of late are just that, strides. We haven't made it to the finish line, we just have to work harder to maintain our successes.

Bob Slatten said...

And do so with one eye on the prize and one eye on our backs.

Helen Lashbrook said...

Sadly some are more equal than others even in the 21st century. White heterosexual males have it made; the rest of us can only batten on the gates.

Equality should be for us all; no-one should be afraid to walk in the dark.

Ms Sparrow said...

I hope Russia re-thinks their policy when they start to suffer lost tourism and sales of their products.

the dogs' mother said...

Be wise, be wary, be safe.

BloggerJoe said...

Just read a report that the shuttle bus company issued a formal apology and the driver has been suspended.

Bob Slatten said...

Well, that's something! Good for them for stepping up.

Anonymous said...

Another thing they don't know about the LGBT community -- we can get just as nasty and violent as they can if pressed hard enough.

That's why I started weight training again. If someone decides to discriminate and/or threaten me, I will stick up for myself.

Biki Honko said...

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, they they fight you, and then you win."
Mahatma Gandhi

kalai said...
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