Remember this truth expressed by Steve Biko: The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
I strongly urge you to read this article thoughtfully and in its entirety, and please widely circulate it and take it to heart:
The Dumb Dora Award for Putting Out Fire With Gasoline Goes to The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs . . . And You
I often talk about how hazardous it is to be a person of blended gender in this world. Let me use personal experience to illustrate what I'm talking about. As I've said before, my feminine traits are very obvious. When jocks joke about guys who glide instead of walk, they're talking about me; my sugar is raw! I don't own a car, so I'm usually on foot. More times than I can count, when I cross streets at stop lights, I'm nearly run down by drivers who pretend they don't see me. After they've barely avoided taking my life, they don't even slow down to apologize! On the contrary, they usually gun their motors. Sometimes I see drivers smirking behind the wheel as they speed away.
You might rationalize these incidents by saying: Oh, there are just a lot of rude, reckless drivers in your town. I wouldn't disagree with you. There are bad drivers all over Kansas City. And effeminacy in a male pedestrian brings out the worst in them!
For a long time, personal anecdote was the only proof we had of the danger that Gay and Transsexual Americans face every day. Now, we have hard statistics. A group called The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAV) just released a voluminous report on LGBT hate crimes. For the past few days, much of the Gay blogosphere has been talking about it, and I don't wonder why. It's quite a sobering read, especially for an effeminate Black Gay man like me. Here's a very brief excerpt:
. . . those most at risk for hate murder are young gender non-conforming or Transgender people of color who present femininely or identify as female . . . while the 22 murders in 2009 represent a 30% decline from 2008, this rate represents the second-highest number of LGBTQ(sic) people lost to hate violence in the US in the last decade. These stark figures indicate that despite significant societal change, over the past several years, LGBTQ(sic) people have been targeted for hate murder at rates comparable to those ten years prior.
Remember, the only hate murders this report documents are those committed in the United States, and those which NCAV have been able to identify as bias crimes. That leaves out an awful lot of data! Not to imply that 22 deaths is an insignificant number; but from an international standpoint, it's really just a drop in the bucket. If reliable statistics were kept on countries like Jamaica, Uganda, Malawi, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran, I shudder to think what the numbers would look like! The report should be read in its entirety. You can find it here:
Statistics make a more powerful statement when names are attached to them. Here are some names provided by NCAV, along with details that explain why we must now refer to their owners in the past tense. These details are horrifying. I don't share them here for shock value; I'm including them to underscore the point I'm going to make later on. Besides, some my more vapid Gay male readers need to realize how abruptly their lives can end. This is a surefire (albeit unpleasant) way to give them a wake-up call:
On April 14, 2009 Jimmy Ali McCollough was found stabbed to death one block away from Club Emages where he worked as drag artist “Image Devereux.” Police were investigating his murder as a hate crime. On May 09, 2009, Zachary Lee Oaks, 22, was arrested and charged with first degree murder in his death.
Michael Goucher allegedly made plans to meet with Shawn “Skippy” Freemore (age 19) for a sexual encounter on February 3rd, 2009. According to a police affidavit, Freemore confessed that he and his friend Ian Seagraves planned to murder Michael because he was Gay. That night, the teens allegedly stabbed Goucher 45 to 50 times, covered his body with snow, and drove off in his car. Both are currently facing trial in Pennsylvania, including possible hate crime charges.
William Boss died on or about February 3, 2009. He had been stabbed 27 times. Robert Lewis Sheridon was arrested on February 3, 2009, allegedly in possession of a vehicle owned by Boss. Sheridon currently is awaiting trial on charges of Homicide-Felony Murder, Possession by Felon of a Firearm, and 1st Degree Premeditated Murder. According to friends, Boss had befriended Sheridon at a local bar in Detroit and was trying to help him get off drugs. The Triangle Foundation continues to monitor the ongoing court case against Sheridon.
Frank Yazzie was brutally murdered in Gallup. Children discovered a trash bag containing Yazzie’s torso severed from his lower body on June 29, 2009. Deputies said his torso had multiple stab wounds and cuts to his face. Three days later, a garbage bag was found containing the clothed bottom half of Yazzie’s body. Deputies said the two discoveries were about 100 yards apart. Yazzie’s murder remains unsolved.
According to a police affidavit, on November 12, 2009, Jorge Sgetelmeg was murdered by 22-year-old Enrique Santos outside of a downtown bar in San Antonio, Texas. Santos allegedly struck Sgetelmeg in the face several times with his fist before pulling a rock out of his pocket and continuing to beat him in the face with it . . . then (he) strangled Sgetelmeg to death with his neck tie. Santos reportedly then dumped Sgetelmeg's body and drove off in Sgetelmeg's SUV. According to police, Santos was stopped by police moments after the killing as a result of Santos crashing the car. The affidavit states that Santos confessed to killing Sgetelmeg and claimed that he did so because Sgetelmeg made sexual advances towards him.
Isn't it the animal kingdom that's supposed to be savage, and the human race civilized? Maybe it's time for that assumption to be revised. NCAV discovered that homicidal bigots have preferred methods of killing us. Mostly, they like to bludgeon us to death with blunt objects, but they also like to slash us with broken bottles, stone us with bricks and rocks, blow us away with firearms, stab and slice us with sharpened blades, and run us down with motor vehicles (I think somebody just walked over my grave). They enjoy using lethal language as a weapon, too. The report includes this important observation:
. . . many acts of hate violence, such as hate speech, are not illegal, but may still have serious and traumatic impacts on the individuals who survive them, as well as their friends, families, and communities. Further, such aggressive speech is often an indicator of the potential for an escalation of violence.
NCAV investigators identify anti-Gay slurs as a risk factor for violence, but then what do they do? They ignore their own research! Check out the title the group gave to its plea for sanity and tolerance: "Hate Violence Against The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer(sic) Communities in the United States"!!! Not only that, but the Q-word (or the corrupted acronym LGBTQ) is liberally peppered throughout the document.
I am infuriated that this group would be so boorish as to fill a hate crimes report with hate speech, even while confirming its toxic nature . . . it's just incomprehensible! It adds insult to the injuries suffered by hate crime victims. What were these idiots thinking? Were they even thinking at all?
I don't want to hear the lame-brained excuse that lots of people identify as queer. Don't anybody dare bring it! I've had enough willful dumbassery from the so-called Gay community. Queer is not "just a word", as some imbeciles claim it is. It's also a concept. Specifically, it's the concept of a defective human being. In modern times, hetero-bigots have applied it to everyone who isn't like them.
"Queer" was, is, and always will be a tool for dehumanizing people of blended gender. Since it was specifically designed for that purpose, it can't serve any other! Anybody who says otherwise is either a liar or a fool. Whenever one human being calls another "queer", psychological harm is inflicted. When the Straight population observes LGBT folk using such cruel language on each other, it opens the door for more harm to be done.
It emboldens hardcore haters to hear those they consider sex perverts acknowledge their perversity. It's like waving a matador's cape in front of an enraged bull; assault becomes more justifiable in their minds. Lesbians, Gay men, Bisexual persons and Transfolk answering to the Q-word sends hetero-bigots a message they want to hear! It confirms that what they believe about homosexuality and transgenderism is true: "Those people ain't no f***ing good! Even they know they're queer. They're defective, deviant and diseased. They're an ugly blight on humanity that ought to be erased."
Stupid, insensitive and arrogant Gay activists like those at NCAV further encourage violent agents of Heterosexual Supremacy with their incessant, mindless RadicalSpeak! The flames of ignorance keep getting more fuel thrown on them, and guys like Jimmy Ali McCullough, Michael Goucher, William Boss, Frank Yazzie and Jorge Sgetelmeg keep getting cremated. Who will be sacrificed next? You? Me?
If I wanted to, I could make this essay so incendiary, it would burn all the bridges I haven't burned already! I could name any number of prominent Gay pundits whose discourse stinks so bad of casual homophobia and transphobia, it turns my stomach; but there are far too many offenders to point fingers at. A dead cat you couldn't swing at them all!
Instead, I'll say this: Anyone and everyone who promotes the notion that LGBT folk are queer, from the most vicious Bible bigot to the most Gay-affirming clergywoman to the most radical street activist, is also guilty of promoting TransGenocide! I charge you all with being accessories to hate crime. Some of you may not have realized the impropriety of what you were doing, but many others knew full well! You knew because bloggers like me told you.
For years, we've been telling you! Over and over again, we begged you to speak of Gay identity with respect. You responded with a middle finger salute and torrents of "reclaimed" slurs. You were childish, unrepentant and smug. Now that you see how hateful words can have tragic consequences, is your conscience clear? Can you swear that your reckless usage never contributed to a beating or a murder? Not if you've got a shred of integrity about you! Whether you're willing to admit it or not, you have blood on your hands . . . and that blood is fresh.
Those of us who are seriously committed to making the world safer and saner must declare war on ignorance, and take no prisoners! When colleagues cut loose with Homophobe Mouth, we've got to shut them down fast: "I'm not queer, and neither is anybody I know. Stop using shame-based language! It perpetuates violence against Gay and Transsexual people." Verbal genocide coming from our enemies is bad enough, but it's even worse when we spout it. Helping your enemy kill you is an act of utter insanity! What will it take to make us realize that we can't put out fire with gasoline?