This week’s news is filled with far too many stories about assaults on the LGBT community. They range from heartbreaking to outrageous, saddening to vile.
In South Philly, a 30-year-old gay man was killed in his apartment near Eighth and Christian streets and police have yet to release information about a motive or suspect. It’s not clear yet if he was targeted for his sexual orientation or if it was a robbery — or something else — gone awry.
A model with a promising career was convicted of killing his friend after an alleged proposition. The judge refused to allow the “gay-panic” defense, and witnesses contradicted the defendant’s account of events.
News coverage was wide and deep for the landmark conviction of a church official for covering up abuse by priests. So too was coverage of the Penn State coach who abused boys for years through the charity he founded. In both of these cases, trusted men of power took advantage of powerless boys who had little voice.
In a small town in Texas, a lesbian couple was shot, one killed, at a local park. Police haven’t announced a suspect or motive yet.
A group of Congressmembers are urging the Department of State to speak out against the violence in Honduras, where activists claim some 70 LGBT people have been killed since 2009. Last month, the country’s first openly gay candidate for Congress, a radio journalist, was murdered.
The Navy released a report regarding allegations of hazing on a submarine sparked by gay jokes leveled at a sailor, who said another man tried to rape him at knifepoint in a foreign port, which resulted in relieving a top officer of his duties on the boat.
A common thread in these cases is that the victims were perceived as LGBT or vulnerable — most were targeted because they were LGBT. Incidents such as these serve as rallying points for those who call for increased hate-crimes protections. While it’s true that crime is crime, it makes a difference when someone targets an entire category of people. It’s no longer about being in the wrong place at the wrong time — it’s about who you are.