(photo credit: Image of gay flag by albany_tim via Flickr)
Last summer OI spoke with Steven Sprinkle, about his efforts to combat hate crimes taking place against members in the LGBT community. Later that year, 7 LGBT youth, between the ages of 13-20, took their lives, within a two month span, as a result of the stigma placed on their sexual orientation within society.
The group of teens included: Billy Lucas, 15, Tyler Clementi,18, Asher Brown, 13, Seth Walsh,13, Raymond Chase, 19, Zach Harrington,19, and Aiyisha Hassan, 20.
Melanie Walker, a senior at Howard University, recalls students’ response to the sudden death of Hassan who attended the institution from 2008-2009. “A lot of students were shocked at her death because they said she didn’t have any apparent reasons to be depressed and seemed perfectly happy,” Walker said. “Often minority parents are normally less accepting of homosexuality than white families. Our community shuns the LGBT community so people like Aiyisha need more counseling outlets and focus groups made available to them.”
These tragedies were just the tip of the iceberg for as 2010 came to an end and the world celebrated the dawn of a new year, the death toll within the LGBT community increased worldwide.
According to Gay City News, between December 22 and January 2, three transgender men, Lorenza, born Luis Alexis Alvarado Hernández, Lady Oscar, born Oscar Martinez Salgado, and Cheo, who could not be formally identified, were brutally beaten, burned and stabbed to death in Brazil because of nothing more than their sexual orientation.
Just 25 days following the New Year, David Kato, a Ugandan gay activist, was found beaten to death with a hammer in his home. As if the wrongful death of this 46-year-old man was not bad enough, because of his refusal to live a heterosexual lifestyle, Kato was denied a proper burial by the presiding priest and the fellow citizens of his town.
As the stepdaughter of a Jamaican native, Spelman College sophomore, Tiara Denson, who identifies as a lesbian woman, knows first-hand how cultural differences affect the way in which members of the LGBT community are perceived and thus treated. “My dad is from Jamaica, which is a very homophobic island. From childhood they are taught that being gay is wrong, a sin and not acceptable. Ideas like these have affected the way he and I get along.” Denson said. “In the past, he has said things like all gays should be put on a boat, sent to an island and left with no food or water to eventually die. It has been difficult to get along, but our relationship is growing and getting better as he develops a better understanding and awareness of the LGBT community.”
As all news is soon considered “old news,” the deaths of these boy and girls, men and women will soon be forgotten until the next murder, suicide, assassination occurs within and/or against the LGBT community. It is the family and friends that are left to mourn the deaths of those past and the surviving members of the LGBT community to be haunted with the fear that they too might be next to suffer at the hands of others simply as a result of who they have chosen to love.
- The Long Hard Road For Transgender Rights: ‘No one has the right to take the “T” out of LGBT’ (OutImpact.com)
- Why We Need a Culture of Giving in the LGBT Community (PinkBananaWorld.com)
- GAY COUPLE BRUTALLY ATTACKED IN SAINT LUCIA (Towleroad.com)
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