Here are a few of the shittiest things just in the last three days:
- Yesterday, nine Senegalese men were jailed for--can you guess?--being gay. Jailed. In Senegal, being gay constitutes "indecent conduct and unnatural acts," and "indecent conduct and unnatural acts" in Senegal are punishable by five years of jail time. So why is each of these men serving eight years of jail time? That would be because the judge added three years on each sentence for involvement in a "criminal group." What did this "criminal group" do? Answer: fight HIV and AIDS.
- Hackers took down the host (SoapBlox) of several major LGBT blogs (including award-winning Pam's House Blend), and SoapBlox admitted defeat. Paul Preston of SoapBlox is quoted as saying: "It was a good ride, but it's over. All these hackers messing with our stuff, and we here at SoapBlox have no clue what to do. We don't have enough knowledge, time, money, or care to fix it...Consider this the 'We're Out of Business' post." (As of this article at least Pam's House Blend is back online.)
- Stephen Andrew Moller, who in 2007 was convicted of killing gay 20-year-old Sean Kennedy by leaving him for dead on the sidewalk after hitting him in the face so hard that his brain separated from its stem, could be out on the streets again in February as he is up for parole. You're probably thinking, What??????, but remember--this is South Carolina we're talking about here. Oh. He received a 5-year sentence but was given credit for the time he served before sentencing. Oh yeah, sorry Mr. Future Convicted Killer for holding you against your will before you were declared guilty; what a pity we might have inconvenienced you after you severed a gay man's brain from its stem and left him for dead on the sidewalk. (Thanks to Queers United for the tip. Please follow that link to get information on writing to the parole board in South Carolina.)
- A court in Minnesota has decided that a lesbian couple--a lesbian couple that has been together seven years, is raising a daughter together, co-owns a business, shares joint finances, had a commitment ceremony in 2002, owns drafted estate plans for themselves and their daughter, and where everyone in the unit has the same last name--does not count as a family. Why was this case before a judge? Was the couple trying to file taxes together? Were they attempting to legally adopt the child? Were they trying to get benefits extended? Was it something superduper important that for very serious legal reasons there was no way the couple could get a break?? No. This couple was trying to apply for a family membership to their gym. So think about this: you're a membership rep at a gym in Minnesota. A lesbian couple comes to you asking for a family membership. You refuse them. The same couple threatens to sue you over it, and you hire a lawyer to defend you in court just so you don't have to give the lesbians a discounted gym membership--effectively losing more money than the discounted membership would have cost you--just to prove your point that gays don't get to have families. Fuuuuuuuuck. Seriously? Their defense was that unmarried heterosexual couples can't get one, so neither can gays; well, since getting married if you're gay is illegal in Minnesota, don't you think the lesbians would have tried if they had had a choice???
- The New York Times mobile service is convinced that "gay" is a bad word; the word "gay" gets replaced by the word "beep" anywhere it appears. Swell. That'll teach those nasty queer kids to hate themselves like they're supposed to!
- Eleven gay bars in the Seattle area received anonymous threats stating the pursuer would poison patrons with ricin, a toxin lethal if inhaled or ingested. An alternative weekly newspaper in the area also received an intimidation and ominous note suggesting it prepare itself to report the deaths of 55 gay bar patrons. Local reports indicate that patrons are turning out all the same, which makes me proud; I believe that if you live letting threats intimidate you, then you might as well already be dead. I am also happy to report that people in the area have acknowledged that law enforcement is taking this seriously. There has been speculation that the individual responsible is a self-hating gay--but of course, I accuse all homophobic people of being self-hating gays on the inside. Really, how sad is that statement that the world we live in inspires shit like this?
- Three men have been arraigned in the vicious December 13 gangrape of a California lesbian, who almost certainly was targeted based on her sexual orientation; only one of the men allegedly responsible has been charged with a hate crime. For many years I have felt wishy-washy about the whole "hate crime" issue; I have wondered if the intent propelling some crimes really is driven by the victim's identity, and if so, how can you prove it? Well, in this case, allegedly the victim was targeted after the defendants spotted a rainbow sticker on her car; seems pretty clear to me. Fuck the people responsible for this and send them back to the "factory" (if you catch my meaning), whether it is these guys or some other guys. The defendants allegedly stole a car, kidnapped the victim, and took her to a remote location to gangrape her. One 21-year-old defendant (*not* the hate-crimes one, incidentally) is reportedly accused of "various sexual crimes against the woman." If gangrape already makes you violently mad, I hope the thought of various sexual crimes--and not just gangrape--makes you nuclear-level ballistic. Please: send a letter of support to the victim (whose name has not been released):
Richmond Police Department
Attn: Sgt. Brian Dickerson
1701 Regatta Blvd.
Richmond, CA 94804
or send monetary contributions to help with her medical bills here:
Community Violence Solutions
2101 Van Ness Ave.,
San Pablo, CA 94806
Attn: Mrs. Joanne Douglas
In the memo section of the check please write: Richmond Jane Doe. (Again, thanks to Queers United for the addresses.)