It has been a tumultuous Pride Month for victims of gay-related hate crimes. In Columbus, Ohio three openly gay men have been brutally assaulted over the last four days.
The Southern Tavern, a well-known gay bar located in the Merion Village neighborhood, hosted an unexpected attack on a visiting member of the bar Thursday evening. The unnamed male was kicked and punched until he fell unconscious.
Three days later, another gay male was beaten near Summit Street in Italian Village. Monday morning, a gay man was attacked and robbed in the Olde Towne Area of Columbus. The victim posted a picture of his injuries on Facebook and captioned the photo with a precaution to others: “It sounds like hate crimes are back, boys and girls.”
Chris Ashcraft, the robbery victim, released a statement to a Cincinnati news station regarding the deadly attack: “Once I was on the ground, they just kicked me in the face a couple times until I was unconscious. It was my guess an hour to an hour-and-a-half later before I woke up and, from what I’m told, crawled back to the bar where I was found laying behind the bar.” A spokesman for the Columbus Police department said Ashcraft was approached by the men and was asked for a jump-start. However, Ashcraft failed to mention that the men used anti-gay slurs during the attack. The crime, according to Ashcraft, was a hate crime.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation had approximately 1,617 hate crimes based on sexual-orientation biases in 2008. More specifically, 58.6% of the crimes were anti-male homosexual biases and an alarming 25.7% were based on anti-homosexual biases. It is important to note that gay men appear to face persecution more so than lesbian women, although both hate crimes are equally heinous in nature. I think this is due to the belief that homosexuality is an attack on masculinity and traditionally, a male figure is not synonymous with the stereotypical effeminate, highly sensitive, and “weak” homosexual male. Samuel Webster, writer for trespass magazine, released an in depth analysis of the one-dimensional interpretation of male masculinity. According to Webster, males are viewed through a constrained lens:
Men date women.
Men have sex with women.
Men are strong and emotionally restricted.
Men are in charge and not vulnerable.
Men are drab where women are extravagant.
Men are reserved where women are flamboyant.
Men are strong where women are weak.
In 2011, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs revealed that 2011 was the deadliest year for gay related hate crimes. 30 fatal violent hate crimes were committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, which was 3 more than 2010’s estimated amount.
As we can see, hate crimes instill fear in LGBT Americans which further reiterates the implicit hatred directed towards homosexuals. The current influx of gay-related hate crimes is a social travesty: LGBT individuals are entitled to living in a world free of discriminatory crimes. 53% of Americans currently support marriage equality; however, the previously mentioned statistic fails to explicate how the other 47% of Americans coexist with individuals who live differently than them. Although not all naysayers of LGBT Americans resort to violence in order to showcase their disdain for homosexuality, the current examples of gay-related crimes suggests the LGBT community still has a long road towards gaining full social acceptance.
If you would like a detailed list of gay related hate crimes in the United States, the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition compiled a volume of reported hate crimes on their website.