Archive | homophobia RSS feed for this section

Matthew Shephard killed by drug war, not homophobia

22 Sep

New book questions Matthew Shepard killing

Matthew Shepard wasn’t killed because he was gay, a new book says — but that won’t stop advocates from politicizing his murder.
Fifteen years ago this Oct. 6, Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard was savagely pistol-whipped by two homophobes for being gay, then pitilessly strung up on a log fence to die. It was a modern crucifixion, the signature hate crime of our era, the inspiration for books and movies and plays and songs and documentaries.
Except Shepard wasn’t murdered because he was gay, contends a new book. He was slain in a methamphetamine frenzy primarily by one man (with an accomplice who perhaps didn’t participate in the actual beating) who initially said that Shepard promised drugs in exchange for sex.
So, not only was Shepard’s primary killer not a homophobe who decided to lure Matt into a fatal trap because he was gay, he was himself likely gay or bisexual, contends gay journalist Stephen Jimenez in “The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard.”
The notion that Shepard was murdered for being gay originally came from two friends of his who had no firsthand knowledge of the case but started the homophobia narrative when Shepard was still alive (he didn’t die until five days after the attack) by calling a gay reporter, several gay organizations and the police.
By the time Shepard died, the motive of homophobia was solidly entrenched in the media. Then the leader in the killing, Aaron McKinney, and his girlfriend both cited his gay panic as a motive, apparently in the belief that it would be seen as a mitigating factor.
Now both of them say that story was a lie. And McKinney told a detective the night of the crime that Shepard “said he could turn us on to some cocaine or something, some methamphetamines, one of those two, for sex,” according to the book. From prison, McKinney now says his “original plan” that night was to rob a meth dealer, but when that didn’t work out he decided to rob Shepard instead. Prosecutor Cal Rerucha told the author that the murder was “driven by drugs.”
McKinney’s own father, when asked whether his son had had sex with other men, said “we’ve all experimented one way or another.” A limo driver told Jimenez he saw McKinney and two other men in the back of his vehicle “buck naked” and “playing around.” A manager of a gay bar in Denver told Jimenez he recognized both McKinney and accomplice Russell Henderson as patrons of his place.
A boyfriend of Shepard’s, Ted Henson, who said he went to a gay bar with McKinney and Shepard, said the latter once told him that “Aaron had offered [him] sex for money” and that “McKinney would sell [himself] to other guys.”
McKinney’s friend Elaine Baker said, “The whole thing was a lie and a coverup. Aaron didn’t hate [Shepard] for being gay. They were friends, for God’s sake . . . Aaron was bisexual.” McKinney’s friend Ryan Bopp said that McKinney and Shepard “knew each other. I had seen them at parties . . . I knew Aaron was selling [drugs] . . . him and Matt would go off to the side and they’d come back.”
McKinney, while denying being gay or bisexual, did, in an interview with the author, admit “messing around” with other boys as a youngster, which he dismissed as “the usual kids’ stuff.” He and Bopp said he’d been up for a week on a drug bender the night of Shepard’s murder.
Though the book is largely persuasive, there are oddities in Jimenez’s reporting, which sprang from his work on a 2004 piece for “20/20.” He says a Wyoming law-enforcement official declared flat-out that the murders had nothing to do with Shepard’s sexuality — but declined to go on the record because he said he feared someone might put a hit on members of his family. Jimenez says a police car tailed him while he was reporting the story. He tells dramatic tales of Deep Throat types leaving him anonymous letters or claiming that they risk getting a bullet in the back for talking.
In essence “The Book of Matt” is not about the killers’ culpability but about sloppiness on the part of the media and allied organizations who used the Shepard case in fundraising pitches. (This very article will be used in a similar fashion by groups that win donations by stoking fear and hatred of “right-wing media.”)
But if Jimenez’s somewhat problematic book is correct, it doesn’t make Shepard’s brutal murder any less horrific. It does make it less political, however. Political action groups won’t like that.
The gay magazine The Advocate said in a review that Jimenez “amassed enough anecdotal evidence to build a persuasive case that Shepard’s sexuality was, if not incidental, certainly less central than popular consensus has lead us to believe.”
The magazine went on, “There are valuable reasons for telling certain stories in a certain way at pivotal times, but that doesn’t mean we have to hold on to them once they’ve outlived their usefulness.”

And you thought only the gays were upset with Russia

29 Aug
Why are we giving any of these people money or weapons?

Why do we buy their oil instead of developing our own? 

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Aeisha Muhammad <>
To:  UN Security Council; Arab League

Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 1:46 PM

Subject: The Olympic Games in Russia

Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Rahim
Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam ‘ala Rasulillah

As salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu

Dear Members of the Arab League and the entire International Community:

It is being reported that Saudi Arabia is threatening Russia with terrorists attacks during the Olympics in Moscow. May I ask what is wrong with you all at the Arab League? Has everyone lost their senses? Does anyone get the fact that threats of this sort are an open provocation designed to create more animosity against the Arab/Muslim world? What possible gain could there be in making threats such as this except to serve the interests of the Zionist Nazi fascists in Washington, “israel” and the UK ?

I have no doubt that the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia is trembling with with all the happenings that are taking place around its borders but that is NOT an excuse to provoke Russia with terrorists threats. If the House of Saud is openly admitting that they are the ones running the Islamic terrorism then they are doing it for the sake of themselves and the United States of America. Saudi Arabia and the USA work together to destroy the region. These terrorists that they brag about are the FAKE mujahideen which they created to run rough shod over the rest of the Islamic world to help the United States of America and “israel” gain control of the Arabian Peninsula. Foolishly the House of Saud has miscalculated that it will stay in power if it walks hand in hand with the Zionist Nazi USA in its genocidal assault on the innocents of the Arabian Peninsula.

The real Islamic resistance is alive, well and thriving in the Arabian Peninsula and the rest of the Islamic world. These FAKE mercenaries created and disbursed by the USA and Saudi Arabia will NEVER defeat the true Mujahideen. Time will prove that to be the case. The House of Saud is crumbling and all it has left are its threats and terrorists posing as Islamic warriors. When the time comes nobody will be able to help them. GOD Himself will see to it. No place to hide or run. These threats are heinous, reprehensible and NOT representative of the Islamic Resistance at all. 

Member nations of the world are hereby advised that any terrorists actions that take place in Russia are the work of Saudi Arabia (in conjunction with the USA, UK and “israel”) and that the criminal Saudi regime should be tried with war crimes and crimes against the sovereign State of Russia as they have already admitted that they will cause these ‘bought and paid for’ mercenaries to carry out terrorist acts inside Russia. The USA, UK and “israel” should also carry the weight of prosecution for supporting the Saudis and their UN-ISLAMIC terrorists.

I, Aeisha Muhammad, declare that the real Islamic Resistance is not a party to these terrorist acts threatened by the House of Saud and that said acts are NOT part of the Islamic Jihad against the tyranny of Zionist Nazi occupation and terrorism against the Peoples of the Arabian Peninsula or throughout the rest of the Islamic world. The real Islamic Resistance wants freedom from occupation and tyranny and does NOT carry out operations that serve to benefit the Zionist Nazis in the USA, UK and “israel”. 

Saudi Arabia and all the traitors in the Arabian Peninsula are warned not to go forward with this heinous plot against Russia. The consequences of such a decision will not be in their own interests.

Members of the UN Security Council and the international community of nations are advised to not fuel the fire by boarding the Saudi/USA train of destruction and not to use any terrorist operation inspired by the Saudi criminals and/or the USA to further the agenda against the Arabs and Muslims worldwide. If there is terrorism then you are all advised to put the blame where it belongs squarely on the lap of the House of Saud and their ZioNazi protectors in the West. This entire drama has but one purpose and it will backfire badly.

Everyone is asked to dissuade the House of Saud from its heinous conspiracy against Russia. It is in the interests of us all to prevent this evil from taking place.

May GOD guide you all the best of decisions for the sake of peace and your own nations.

Very truly yours,
from the servant of ALLAH
Shayhka Maulani Aeisha Muhammad 

Russia – anti-gay pogroms?

19 Aug

Russia’s Gay Hunting

Aug 9, 2013 

Putin’s government bans ‘homosexual propaganda.’ Right-wing extremists torture gays. But no one in Russia seems to care.

The night before President Obama canceled his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he went on The Tonight Show to talk to Jay Leno. After discussing terrorism and security leaks, Leno eventually brought up something that he said had “shocked” him about Russia: “I’m surprised this is not a huge story. Suddenly, homosexuality is against the law. I mean, this seems like Germany: let’s round up the Jews; let’s round up the gays; let’s round up the blacks. I mean, it starts with that … Why is not more of the world outraged at this?”


The reference was to a recent Russian law, banning “homosexual propaganda”—the Putin government’s most recent antigay measure that criminalizes carrying rainbow flags or talking about equal rights in front of children. Among other things, rights activists say, the vaguely worded law effectively makes counseling of gay teenagers illegal.

But while the law may be objectionable, it’s the recent wave of antigay violence that most clearly evokes the waning days of the Weimar Republic—and the coming of the Third Reich.

Terrifying videos that show members of extreme right-wing groups torturing gay men have begun to surface on Russian websites, and though one person may have died from his injuries, so far no one has been charged with the violence.

One group, reportedly led by notorious ultranationalist Maxim Martsinkevich (who goes by the nickname Cleaver), has begun what they call Occupy Pedophilyaj, a campaign that supposedly targets pedophiles. By using online personal ads, they lure young gay men and teenagers to come out on fake dates, and then they kidnap and beat their victims, extracting “confessions” during the torture. Another similar group called Occupy Gerontilyaj targets gay teenagers.

During a television interview last year on the Russian channel NTV, Martsinkevich, who has previously been convicted for provoking hate crimes, referred to such hounding of gay men as a human “safaris.”

In one of the videos, posted on a Russian social-networking site, six skinheads are shown harassing a slight young man whom they have seemingly captured. Threatening him with baseball bats, the skinheads say they will punish him for breaking a Russian law that prohibits sexual relationships with anyone younger than 16.

In one picture, the victim is kneeling, holding a plastic penis, while his tormentors hold his hair. In a separate photo, he can be seen, undressed, with paint poured over him as he is doused with what is reportedly urine. (Martsinkevich described similar acts as “urine therapy” during his television interview.)
Read the rest at The Daily Beast

The Communist Roots of Russian Homophobia

17 Aug

By:  on August 17, 2013 @C2C Journal
When it comes to anti-gay laws, Russia’s new law against homosexual “propaganda” is far from the first. It is also far from the worst, as gays and lesbians in countries such as Nigeria, Yemen and Sudan risk flogging, stoning and execution. However, the world’s attention has landed on Russia due to the upcoming 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, and many are asking how this new law came to be, as attitudes in many other countries around the world are becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ community.
What is most interesting about Russia’s recent events is that, to an outside observer, all signs suggest attitudes should be much more tolerant. Around the world, homophobia tends to increase along with higher religiosity of the population; however, Russia is largely secular, with only one third of Russians stating that religion is important in their daily life. Additionally, other contentious social issues, such as abortion, pre-marital sex and unwed mothers are well tolerated. It is therefore unexpected in this environment for widespread homophobia to occur. Although there are likely hundreds, or even thousands, of individual reasons for these attitudes, there are at least three ways that the country’s communist past contributed to its homophobic present.
Emporer Nicholas I enacted the first law against homosexuality in Russia in 1832. Although the stated penalty was exile to Siberia, the law was hardly ever used. In fact, homosexual relations among artists and the nobility were not uncommon, and even members of the royal family – most notably Great Prince Sergey Alexandrovich and Great Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich – were known to have homosexual lovers. It was not until the Bolshevik Revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union in the early 1920s that attitudes began to change. Under the veil of communism, homosexual behaviour came to be seen as an activity undertaken by society’s elite with no place in the new Soviet state. The act of sodomy became specifically outlawed in 1934 with those convicted subjected to five to eight years in a prison colony. American researcher Dan Healey has attempted to collect data on the number of people convicted under this law, but found the records prior to the 1960s to be classified, fragmented, or missing entirely. However a total of 22,163 people were convicted between the years of 1961 and 1981. The number of annual convictions then began to fall until the law was abolished in 1993.
In addition to the criminalization of activities under the Stalinist government, the state of communism also affected the way homosexual individuals were viewed by academics and medical professionals. Cut off from the rest of the world, Russian scientists continued to believe that homosexuality was a temporary condition that could be cured with the right treatment, even as those in Western countries began to reach the conclusion that sexual orientation is a permanent state of being. Homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1974 but remained an official psychiatric illness in Russia until as late as 1999. Laurie Essig, sociology professor at Middlebury College and the author of Queer in Russia: A Story of Sex, Self and Other, reports that many young lesbian women continue to be committed to psychiatric hospitals against their will. This attitude continues to be reflected in the general Russian population. An April 2013 poll by the Levada Center polling agency showed the 35 percent of those polled continue to believe that homosexuality is a disease, and 43 percent believe it to be a bad habit. Only 12 percent considered homosexual orientation to be normal (Pew Research reports that 80 per cent of Canadians believe society should accept homosexuality).
Finally, even though the majority of Russians are largely secular in their personal beliefs, the Russian Orthodox Church continues to wield immense political power. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of Russians continue to self-identify as Orthodox Christians despite the fact that very few attend regular services. Rather than the Church being seen as the path to personal salvation, it is instead viewed as symbol of national identity. The Church also remains an ally of the Putin government. Although the post-communism period initially introduced new freedoms for gays and lesbians, the Church has becoming increasingly outspoken in its opposition to homosexuality. Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Church, has even gone so far as to declare legalization of same-sex marriage as a sign of the apocalypse.
These influences have combined to create a culture of homophobia that is unique to Russia, and presents a very challenging environment for outside advocates and activists. Much like Stalin’s Great Purge and the Moscow Trials of the 1930s, those in authority are using this issue to further their own cause and increase their power base. There has always been the concept of “us vs. them” among Russians, and LGBTQ individuals and their supporters have become a convenient “them” for which to focus attentions. It is going to take much more than a hit song by Lady Gaga or Macklemore to change attitudes. While it is among the most evil manifestations, Russia’s homophobia is just one symptom of its collectivist and tyrannous history. It acts as a reminder that tolerance does not require secularity so much as a free society where all individuals, regardless of their religion, political beliefs, gender identity or sexual orientation, are allowed to live their lives in peace without state interference.
Angela MacLeod Irons is an Alberta-based public policy analyst and researcher and is a current Masters Candidate at the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary.