Tag Archives: anti-gay violence

Israeli police arrest 4 in fatal 2009 shootings at LGBT center

Israeli police say they have arrested three suspects in connection to the killing of two people at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv four years ago.

Spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said the suspects were arrested on June 5.

These were the first arrests in connection to 2009 incident in which a masked gunman shot and killed two people at the Bar Noar youth club in Tel Aviv and seriously wounded four others.

Rosenfeld said the suspects will be brought before a Tel Aviv court on today (June 6).

The two killed were a 26-year-old counselor, Nir Katz, and a teenage girl, Liz Trubeshi. Dozens of others were wounded, including two that remain wheelchair-bound.

Police have said they ruled out the possibility that the shooting was a hate crime. Rather, they think the motive was personal – most likely, that one of the suspects sought to harm someone he believed was in the club at the time, according to http://www.haaretz.com.

The news site said authorities got a break in the case when they found what the pistol they believe was used in the shooting.

The arrests came before Tel Aviv’s annual gay pride parade, set for June 7.

Anti-gay violence on the rise in Ukraine

Homophobic sentiment and violence against Ukraine’s gay community are on the rise despite increasing efforts to promote tolerance in the conservative ex-Communist nation, advocacy groups said this week.

The LGBT community canceled its first ever gay Pride parade in the capital, Kiev, in May due to concerns activists would be physically attacked by radical groups. After the cancellation, two gay leaders were violently beaten.

Oleksandr Zinchenkov, head of the Our World gay rights advocacy group, told a news conference on July 18 that Ukrainians have been increasingly hostile toward gays and lesbians in recent months.

This year homophobia in Ukraine “has entered the stage of physical violence,” he said.

Ukraine’s parliament began debating a bill in June that would ban the “propaganda of homosexuality” among minors by imposing fines and criminal responsibility on those seen to deliberately disseminate positive information about gays. The bill caused outrage among Western rights groups and politicians who said if introduced it would make being openly gay effectively illegal – a flashback to Soviet times, when homosexuality was considered a criminal offense for many years. No date has been set for any vote on the bill.

Singer Elton John, prompted by the bill, interrupted a charity concert in the center of Kiev last month and asked Ukrainians to end the violence.

“We all deserve a chance,” John – the first person in Britain to take part in a gay marriage – told tens of thousands of cheering spectators on Kiev’s main square. “I plead with you Ukraine: stop the violence against gay people.”

Svyatoslav Sheremet, who leads Ukraine’s Gay Forum, said the community had decided to hold Ukraine’s first gay pride event believing that gays and lesbians were finally ready to be greeted by society. For every one gay Ukrainian who is out, he said, another 99 are forced to hide their sexuality.

But despite strong support from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev and other Western groups, they were forced to cancel the May 20 event on learning that hundreds of anti-gay activists had arrived in Kiev looking for confrontation.

On publically cancelling the event, Sheremet was first doused with pepper spray, and then kicked in the head, legs and arms by a group of youths wearing surgical mask. They then stomped on his back. A month later, Taras Karasiychuk, another gay parade organizer, sustained a concussion and a fractured jaw when he was attacked by men shouting homophobic insults outside his home.

“The message was clear: Don’t come out onto the streets with your gay rights, stay at home or in your clubs,” Sheremet said.

Sheremet expressed hope this week that violence and hostility would eventually give way to more tolerance and acceptance, saying that he saw this as a “necessary crisis period,” after which social integration would follow.

“Eventually, society comes to realize that one can only live peacefully when one is tolerant,” he said.

Minutes after the news conference was over, however, he was doused in buttermilk by an anti-gay activist.

Download a PDF of the current issue of Wisconsin Gazette and join our Facebook community.

Gays most likely to be victims of violence

Gays are far more likely to be targets of a violent hate crime than any other minority group in the United States, according to a new analysis of federal hate crime statistics.

The Southern Poverty Law Center examined FBI data from 1995 to 2008 in preparing the report released Nov. 22. The analysis found that people perceived to be gay are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks. Gays are more than four times as likely to be attacked as Muslims and 14 times as likely as Latinos.

SPLC’s “Intelligence Report” comes on the heels of a wave of anti-gay attacks. A neighborhood In Covington, Ky., was hit by a series of homophobic violence over the summer. In New York, 10 gang members were arrested in October for torturing three men.

“As Americans become more accepting of homosexuals, the most extreme elements of the anti-gay movement are digging in their heels and continuing to defame gays and lesbians with falsehoods that grow more incendiary by the day,” said Mark Potok, editor of the report.

“The leaders of this movement may deny it, but it seems clear that their demonization of homosexuals plays a role in fomenting the violence, hatred and bullying we’re seeing,” Potok said.

The report labels 13 right-wing Christian organizations as hate groups for disseminating falsehoods about LGBT people, including accusations that gays are inherently unhealthy and live shorter lives than heterosexuals, that gays molest children at higher rates than straights and that gays controlled the Nazi Party and helped to orchestrate the Holocaust.

The American Family Association, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Family Research Council, Coral Ridge Ministries and Concerned Women for America are among the groups named.

Chip Berlet, co-author of “Right Wing Populism in America: Too Close to Home,” said the right wing’s homophobia is more complex than its racism and xenophobia. According to him, the latter represent a backlash against new groups encroaching into the power structure – a backlash that was galvanized by the election of Barack Obama and is rooted in the nation’s changing demographics toward a majority non-white society.

Berlet, a senior analyst at the Massachusetts-based Political Research Associates, addressed students at UW-M Nov. 30 about the Tea Party movement. Although that movement does not actively promote an anti-gay agenda, Berlet told WiG that its members feel the same level of mistrust and anger toward LGBT people as they do toward blacks, Muslims and Latino immigrants.

But unlike those prejudices, homophobia is a reaction to desire, Berlet said, which means it impacts people in more visceral ways.

“If a person doesn’t think of himself as gay but in fact has a repressed desire, he can (attack gays) to negate the desire, whether it’s conscious or unconscious,” Berlet said. “Teenage boys will often attack a gay person so they can say to themselves that they have no gay feelings, whether they do or don’t.”

Berlet said homophobia is further complicated by the fact that straight males perceive gays as a threat to their traditional stature in society: “If gay people are accepted as normal, then what happens to all these claims about how there’s a natural order of hierarchy of men over women?”

Berlet said it’s the threat factor that fuels Tea Party homophobia.

“The Tea Party movement is a movement of predominantly white middle-class people who feel squeezed by parasites above and below,” Berlet said. “The parasites above are embodied by Obama – a black, Muslim, socialist who loves gay people and is going to take their guns away. And those below are people they see as lazy, black, sinful and gay. They believe they are the people who are going to save America from these twin forces.”

Berlet said although more tempered minds tend to dismiss this sort of thinking as silly and irrational, it’s critical to confront people who espouse such extremist beliefs with facts.

“We’re in a society where the center has collapsed … and the people who are circling the wagons are the Tea Party and the Republicans and Fox News,” Berlet said. “I don’t think our society is unraveling yet but another major terrorist attack or another major economic downturn and everything could collapse very quickly, much more quickly than people expect.”

Serbian gays want to meet with Patriarch Irinej

A Serbian gay group has asked to meet with the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, to seek his help in curbing anti-gay violence.

The Gay-Lesbian Info Center says in a statement posted on the group’s website that gay people “are suffering violence on a daily basis” and that many assailants justify attacks with religious beliefs.

There has been no immediate response from the Serbian church, which has considerable influence in conservative Serbia. Church elders have in the past criticized homosexuality.

Serbia also has faced international criticism after a gay Pride march was canceled last year over extremist threats.

from WiG and AP reports

Where are the police?

It took me a while to get around to writing this article, partly because I’m a student and its final’s week, but mainly because I’ve been taking care of my friend all week.

A week ago he was assaulted after leaving a bar in our very familiar gay district on Second Street — not just assaulted, damn near killed. He had been drinking and was unable to defend himself. He ended up getting hit on the back of the head with the end of a pole, resulting in a chunk of his skull being knocked out of place. His entire body is in pain from the multiple kicks he received once he was on the ground. He can’t really bend over because his back hurts too much, and he can’t lie down because a patched-up hole is in the center of the back of his head. The clothes he wore that night are covered in blood.

This is not OK.

Why did this happen?

I also have been mugged on Second Street.

About three summers ago, two guys asked me for a cigarette. I politely told them that I don’t smoke, and apparently that’s not what they wanted to hear. I wasn’t shaken up by the fact that I walked away with a black eye and some other bruises. I was shaken up by the fact that no one seemed to have seen what happened.

Where are the police officers?And what the hell is wrong with these people who feel like it’s OK to just run around knocking people out?

Are there not enough police in Milwaukee to patrol the bar areas? I always see plenty of patrol cars circling Fourth and National when all the Bradley Tech kids get out of school each afternoon. I know that’s because a lot of the kids like to start trouble, but the crazy gay-bashers out hiding in the dark are just as bad, if not worse, because crazy fuels their hate.

When I was assaulted I called the police to report the incident, and they put me on hold for 15 minutes. I ended up just walking to the police station on Fourth and Lincoln to make a report in person, because for some twisted reason that was actually faster than calling on the phone.

I’m at a loss, because I usually always have something to say, some idea or suggestion of how I think things might be fixed.

This time, though, I’m left pretty speechless. I’m a pretty firm believer in preventing a problem before it occurs, but how do you prevent ignorance?

How do we prevent black eyes and cracked skulls?

How do we prevent hate crimes that can very easily lead to someone’s death?

I want to know what police and city officials can do to work together in preventing things like this from happening again.

I realize that Milwaukee is a very messed-up city and that the police have a lot to deal with, but my job is to give my 20-year-old gay opinion, and my opinion is that they aren’t working as hard to keep us safe at night as they are to keep some other parts of town safe during the day.

I’m not implying that it’s because we’re gay, or accusing anyone of treating us unequally, I’m simply stating that there’s a problem here.

I don’t have the answer this time, but maybe someone reading this column does.