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College English 1301
Dec. 9, 2003
Every day, somewhere in the GLBT (Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgendered) community, a crime is committed against a person out of hate, fear, and ignorance for the GLBT lifestyle. Even though progress has been made in social and political arenas, there are those who cannot be comfortable with their presence due to religious or moral viewpoints. They vent their anger against the community by attacking those who they believe are a part of that community. With such hate, they sometimes seek out individuals who only through a time or place connection appear to be part of the group such as straight friends who through association are thought to also be a member of the GLBT community.
"Gay-bashing" has even become fashionable in some areas. And there is always a chance it could happen to anyone. It doesn\'t necessarily involve physical violence, but can be as "innocuous" (in the minds of many bigoted individuals) as a threatening letter or a phone call. Nor does it only happen in and around gay bars. Everyone needs to become more aware of the danger they may sometimes face even in their own local townships.
In Laramie Wyoming, on a cold October night on October 6,1998, 21 year old Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming U. student was lured and many say kidnapped by two trouble-seeking homophobic people; Aaron J. McKinney, and Russell Henderson, and severely beaten and tied to a fence near the mountains to be found by a passing cyclist
18 hours later and taken to a hospital where he later died from his injuries at 12:53 a.m. on Monday, October 12 only because he was a homosexual.
Thousands of GLBT teens endure the hardships of being ostracized, outcast, and put down because of who they are each day, and have nowhere to turn, or no one to consult and talk to about their problems, which in turn causes them to become depressed, and in many known cases, suicidal. Murders and brutal acts happen to innocent teenagers, and adults alike.
What happens to these families that lose their loved ones due to a horrid attack, or murder because their son or daughter was/is different? What happens to the person who is attacked, savagely beaten, and left alone to die like Matthew Shepard? As a result, groups like PFLAG (an acronym for “Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays”), and GLAAD (otherwise known as the “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation”) exist to let people of the GLBT nature know that they are not alone and that they do not have to live their lives in a bubble of fear for the years to come and to make them feel that they do indeed have somewhere to turn, as well as a source of support for parents, friends, and families that are involved.. Other groups also exist to protect and harbor the GLBT persuasion like GSA’s (Gay-Straight alliances), created by students, alumni, and employees in high schools and colleges across the globe.
Slowly but surely, as hate crimes start to lessen, and tolerance and support starts to build, GLBT people are starting to realize that they don’t need to be afraid to be themselves, or be afraid to walk down the street in fear because laws protecting Civil rights, and laws being passed protecting them, and other groups of people are being passed all the time to ensure their safety.
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Gender, LGBT, Sexual orientation, Same-sex sexuality, PFLAG, LGBT community, Gay bar, Gay
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