Yesterday, June 12, marked the one year anniversary of the Orlando Pulse Club shooting where 49 people lost their lives to a zealot. Today and probably all week will be the usual remembrances marked by vigils, holding hands, a lot of tears, gnashing of teeth, pulling of hair, tearing of clothes and general carrying on. While this is fine and dandy for those who wish to partake in these events, it’s my belief that it won’t make much of a difference due to passivity.
Gays, lesbians, transgender, cross dressers, and all that partake of the alternative lifestyles, as they put it, have had to put up with a lot of violence over the years. Certain elements of society have spent their time trying so hard to put us down and yet, we remain, and we’re strong.
Saying this, we’re no stranger to violence as it’s been ongoing for decades. Let’s begin at the beginning:
June 28, 1969 – The Stonewall Riots where the LGBT community rose up against raids on their bars. While the raid was legitimate, Stonewall not having a liquor license and all, the raids were too often, and people had enough of being non-class citizens and pariahs of society.
June 24, 1973 – The Upstairs Lounge inferno where 32 people lost their lives to arson.
July 5, 1978 – A gang of youths randomly assault gay men in Central Park, NYC, one of which assaulted was a former figure skater, Dick Button.
November 27, 1978 – Harvey Milk assassinated along with the Mayor of San Francisco by a political rival. This gave rise to the White Nights riots.
January, 1979 – renowned author and playwriter Tennessee Willams was beaten severely by five teenage boys. Reputedly this was inspired by an anti-gay newspaper ad run by a local Baptist minister. Ah, those naughty Baptists were now in the fold.
March, 1979 – Several women were assaulted in a San Francisco lesbian bar by off-duty police officers.
October 7, 1979 – One Steven Charles of Newark was beaten to death by 4 men who also beat Charles’ friend, Thomas Moore. Moore managed to get to help although critically injured.
November 18, 1980 – a former Transit Authority policeman, Ronald Crumpley, opens fire on the patrons of two gay bars in Greenwich Village, Ramrod and Sneakers. 4 people are killed and 6 others are wounded, and his alibi – paranoid delusions.
1984 – Charles Howard is drowned in Bangor, ME, having been thrown into the stream by three teenage boys. This incident inspired a particular scene in Stephen King’s It.
May 13, 1988 – Rebecca Wight and her partner, Claudia Brenner, are shot to death by Stephen Roy Carr while camping in good ole Appalachia.
May 15, 1988 – Tommy Trimble and John Griffin were harassed and later shot by Richard Bednarksi in Dallas, TX
1990 – James Zappalorti, Vietnam veteran, was stabbed to death on Staten Island.
July 2, 1990 – Paul Broussard, a Houston banker, was murdered and two others assaulted by 10 men outside of a Houston club.
October 27, 1992 – Allen Schindler, US Naval Petty Officer, was murdered by a shipmate, Terry Helvey, with accomplice, Charles Vins, in a public toilet where they were stationed in Japan. He was literally stomped to death. Schindler had repeatedly reported anti-gay harassment to his superiors in the Navy.
December, 1993 – Brandon Teena, born Teena Brandon, a transman, was murdered in Falls City, NE after his birth gender is discovered by his friends.
March 9, 1995 – Scott Amedure was murdered by Jonathan Schmitz after revealing his attraction on The Jenny Jones Show about secret crushes.
December 4, 1995 – Roxanne Ellis and Michelle Abdill were murdered in Medford, OR by Robert Acremant.
February 21, 1997 – A lesbian nightclub in Atlanta, GA, the Otherside Lounge, was bombed by Eric Robert Rudolph. Five of the patrons were injured.
October 7, 1998 – Matthew Shepard was fatally attacked, tortured, beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead in Laramie, WY. He died of his injuries on October 12, 1998.
July 1, 1999 – Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder are murdered by brothers Matthew and Tyler Williams in Redding, CA
July 6, 1999 – Barry Winchell, US Army PFC, is murdered by fellow soldier, Calvin Glover.
September 9, 1999 – Steen Fenrich is murdered and dismembered by his stepfather, John D. Fenrich in Queens, NYC.
July 3, 2000 – Arthur Warren is punched and kicked to death by two teenage boys in Grant Town, VA.
September 22, 2000 – Backstreet Cafe, Roanoke, VA, Ronald Gay enters the bar and opens fire on the patrons, killing one and severely injuring six others.
December 24, 2002 – Nizah Morris, a trans woman, was the victim of a possible homicide in Philadelphia, PA.
October 4, 2002 – Gwen Araujo, a trans woman, was murdered by at least three men who were charged with committing a hate crime.
May 11, 2003 – Sakia Gunn, a 15-year-old lesbian, was murdered on May 11, 2003, in Newark, NJ after rebuffing the advances of two men.
June 17, 2003 – Richie Phillips was killed in Elizabethtown, TN, by Joseph Cottrell. His body was later found in a suitcase in Rough River Lake.
July 23, 2003 – Nireah Johnson and Brandie Coleman were shot to death by Paul Moore in Indianapolis, IN, when Moore learned after a sexual encounter that Johnson was transgender.
July 31, 2003 – Glenn Kopitske, 37, was shot and stabbed in the back by 17-year-old Gary Hirte, a straight-A student, star athlete and Eagle Scout, in Winnebago County, WI.
July 22, 2004 – Scotty Joe Weaver was murdered then burned in Bay Minette, AL, by Christopher Gaines, Nichole Kelsay and Robert Porter.
January 28, 2005 – Ronnie Antonio Paris, a three-year-old boy living in Tampa, FL, died on January 28, 2005, due to brain injuries inflicted by his father, Ronnie Paris, Jr. According to his mother and other relatives, Ronnie Paris, Jr., repeatedly slammed his son into walls, slapped the child’s head, and “boxed” him because he was concerned the child was gay and would grow up a sissy. Paris was sentenced to thirty years in prison.
March 11, 2005 – Jason Gage, an openly gay man, was murdered in his Waterloo, IA apartment by an assailant, Joseph Lawrence, who claimed Gage had made sexual advance to him.
February 2, 2006 – 18-year-old Jacob D. Robida entered a bar in New Bedford, MA, confirmed that it was a gay bar, and then attacked patrons with a hatchet and a handgun, wounding three. He fatally shot himself three days later.
June 10, 2006 – Kevin Aviance, a female impressionist, musician, and fashion designer, was robbed and beaten in Manhattan, NYC by a group of men who yelled anti-gay slurs at him. Four assailants pleaded guilty and received prison sentences.
July 30, 2006 – Six men were attacked with baseball bats and knives after leaving the San Diego, CA Gay Pride festival. One victim was injured so severely that he had to undergo extensive facial reconstructive surgery.
August 18, 2006 – An altercation occurred in Manhattan, NYC between a man and seven black lesbians from Newark, NJ. During the altercation, the man was stabbed. The women claim that they acted in self-defense after he screamed homophobic epithets, spit on them, and pulled one of their weaves off, while he has described the attack as “a hate crime against a straight man.”
October 8, 2006 – Michael Sandy was attacked by four young heterosexual men who lured him into meeting after chatting online, while they were looking for gay men to rob. He was struck by a car while trying to escape his attackers, and died five days later without regaining consciousness.
February 27, 2007 – Andrew Anthos, a 72-year-old disabled gay man, was beaten with a lead pipe by a man who was shouting anti-gay names at him in Detroit, MI. Anthos died 10 days later in the hospital.
May 16, 2007 – Sean William Kennedy, 20, was walking to his car from Brew’s Bar in Greenville, SC when Stephen Andrew Moller, 18, got out of another car and approached Kennedy. Investigators said that Moller made a comment about Kennedy’s sexual orientation, and threw a fatal punch because he did not like the other man’s sexual preference.
February, 2008 – Duanna Johnson, a transsexual woman, was beaten by a police officer while she was held in the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center in Memphis, TN. Johnson said the officers reportedly called her a “faggot” and “he-she,” before and during the incident. In November 9, 2008, she was found dead in the street, reportedly gunned down by three unknown individuals; no arrests, no convictions, no motive. NO justice.
February 12, 2008 – Lawrence “Larry” King, a 15-year-old junior highschool student was shot twice by a classmate at E.O. Green School in Oxnard, CA. He was taken off life support after doctors declared him brain-dead on February 15.
July 17, 2008 – Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old trans woman, was beaten to death in CO, two days after meeting Allen Ray Andrade.
September 13, 2008 – Nima Daivari, 26, was attacked by a man who called him “faggot” while passing him on the street on September 13, 2008, in Denver, CO. The police that arrived on the scene refused to make a report of the attack or document it in any way. The assailant got away, the police officer got a day off in the sun, and the victim got nothing.
September 15, 2008 – A Bourbonnais, IL elementary school bus driver, Russell A. Schmalz, was charged with leading a homophobic attack on a 10-year-old student passenger. The boy was taunted by the driver who then encouraged other students to chase and beat the child.
November 14, 2008 – Lateisha Green, a 22-year-old transgender woman, was shot and killed by Dwight DeLee in Syracuse, NY because he thought she was gay.
April 6, 2009 – Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11-year-old child in Springfield, MA, hanged himself with an extension cord after being bullied all school year by peers who said “he acted feminine” and was gay.
April 10, 2009 – Justin Goodwin, 36, of Salem, MA was attacked and beaten by four men (although they were convicted, it was never called a hate crime) outside a bar in Gloucester, MA. Goodwin suffered a shattered jaw, broken eye socket, broken nose and broken cheekbone. As a result, he was blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and had to have his jaw wired shut for months. Goodwin committed suicide in March, 2010.
June 30, 2009 – Seaman August Provost was found shot to death and his body burned at his guard post on Camp Pendleton, CA. Provost had been harassed previously because of his sexual orientation. His superiors did nothing, blaming it on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy; the killer committed suicide a week later after admitting the murder, the Navy have not concluded if this was a hate crime.
June 5, 2011 – CeCe McDonald, a young African-American trans woman, was attacked outside the Schooner Tavern shortly after midnight in Minneapolis, MI. CeCe fatally stabbed her attacker with a pair of scissors. She was subsequently convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 19 months in a men’s prison.
May, 2013 – Mark Carson, a 32-year-old gay man, was shot to death by a man who taunted him and a friend as they walked down the street in Greenwich Village, NYC, hurling anti-gay slurs and asking one of them, “You want to die tonight?” The perpetrator Elliot Morales was arrested briefly after the shooting and charged with murder and weapons charges.
June 12, 2016 – 49 people were killed, and 53 injured, in a terrorist shooting at Pulse, an Orlando, FL gay nightclub.
And that’s just the USA!
Although we’re still facing the violence of people completely off their rockers, there’s a vast majority of people in society who either don’t care about your sexuality or are completely accepting. The perpetrators above are a small sub-section and frequently have a common theme to their brand of justice for all. But the thing I do have to question, with an ever-growing list of past infractions to our community….
Where are the vigils to all of them as well?