25 February 2007

 

Gay Senior, Patriot, Brutally Beaten, Dies

In case you were operating under the presumption that gay bashings didn't happen anymore, there's this from Andy Towle:
Andrew Anthos, 72, the gay senior citizen who waged a nearly-two-decade campaign to have the Michigan capitol dome lit in red, white, and blue, died yesterday from injuries sustained in a brutal hate attack.

Anthos, whom his niece says had a lifelong disability, was riding a bus home and a stranger, apparently offended that Anthos was singing, asked Anthos if he was gay, followed him off a bus, and beat him with a pipe. Anthos spent the last few days in a coma, paralyzed from the neck down, before dying yesterday.

Cold-blooded murder.

Police have not found the attackers. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has offered to pay for his funeral.
Here's a story he referenced from the Detroit News, and here's one from the Lansing State Journal.

Ugh. I think almost every non-straight person has a story to tell about someone else's misuse of physical, family, or social power. Having that result in death is the extreme, but any such event causes a little bit of death to the soul. Knowledge that some of your fellow humans will willingly harm you for being who you are is tiresome at best when the who you are is 10 or 5 or 2 percent of the population. If 20 or 10 or 5 percent of the rest of the population share some kind of disposition toward hating you, towards expressing that hate, then you know the numbers are against you from the start. Since you don't know the score, even with a cheerful heart that's disposed towards liking people, one can be wary with good reason.

Each of us has her or his own way for dealing with this, but to deny the reality seems unproductive. It may be impossible to stop individuals from feeling squicked by sexuality other than their own, but there needs to be a clear understanding that expression of those feelings through physical violence will be dealt with harshly. It doesn't have to be more harshly than any other comparable attack, i.e., there doesn't have to be special "hate crimes," but it shouldn't be able to be argued away by "gay panic" or any other bogus defense that treats LGB people as less than human, as less than the rest of our brothers and sisters in humanity.

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