Thursday, May 16, 2013

HAHAT: Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Hello all! I'm happy to say that I'm participating in the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia this year. I only just came across it about a month ago, so this is my first year both as a blogger and a general participant.

I had a friend named Rufus when I lived in El Cajon many years ago, who was a sweetie. He liked to flirt with me which I enjoyed very much since my first husband, who I was married to at the time, was pretty lame at making me feel pretty, etc. Rufus was married and had a child, but he also had a boyfriend; I'm not sure if his wife was okay with this or even knew about it. In any case, one night around 2am Rufus and his boyfriend were walking down a street in El Cajon (a low income neighborhood in San Diego known for its white supremacists) hand in hand. Witnesses saw several men stop them. They shot and killed them both execution-style.

The perpetrators were never caught.

I'm deeply happy to be away from El Cajon, but I've found that in NorCal there is still a lot of homophobia. Many people I encounter who don't live in California think that it's a great place for LGBT people, but while you do have pockets like SF, West Hollywood, and Hillcrest in San Diego, there's still a lot of progress to be made.

Friday is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17th). Consider doing something to spread the word about LGBT rights. Got ideas? Post them in the comments!

A couple of other questions to consider for commenting:
Have you ever known anyone targeted with violence solely for some aspect of their identity? Tell us what happened.
What's the best way to handle hate crimes? Should they be punished more severely than other crimes or treated the same?

Comment on this post and add an email and a preferred ebook format. I will do a random drawing of names (using an online utility) and the winner will receive free copies of all of the episodes of The City Darkens, which is LGBT fantasy. You can read more about the first episodes here. Some episodes are not yet out. The winner will receive them as soon as I'm done editing and formatting them.

The contest ends late in the day on May 27th.The winner will be announced on here on the blog (on May 28th, barring some unforeseen obstacle) and contacted via email.

Want to comment but don't want to enter the drawing? Post away! I love reader comments.

18 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, I didn't hear about this until today. I would have tried to do something...

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    1. Yeah, I missed the previous years. Next year, Rick!

      In the mean time, you can comment on all the blogs. Should keep you busy for a bit. :)

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  2. Thank you for taking part in the hop!

    In order to combat hatred, we must spread love. Educate others, bring awareness, because every person who has their mind opened is one person closer to a world where homophobia and transphobia doesn’t exist.

    kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com (mobi)

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    1. Kimberly, from your lips...! And I agree. So much homophobia and transphobia is all about ignorance, and fear of the unknown.

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  3. I know some see the category of "Hate Crime" as special treatment, but I think it's crucial that we give pause to the overwhelming venom that brews in certain communities and mindsets.

    No, neither a law nor a harsher penalty will stop someone who truly means to hurt another person, but it will give pause to the casual bigot drinking beers on a Friday night, seeing two men or two women or an interracial couple. Acting out isn't worth it if you're guaranteed to be giving up your freedom to do it.

    If we can curb the petty, banal acts, it creates more safe space to congregate away from the deeper, psychopathic behavior that cannot be legislated away.

    I'm sorry you lost your friend.

    ~Xakara
    My HAHAT Contribution Writing From the Middle: BiErasure & BiVisibility

    Xakara at Xakara dot com

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  4. Hi Xakara! Thanks for commenting! I am so ambivalent about whether hate crimes should be prosecuted more aggressively and punished more severely. I tend to feel that all crimes should be prosecuted aggressively and punished severely! But then, I agree with your perspective, too. Maybe harsher penalties would be more visible and therefore act as a stronger deterrent. And I *so* want to see an end to identity persecution and hatred. Of course, there are myriad ways to approach that challenge.

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  5. Oh, Sophia! What a terrible, and terribly personal, story. My own HAHAT post seems so lame by comparison.

    I don't think that hate crimes should necessarily be punished more severely than comparable crimes not motivated by hate, but I think they should be prosecuted vigorously and the outcomes publicized widely, just to make people aware of the issue. If you don't know someone who has been victimized because of his or her sexual orientation, it doesn't necessarily hit home in the same way. More publicity might make the impact more widely felt. (Hence, of course, this hop.)

    You know, they're called "hate crimes", but I still believe that they originate from fear and a sense of inadequacy or powerlessness. To really eradicate hate crimes, we have to make people happier with themselves and their lives. A second factor is the "otherness" phenomenon. It's easier to victimize someone who's obviously different, not like "us". That means we need to put faces on the concept of LGBTQ, to emphasize that gay or lesbian or transgender people are ultimately PEOPLE - with the dreams, fears and problems like everyone else.

    Visit my HAHAT post at:

    http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/2013/05/all-colors-of-rainbow.html

    email me at: lisabet --- at --- lisabetsarai.com

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    1. Lisabet, I quite liked your post! I hope that next year the Hop includes anyone who wants to participate and is willing to offer something LGBT themed as a prize, just as you suggested there.

      I think you're right about unhappiness as a factor in hate. Envy certainly has a role to play. I think people like those who chose to stop whatever they were doing to kill Rufus and his boyfriend may have done so out of envy as well as hatred. Maybe they couldn't stand to see two people so comfortable with themselves despite their difference, and so in love with each other that they held hands despite the risk.

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  6. Wow...I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your friend. Thank you for sharing this personal story with us. As for punishment of hate crimes I think they should be taken seriously and treated as seriously as other crimes. I mean if hate crimes were given more pull then other crimes then it would seem bias and make other crimes look less serious. I mean, a crime is a crime, they should be dealt with accordingly and the punishment should always reflect in favor to the crime committed on the victim.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

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    1. Thanks, humhum. :) I tend to be in favor of strong penalties for crimes, probably because of what happened to Rufus and, unfortunately, two other friends (who were not LGBT). I have to remind myself that perpetrators of crimes have families who love them too--it's the only reason I'm against the death penalty, to be honest. Because I think of the mothers of those convicted of capital crimes. And I wish there was a way to always be 100% sure of the guilt of those convicted.

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  7. I am so sorry about your friend.

    About hate crimes - I struggle with this! I guess that I lean in the "pro" direction because, at the very least, it sends a clear message that society will not tolerate such things, as well as giving extra "teeth" to police and prosecutors in dealing with hate-motivated crimes. But I'm not sure whether it's useful as a deterrent; I think most people who do such things are secure enough in their own hatefulness to do them anyway, which means it's not terribly useful to the victims.

    Email: layla (at) ravenschildren dot com (MOBI)

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    1. Hi Layla!
      I know, I go around and around about this sort of thing, too. As I mentioned, I tend to want harsh penalties for *all* crimes. But I do like that hate crimes get a special designation, although I'm not entirely sure that it *is* in any way preferable. I suppose any crime committed for such arbitrary reasons as someone's identity make me crazy. I can understand a crime committed for money, for passion, for revenge, or whatever--when there are personal reasons that drive one person to harm another. I don't in any way condone it (harsh penalties!) but I understand it. I cannot fathom harming someone just because I didn't like the way they dressed or the color of their skin or the fact that they were holding hands with someone.

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  8. I think hate crimes should be punished more severely than other crimes. Why? Oftentimes, hate crimes are much more vicious than those motivated by other things, such as money. And there's a definite chance those criminals will become repeat offenders. If they were willing to commit a crime against solely because they think they're gay, or they're black, etc, than what's to stop them from doing so again? I've found that when hate's the motivator, people will go out of their way to hurt the things they hate. And if you let them get away with it, or punish it lightly, they will do so again in the future, except this time, it'll be worse.

    And besides, you think it's okay to hurt someone based on something they can't control, that they were born as? Then I'm allowed to demand you pay for your crimes to the highest extent.

    Anyways, sorry for the rant. As for the format, I'd like either Amazon gift or PDF. Thanks for participating!

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi Emily! Thanks for commenting. Believe me, I have done my fair share of rants. :) And I certainly understand the urge to punish hate crimes severely. I guess where I stumble is that I've also know people who were killed for other reasons, and I want to punish their murderers just a hard.

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  9. I've never had any personal experience with this kind of hatred. I think they should be punished very severely. I will never understand how someone can hate like that.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

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    1. Sherry, I don't understand it either. I don't really understand violence, to be honest. I think as a result it comes up in my writing way more than I'm comfortable with. It's a way to try to wrap my head around it, I guess.

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  10. Thank you for the post.

    peggy1984 at live dot com

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    1. And thank you for the comment!!!

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