July 11th, 2006
Those are the words that led to a bashing.
They are also the beginning of a defense of some sort for the four who were arrested for beat up singer Kevin Aviance in New York on June 10. Aviance bumped into one of the three on the street and said, “Calm, down, sweetie,” which apparently was just too threatening to someone’s sense of manhood:
“I did not hit the guy because he was gay,” Johnson said in his statement. “I just did not want my friend to think … I was a p—y.”
So of course, the only option was for the three to beat Kevin senseless, breaking his jaw and several bones.
This defense is starting to look like a variation on the the so-called “gay panic” defense, which has been used successfully by defendants in a number of horrific cases. In February 2005, Josh Cottrell escaped the death penalty when a Hardin County, Kentucky jury convicted him of manslaughter for killing Richie Phillips, stuffing his body into a suitcase and dumping it into a nearby lake. To win that reduced conviction, Cottrell’s attorney told the jury:
If a man tries to force you to have deviant sexual intercourse, you have the right to use deadly force to protect yourself. … Does putting that body in the suitcase make that kid a murderer? A robber? No, it doesn’t. He has admitted that was the wrong thing to do, but he was acting in survival mode.
However, there was no evidence that Richie Phillips tried to “force” sexual intercourse. At most, there was a mere suggestion. But that was enough, apparently in the minds of a jury, to warrant a reduction in the charge.
The “gay panic” defense has been successfully used to avoid more serious penalties in cases ranging from the Matthew Shephard’s brutal beating and murder (the defendants avoided the death penalty) to the murder of male-to-female transgender Chanelle Pickett by William Palmer (she was beaten and “throttled” for eight minutes and died; he was acquitted of manslaughter and murder, convicted only of assault and battery).
Kevin Aviance was severely beaten — the wire just came off his broken jaw and he will soon be able to eat solid foods — but there is no murder here, luckily. One might argue that the stakes here aren’t quite as high. But if the defendants have their way, merely being called “sweetie” would be a justifiable defense. This sort of defense, when used successfully, opens the doors for all LGBT to be attacked for the smallest provocations — or even the mere allegation of one — and that endangers everyone whether they are gay or not.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.