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Defending Homophobic Violence

Timothy Kincaid

May 7th, 2008

lababs.jpg On April 12, University of Illinois student Steven Velasquez became the recipient of some hater’s violence. While there are two sides to every story, some facts are not in dispute:

Velasquez was walking with friends at 1:00 am. Another young man, Brett Vanasdlen, saw him and made a bigoted remark.

According to Velasquez, he responded, “How ignorant was that?” and kept walking. According to Vanasdlen, Velasquez grabbed him and started screaming, “What did you say” in his face.

In both stories, Vanasdlen threw Velasquez to the ground where he was knocked out, suffered head trauma, and was taken to the hospital. He was released the next day and is fine.

Vanasdlen was arrested and charged with a hate crime. He’s been released until his trial.

It is likely that this will be a very straightforward case. There were witnesses who can make their argument and a judge or jury will either convict or acquit Vanasdlen of assault.

But the story does not stop there.

David Duke, onetime Louisiana legislator and Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, has a website where like-minded individuals proclaim their beliefs. They rant about the corrupting influence of Jews, how civil rights laws lead to black men raping white women, how European countries need to keep their ethnic identity free from the dilution of immigration, and radical hispanics want to return the Southwest to Mexico. Rev. Ted Pike is a regular writer who specializes in anti-Semitic screeds (he loves Jews in the same way that LaBarbara love gays).

On Duke’s website, Rev. Ted Pike tells a version of the story provided by Vanasdlen’s mother. He claims that Vanasdlen is only being tried because “The police department of Champaign, Illinois is reported to be under pressure from higher authorities to increase its quota of hate crimes convictions.”

Pike encourages his readers to protest Vanasdlen’s arraignment before the facts are presented at trial. And it appears that one of his peers is taking up the cause.

Peter LaBarbera, an anti-gay activist better known for his extensive collection of gay porn and his video-taping of leather and other fetish events, is now meeting the challenge on Duke’s website. In case some of his readers are not also readers of Duke’s racist website, LaBarbera invites them to join the campaigners (LaBarbera downplays the racist and anti-Semitic connection, calling Pike a “pro-family advocate”).

TAKE ACTION: 1) Urge Champaign County, Illinois State’s Attorney Julia Rietz (phone: (217) 384-3733) to drop the government’s one-sided felony “hate crimes” prosecution against 18-year-old student-athlete Brett VanAsdlen — based on the inconsistent and likely exaggerated claims of Steven Velasquez, a homosexual University of Illinois (U of I) student who may have initiated physical contact with VanAsdlen. Already, Brett is being smeared as violent “gay-basher” by Velasquez and pro-homosexual activists in the media. Pray for Brett and his family.

Now it may be that the truth is different than what Velasquez has reported. In fact, a trial might find that he was the instigater and at fault. That’s what the jurisprudence system is set up to do.

But I do know that some – David Duke, Ted Pike, Peter LaBarbera, and those who share their views – have decided that Vanasdlen should not have to account for his actions that night. They believe that good Christian “strapping, clean-cut, All-American looking young man” should be able to send a gay kid with a name like Valasquez to the hospital without question.

I think that attitude is evil.

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Jim Burroway
May 7th, 2008 | LINK

Do you know something else that’s evil? That Peter LaBarbera would go to a white supremacist’s web site looking for material to bash gays with. That is evil.

queerunity
May 7th, 2008 | LINK

peter is a nazi, plain and simple

JJ in Chicago
May 7th, 2008 | LINK

Peter LaBarbera’s motives are more sinister than meets the eye.

This pathetic, paranoid, delusional crackpot is using this incident to further his own agenda here in Illinois.

He could care less about this ‘hate crime’ incident, which he subtly places in quotes. He uses quotes for a reason– he rejects the term “hate crime”, which I place in double-quotes for emphasis.

This is all about overturning enhanced penalties for crimes based on sexual orientation. He knows it’s only a matter of time where someone commits a bias-related crime based on sexual orientation and it’s traced back to a right-wing group– perhaps his own.

He wants to continue his verbal assault with lies and distortions on the gay community (especially gay men) with impunity.

Legislatively speaking, he has no chance of ever achieving any of his goals in this very blue state: repealing anti-discrimination laws, passing an anti-gay marriage amendment, or repeal of hate crime laws.

He moved here several years ago from D.C., after getting the boot from the Family Research Council.

If he was successful at everything he wanted, there’d be nothing to blog about and he’s have no excuse for obsessing over us.

He chose to move to Illinois for a reason. See, he’s feeding his pathology that causes him to obsess over homosexuality. (It’s like an alcoholic living next door to a tavern.)

In the end, he’ll stumble and we’ll all read about him getting busted at some forest preserve with his pants down around this ankles.

And he’ll quietly slink off into oblivion just like Ted Haggard, with all the shame and scorn that he rightfully deserves.

a. mcewen
May 7th, 2008 | LINK

on his webpage, peter claims to have gotten the info from a different webpage.

it still doesn’t look good for him if he got the info from pike.

Evan
May 7th, 2008 | LINK

WOW!

Peter is really devoid of morals, isn’t he?! I mean, I’ve always thought it questionable that he puts that scary unflattering picture of Ken Hutcherson up all the time, considering Hutcherson’s associations with violent anti-gay immigrant groups…but David Duke may be a new low! I mean, we know Peter is a pathological liar, but it’s truly sad to see that his biases are so strong that he’s willing to align himself with perpetrators of hatred so ignorant and malign.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

I’m sorry, and the Peter will never understand this (or maybe he will…God can redeem the vilest of characters), but people like him are precisely the reason that Christianity has such a poor name among educated people.

L. Junius Brutus
May 8th, 2008 | LINK

He calls Ted Pike a ‘pro-family’ activist, even though his main targets are Jews and the ADL. For one, I agree, the KKK, Peter, David Duke all belong in the same basket – and it ain’t a pro-family one.

dcguy
May 8th, 2008 | LINK

I think the REAL reason Porno-Pete moved to Chicago was so that he could be closer to the annual IML festivities. He seems unusually fixated on the entire leather-fetish groups and loves nothing more than going ‘undercover’ the get the real dirt on the event every year. Me thinks thou doest protest too much….

Piper
May 8th, 2008 | LINK

So I read one of the articles and the two stories don’t make any sense. One has to be a blatant lie. I am opposed to anything Duke puts out, so even while I want to wait for facts to come in I can’t help but side with my side almost unequivocally (may have spelled that wrong) I try and be open minded, but Duke lost all my respect, and anyone who goes to him for “facts” loses my respect as well. Now I’m going to work, actually HELPING kids, not filling their minds with tripe!

adam kautz
May 10th, 2008 | LINK

we need to call peter out and out him as a racist and anti-semite to the world. We can’t let him get away with this.

bruce69
May 11th, 2008 | LINK

unless you were there i would not make any judgemental comments. sounds like you know neither of these kids so be careful what you say

Christian Anti-Gay Activists Align with Anti-Semitic Anti-Gay Activists | Ex-Gay Watch
May 12th, 2008 | LINK

[…] activists have hit the trifecta of racism, antisemitism, and homophobia with newly recognized allies David Duke, Rev. Ted Pike, and […]

gweedo
May 12th, 2008 | LINK

Blown way out of proportion – this is nothing more than a case of an immature straight kid running into some drunk gay guys and saying something stupid – the gay kid should have ignore it instead of confronting vanasdlen and initiating physical contact. He’s probably lucky vanasdlen only pushed him away.

Timothy Kincaid
May 12th, 2008 | LINK

gweedo,

Kindly avoid repeating allegations against the victim.

According to the police report, the gay kid DID ignore it [only said “how ignorant was that?”] and kept going. He did NOT confront vanasdlen OR initiate physical contact.

I find it greatly offensive that you suggest that vanadslen was entitled to do more than “only push him away”. The notion that gay people are – by role – to be subjected to abuse at the whim of bigots is an evidence of the type of entitlement that heterosexuals – especially white conservative Christian heterosexuals – demonstrate.

That you choose to believe a racist website over a police report says a great deal about your mindset.

Matt
May 12th, 2008 | LINK

This guy is going to be charged with a felon for a verbal altercation and some pushing?

This is disgusting.

Al Batross
May 12th, 2008 | LINK

Get rid of “hate crimes” laws and try the case as a normal matter of law and justice. The mutual accusations of “hate” in this blog duel are a direct result of such stupid laws.

TJ McFisty
May 13th, 2008 | LINK

I wish “normal matters of law and justice” worked.

Alas, “normal matters” allowed “Twinkie Defense” and “Gay Panic” to allow the defendants to either walk or get lesser sentences.

Timothy Kincaid
May 13th, 2008 | LINK

Al,

There are those who disagree with hate crimes laws as a matter of principle. But perhaps you misunderstand the basis on which they stand.

One could argue that burning a cross on the lawn of a black family is a matter of minor arson and should be treated as such. But we all know that the purpose of such an action is not about arson at all, but rather it is intended as intimidation. Further, we know that the victim of such an act is not limited to the family involved but that such behavior is directed at all black people.

In a similar manner, attacks on gay persons because they are gay are not intended as a scuffle with another fellow. They are acts of intimidation intended to serve as a threat against all gay people. Those acts say, “Don’t let me catch you ‘being gay’ or you will suffer the same fate”.

Any attack on a gay person results in fear of simple acts that heterosexuals take as a matter of their birthright – holding hands, talking without worrying about being overheard, personal expression, etc.

Acts of violence against gays serve to instill unease in gay people and, perhaps ironically, to instill a sense of belonging in homophobes. If we believe the victim in this case, the words that Vanasdlen used were selected with just such a purpose:

“He said, ‘Get out of here,'” and used an epithet, Velasquez said. He said the man also yelled, “You don’t belong here,” and other slurs.

I can respect those who worry about the end result of hate crimes. Such an argument is fair and valid. But I only respect those who oppose ALL hate crimes legislation, not just those who object to hate crimes when the victim is gay.

And dismissing hate crimes as “stupid” demonstrates an ignorace (perhaps willful) of the matter and the thinking behind the debate.

Jason D
May 13th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy, great explanation. It’s so hard for people to understand that Hate Crime merely means someone using one crime (vandalism, for example) to commit a second crime(intimidation). The second crime is intended as a message to that person, that person’s family, neighbors, friends, and or members of an entire class that they “do not belong”.

If someone robs your grandmother, that’s robbery. If someone robs your grandmother while telling her “Go away, you filthy old hag, you don’t belong here.” that’s a hate crime.

bruce69
May 13th, 2008 | LINK

i know the suspect. he doesn’t hate gay people nor does he care what gay people do. when the true facts come out you may be thoroughly embarrassed and may feel that you have wasted your time stressing over this

bruce69
May 13th, 2008 | LINK

wow timothy kincaid take a pill. are you saying you saw the police report or are you saying what amanda evans on channel 3 news said is based on the police report? if you believe what the tv says i will do an infomerrcial to sell you an all naked male beachfront property in montana for only $3 million. it’s a good deal and since you saw it on tv it must be true right

Timothy Kincaid
May 14th, 2008 | LINK

i know the suspect. he doesn’t hate gay people nor does he care what gay people do.

bruce69,

There is no dispute over whether Brett VanAsdlen made disparaging comments to Stephen Velasquez. Your claim about “not caring” does not stand up to even the most casual glance at the facts of the case.

TJ McFisty
May 14th, 2008 | LINK

Exactly what I was thinking, Tim. If VanAsdlen really really really, deep in heart of hearts, really didn’t care about gay people, then why are we here now talking about this episode?

bruce69
May 14th, 2008 | LINK

timothy, and you got your facts straight from Amanda Evans at Channel 3 right?

Timothy Kincaid
May 14th, 2008 | LINK

bruce69,

If you have any evidence that VanAsdlen did not initiate the interaction, please provide it.

Otherwise we will rely on the agreement by all parties – gays, police, reporters, racists, anti-Semites, homophobes, and VanAsdlen’s mother – that VanAsdlen began the confrontation by verbally attacked Velasquez.

Fair enough?

Scratch a homophobe, find a racist? « break the terror
August 1st, 2008 | LINK

[…] Scratch a homophobe, find a racist? I know anti-gay “pro-family” wingnut Peter LaBarbera wouldn’t like that accusation levied at him — I mean, he falls all over himself with slobbering adulation for deluded anti-gay black people like Ken Hutcherson and Charlene Cothran. Then again, one could reasonably suggest Ken and Charlene are just token blacks for Peter, considering his past alliances with racists. […]

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