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read_me.gif Southern Voice Washington Blade

2007 Is Off To A Rough Start

This year, we must demand more

by j. brotherlove

If you’re reading this, then you made it to 2007 in more or less one piece. That’s a good thing because we have a lot of work to do this year. With new political leaders in place (ones who may actually listen to the gay community) it is critical that we demand more recognition and protection from our elected officials and police officers.

We are in the first week of 2007 and the need to be more proactive is making news already, albeit tragically. Gay partygoers in Washington DC experienced violence over the 2007 New Year’s weekend. According to an email sent by party promoter Daryl Wilson, a gay patron was assaulted outside 501 Club, where Wilson hosts the weekly Bounce Friday party.

According to Wilson, due to the shooting and other incidents targeting gay clientele at the club, DC police advised him to end his party early. Wilson went further. Believing police and club management have done “absolutely nothing” to protect his customers, he has moved his event to a new venue.

In Chicago, a New Year’s Eve party held in a neighborhood home known as the “Gay House” was violently interrupted when six masked gunmen kicked opened doors of the home and opened fire, shooting six guests. Since the gunmen did not use homophobic slurs the crime has not been tagged as a hate crime. But anti-gay sentiments of some of the neighbors offer a troubling perspective. Reports Chicago Sun-Times:

“We always be seeing them, and they always be looking at people,” said Kevin Carter, 18. “They give you that gay look, like you’re a female or something. That ain’t cute. People be ready to fight … “

Rod 2.o adds:

One young man told a television reporter that he and his friends resented the flamboyant mannerisms and conversations by some visitors to the apartment. “This is a normal neighborhood,” the young man told CLTV News.”It was a matter of time before something like this happened.”

Ironically, last month Chicago Tribune revealed results from a survey conducted by the Travel Industry Association ranking Chicago as a prime destination for gay and lesbian tourists. Boosted possibly by its successful hosting of 2006’s Gay Games, the survey also identified certain brand preferences amongst gays such as American Airlines, Hilton Hotels and Orbitz travel sites.

To be certain, violent crime happens in every major city and it’s unlikely gay tourists list Chicago’s South Side as a must-see. However, the cavalier response of some of the neighbors illustrate how deep intolerance can run. It also gives new credence to the phrase, “It’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

pub: 01/03/2007 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 1 | subscribe

i hadn’t heard anything about this. why am i not surprised. it makes me sad that something like this happened where i grew up and the sentiment towards the incident suggests that violence towards gay people was bound to happen. what does that say about the level of homophobia in our community?

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