Monday, May 21, 2007

MURDERED ~ for being gay

Vigils were held throughout the state of Florida today in memory of Ryan Keith Skipper, a 25-year-old Polk County man who was viciously murdered on March 14, 2007; his body left on the side of a road in what the Sheriff's office is classifying as an anti-gay hate crime.

Ryan was brutally stabbed at least 20 times and his car and a laptop computer were stolen. According to witnesses, two suspects drove Ryan's bloody car around and bragged to their friends about savagely killing him.

Joseph Eli Bearden, 21, and William David Brown Jr., 20, (giving the standard excuse that Ryan was trying to hit on them) were indicted this past Friday and face charges of first-degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon.

Ryan's murder was not an isolated incident, but rather the latest in an epidemic of anti-gay hate violence in Florida and around the nation. Anti-gay hate crimes are at their highest level ever in Florida, and second only to racist attacks in overall numbers.

According to the Florida Attorney General's office, hate crimes targeting LGBT Floridians have increased 33% in the most violent categories during the two most recently reported years. The silence of Florida's leadership in the face of this brutal murder must not go unchallenged.

Living in Florida, I only read about this murder today. Although Ryan was killed one month ago, this is sadly not the first example of a mainstream media blackout when it comes to gay men being murdered or going missing.

We are still waiting for the big media to cover the cases of three young gay men who have been missing for years in the Tampa Bay area.

James Shumaker has been missing since Oct. 20, 1995; Bradley Lee Williams has been missing since June 9, 2001; and Mark Allen Thompson vanished Nov. 1, 2001. The cases have never received any statewide or national attention.

Likewise, the murders of Jason Galehouse and Michael Waccholtz in December 2003 received almost no coverage before the arrest of the suspect, Steven Lorenzo.

1 comment:

BostonPobble said...

Oh God...Why??????

Angels and ministers of grace defend thee...