English Department EG 121:1108 – English Composition II Professor: Dr.

Mark Noonan Student: Rosalio Inojosa (2027)

HOMOPHOBIA: Capital Sin or Capital Crime?
Hatred when publicly displayed, is more than strong terms, hostility, or physical harm to an individual. It is undoubtedly a crime. Today, hate is rightly considered a felony in most states and there is a growing nationwide consensus about its condemnable nature. Worse than intolerance, hate crimes involve offences committed against a person or property motivated by the perpetrator’s dislike, fear or hatred. The reasons are many ranging from race, color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. This paper will focus on one of these types of hatred: That is homophobia, the irrational dislike and fear of homosexuality. On the one hand, it will discuss how homophobia is a form of discrimination, enacted by harassment, assault, bullying, blackmail, robbery, and/or the verbal or physical abuse inflicted to those who are object of this type of phobia. On the other hand, it is going to interrogate how some right wing zealots assert that homosexuality endangers the traditional American family. Upon analyzing this controversy, I hope to clarify a singular fact: Homophobia is the truly and real danger. In fact a large number of murders and suicides can directly be attributed to homophobia.

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Among the resources surveyed for the present research, Tommy Stoval’s film Hate Crime is a cornerstone. It is a provoking suspense-drama movie that depicts a gay couple (Robbie and Trey), whose peaceful life together in a quiet neighborhood in Dallas, Texas, is abruptly interrupted by an unexpected homophobic incident. A new next door neighbor, (a right-winger preacher’s kid, Chris) openly manifests his hatred against homosexuals. He threatens the

couple’s tranquility and elicits events that wind up in Trey’s death in a hospital bed. Chris becomes the prime suspect, but he has a solid alibi based on his parents’ testimony. Robbie himself becomes a suspect. Then he leads his own investigation that makes him find out two key facts: Chris is a ‘closeted’ gay man who tries to get rid of his father’s influence, and the pastor is indeed the killer. Robbie desperately attempt to carry out a complex and dangerous plan that lead to a shocking end. Helped by Trey’s mother and a neighbor friend, Robbie unmasks the murderer making the police to believe that he himself was just about to be another victim of the preacher’s hatred. The pastor is incarcerated and Robbie is taken to the hospital with a bullet in his arm. Although fictional, this story is a good example of the damaging consequences of intolerance and hatred. It is also a realistic portrayal of bigotry and how it affects the people it comes in contact with. Furthermore, this movie makes us reflect about some of our belief and convictions, about the speech and religious affiliation freedom we all unlawfully hold and cherish the most here in America.

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At this point it is feasible to question: Is it, accordingly to these principles of freedom of speech, justified that some radical right-wingers utter some Bible’s verses against individuals from the gay community, asserting that ‘God hates fags’ and that gays consequently deserve death? The one inserted on the homepage of ‘www.godhatesfags.com’ is particularly

disturbing: “Sodomy is an abominable sin, worthy of death. ‘If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.’ Leviticus 20:13.” For starters, isn’t it an out-of-context misinterpretation of the

Bible’s text? Isn’t it also a sort of invitation to commit assassinations against a fellow human being from the LGBTSTQ1 community, and hence to commit a crime that is also considered a sin by the same God’s commandments? The same Leviticus, verse 20:10, states: “And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”, and even though these same right-winger crusaders are not going everywhere killing cheater
1

LGBTSTQ: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, two spirited, transgender and questioning.

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husbands and wives! So, why the hatred only against a specific community? Fear? Guilt? Convenience? Stoval’s Hate Crime unmasks some of these real and subtle reasons why. According to the review that The Latino LGBT Agency “Somos”, a project of The Latino Commission on Aids, makes of the documentary film Out at Work, it can be extracted that “Homophobia is a phenomenon that affects everyone”, everywhere. Homophobia is a phenomenon that limits families, friendships, richness of society, and even general civil freedom. It especially strikes the

heterosexual population who reject to embrace their families’ gay members due to the conviction that “homosexuality endangers traditional family”. The truth is that homophobia is the real danger due to the large number of suicides among gay children and teenagers whose will, life desires, and bonds to the surrounding environment, are weakened by the steady rejection from their parents and siblings. As quoted in the latter cited study “children are so conflicted by what they have been told by parents they trust, that suicide is the only recourse they feel they have” to get rid of anxiety, depression, and despair due to that rejection from people they love. It is also well known that the impact of homophobia on the general population is tremendously profound. The aversion toward homosexuals even reaches extremes of ‘queer bashing’ and murdering. That is the case of the widely known case of the Wyoming University student, Matthew Shepherd, who

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was mercilessly beating to death due to his

homosexuality on Octuber 7th, 1996. 2004 FBI’s crime report gives figures that place sexual orientation as the second cause of hate crime incidence along the United States (1.258 cases), beaten only by hate crime due to race (4.173 cases), and followed by religion (604 cases). These are statistics that should warn us about the graveness of the problem and which are ringing a bell regarding what society should do to avoid and increased rate of crimes committed against ‘defenseless’ members of this minority. Another aspect of homophobia is related to poor education and propaganda. Increasingly public celebrities’, politicians’, militaries’, preachers’ speeches, declarations, and even songs, are deepening and internalizing the homophobia among heterosexuals and general population. Examples of these assertions are transcribed in Dave White’s article titled “Blah, blah, blah, faggot”. In this article White utters, “Hey, queers, guess what? People still hate you!” as a warning about the idea that homosexuals’ rights are already in a way of accomplishment. He also summarizes some of these assertions from people like the veteran General Peter Pace, former gay pinup model Mark Wahlberg, Marine reservist Cpl. Matt Sanchez, Oscar nominee Terrence
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Howard, former NBA-er Tim Hardway, and Eminnem’s “Marshall Mathers” recording, all of them making remarks against homosexuality and gay people, giving their valuable contribution to the internalization among the people of hatred, with the subsequent rise of the connotation and pejorative character of the ‘F-word’. And as Samar Farah quoted in her article “A Bid to Legislate Love Splits a New England Town”, “We’re all subjected to messages of prejudice and bias, especially from the media.” There are legal and constitutional reasons why this phenomenon should not be accepted or even happen in America. Even though, there are counter opinions on this matter. These opinions are especially found in colleges’ and universities’ students who defend their freedom of speech. Among these youngsters, this idea is certainly gaining ground due to what is proclaimed in the first amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America, whence the right of free expression of thoughts is guaranteed. It is well known that every University should welcome all perspectives, no matter where they are on the political or sociocultural spectrum. From this point of view, a slogan is uttered: “On campus: Free speech for you but not for me?” is a heterosexuals’ proclaim that has the objective of defend the right to express themselves in the way they want. That is okay; but, should they be allowed to do so when anyone could be harmed with their utterance? Here is exposed the complexity of this controversy.
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Despite these opinions, in Samar Farah’s article “A bid to legislate love splits a New England town” it is asserted that efforts are being made to achieve “Zero tolerance for hate crime zones” and “No Place for Hate zones” among some north Boston small town schools, and that “fighting hate is a job for parents, not the government” and teachers alone. The need of these zones are sharply deducted from the fact that “High-schoolers waiting to catch the train to Boston say homophobia is rampant, and is general stereotyping of groups like Jews and Arab-Americans”. In other article, “More Schools take up gay-bias issues” by Scott Baldauf, he focuses on how schools across the United States are attempting to deal with discrimination against homosexual students by their peers, how gay-straight alliances are being made, and how discussions of the adoption of anti-bias policies of tolerance are being sustained. With all this policies what is pursued is a way to strictly forbid discrimination, foul language, or bullying because of sexual orientation among student of elementary and high schools. In the same article Baldauf cites facts and figures that are somewhat overwhelming: “Bullying strikes gay teens the hardest, and they are four times as likely as other teenagers to commit suicide”, and “In New York Alone, thousands of gay teens drop out of school each year, and 35 percent of the city’s 20.000 homeless youths describe themselves as gay or lesbian”

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Summarizing, homophobia is the second cause for hate crime in the United States. It affects everyone in the American family and everyone is subject to the dangerous effect of being suffering from this social disease. As many other illnesses, homophobia kills for real. Lots of gay teenagers commit suicide as a final recourse for their despair and regrets from their parents and siblings, and lots of them are bashed and even put to death due to zealots’ and right-wingers’ extreme interpretation of God’s words. Nevertheless, there is ray of hope on this matter; there is a worldwide acquiescence on what humanity owes to the LGBTSTQ community: An apology for hundreds of years of harassment, discrimination and segregation. As the President of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said in his speech on the occasion of passing the bill on same sex marriage: “Today, the Spanish society answers to a group of people who, during many years have, been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, whose dignity has been offended, their identity denied, and their liberty oppressed. Today the Spanish society grants them the respect they deserve, recognizes their rights, restores their dignity, affirms their identity, and restores their liberty”. Let’s walk through the path of tolerance, and hence let’s make a better world for our children, and for our children’s children, a place where everybody has a place under the rainbow of the human diversity.

ROSALIO INOJOSA
May, 2007

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Works Cited
Baldauf, Scott. “More schools take up gay-bias issues’ EBSCO Online, April 05, 2007. http://web.ebscohost.com.citytech.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/ehost/deli... Farah, Samar. “A bid to legislate love splits a New England town” EBSCO Online, April 05, 2007.

http://web.ebscohost.com.citytech.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/e host/deli...
FBI, “Crime in the United States 2004, FBI, Uniform Crime Reports”. Information please Database, 2007, pearson Education, Inc.

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004885.html
God Hates Fags. May 12, 2007. http://www.godhatesfags.com/

, http://www.thesignsothetimes.net/
Hate Crime the movie, http://hatecrimemovie.com/synopsis.html

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, “Spanish Premier Zapatero’s Remarkable Gay Marriage Speech”, http://direland.typepad.com/direland/2005/07/when_the_sp anis.html
Marklein, Mary Beth. “On Campus: Free Speech for you but not for me?” EBSCO Online, April 05, 2007.

http://web.ebscohost.com.citytech.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/e host/deli...
SOMOS, Latino Commission on Aids. “Study on Internalized Homophobia”. December 22, 1997.

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White, Dave. “Blah blah blah faggot” EBSCO Online, April 05, 2007.

http://web.ebscohost.com.citytech.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/e host/deli...

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