Language Arts 2nd
May 20, 2011
Gay Rights and Abuse
Does the lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LBGT) community have the same rights as the rest of society when it comes to things like family, religion, crime? This is a highly sensitive subject no matter which side people are on. Many LBGT people want to have families and live their life just like anyone else. But there are those that have a fear of things that are unknown or different from them. This often leads to what is considered hate crimes.
On October 12, 1998 just after midnight twenty one year old Matthew Shepard died in a hospital in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Six days earlier he was attacked and beaten. It was later determined that he was targeted because of his sexual orientation ("Matthew").
Matthew grew up in Casper Wyoming. He was a normal boy described by his father as an optimistic and accepting young man who had the special gift of being able to relate to almost everyone. Matthew was said to be the type of person who was very approachable and always looked for new challenges. He had a great passion for equality and always stood up for the acceptance of people's rights ("Matthew").
Shortly after midnight on October 7, 1998 Matthew met two men, Aaron McKinley and Russell Henderson, at the Fireside Lounge in Laramie, Wyoming. It was determined that they would give Matthew a ride home. Instead they drove to a remote area where they robbed, pistol-wiped and tortured him. In the end they tied him to a fence and left him to die. Eighteen hours later he was discovered by a man riding his bike. The man originally thought that he was a scarecrow. ("Gay")
He was in a coma and had suffered fractures to the back of his head and in the front of his right ear. He experienced severe damage to the brain-stem, which affected the ability of his body to regulate his heart rate, body temperature, and other vital functions. In addition there were several small lacerations around his face and neck. The doctors deemed his injuries to be too severe to operate. He never regained consciousness and remained on full life support until his death ("Gay").
In another case, Tyler Doustou, a happy two year old boy, enjoyed playing with his parents like any other child. The fact that his parents were both woman living in a lesbian relationship didn't mean anything to him. He loved them just like any other child loves his parents. Then one day in 1993 his maternal grandmother, Kay Bottoms, sued for custody of Tyler, because her daughter was gay, she was an unfit parent. Does being Gay make you an unfit parent? (Roleff).
The case was heard by Court Judge Buford M. Parsons Jr. After hearing both sides Judge Parsons ruled that the actions of Sharon Bottoms were criminal due to the fact that she was lesbian, and was living with another woman, in a lesbian relationship. Also because of the fact that she admitted to the court that she was living in a homosexual relationship, she was in violation of Virginia's sodomy law, custody was given to his grandmother, Kay Bottoms. Sharron was allowed to see her son two times a week, but Tyler was not allowed to visit his mothers' house or to have any contact with April Wade, his mother's partner (Roleff).
Sharron appealed the court's decision. A three judge panel ruled that being lesbian and engaging in "illegal" sexual acts is not a valid reason to take a child away from its parent and give it to a nonparent (Roleff).
Kay Bottoms appealed the ruling of the courts to the Virginia Supreme Court. On April 21, 1995 in a 4-3 decision, the court again ruled that Sharron was an unfit mother because of her homosexual relationship. Stating that it would bring Tyler "social condemnation" (as said by the courts), " it was also said that living daily under conditions stemming from active lesbianism practiced in the home will inevitability affect the child's relationship with its peers and the community." (Roleff)
These are just a couple of examples of how the LGBT community has been treated because of the life they live. These stories may be older but they have been some of the influential. Even though the information for updated cases was not easily available. The fact is things like this are still taking place. As stated in the beginning this is a highly sensitive subject. No matter which side people are on, one thing is certain people should be able to live without fear. No one opinion is totally correct and everyone should consider one thing. In our founding documents it is said that all men are created equal, and have certain rights, and those rights should be preserved; not just for a few citizens but for all. The US should not, whether in civil court, family court or criminal court is able to discriminate against any one, no matter what the personal beliefs of any one person in the case may be.
Does the lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LBGT) community have the same rights as the rest of society when it comes to things like family, religion, crime? This is a highly sensitive subject no matter which side you are on. Many LBGT people want to have families and live their life just like anyone else. But there are those that have a fear of things that are unknown or different from them. Which often lead to what is considered hate crimes.
Remember that girl in the corner? The one named Sarah? The one who had her head down and never made a sound, too scared to look her class mates in the eyes? Remember the boy who was pushed down the stairs by the older kids and got called a gay fag? The one called John? Remember the girl who cried in the bathroom because she liked other girls? The one named Lucy? Remember all of the teasing that went on, all of the hateful words, all of the pointing and laughing?
Now Sarah carves into her arm, trying to tell herself she isn't bi. Now John is so bruised, he can't feel anymore and now, Lucy holds a gun against her forehead, a note on her desk. One little pull and her body falls to the ground. One little pull and Lucy is no longer.
What her note reads: "Why? Why did you have to be so cruel? Why? How could you kill someone like this? You slowly killed me on the inside, now I'm doing the job on the outside. You are so cruel to your own kind, you are so blind. I never liked guys, guess that means I have to say good bye." (Galloway)
Galloway, Ayla. "SO SAD AND IT REALLY HAPPENS." My life. 12 March, 2011. Web.
"Gay Wyoming Student Dies from Beating." USA TODAY. Oct. 12 1998:. SIRS Researcher. Web. 16 May 2011. <http://www.sks.sirs.com>.
"Matthew Shephard." Wikipedia.com. 10 May 2011. Web. 11May, 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Sheparp>.
Roleff, Tamara L . "Introduction." Current Controversies: Gay Rights. Ed. Tamara L. Roleff. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Aug. 2004. Web. 16 May 2011. <http://www.enotes.com/gay-rights-article/42483>.