I want you to read this. It is a post from David Neiwert's blog referring to brutal hate crime committed against a gay man for expressing controversial political views. Hate crimes happen against gay people all the time. All the time. They range from harassment and slurs all the way to murder, and they are almost never reported. I am sickened but not surprised by the skepticism you will see in the comments that such an event could even happen. "Would it not be reported like Matthew Shepard's murder?"
The answer is no. Matthew Shepard's story benefited from a confluence of specific factors, a perfect media storm. Most of these stories are never reported. In Massachusetts, a lesbian couple was brutalized by a gang of teenagers while out walking with their children. A black butch lesbian in New Jersey was murdered by perfect strangers while standing on the street, and there was no coverage that I could see, save for local gay press. "Brandon Teena's murder was made into a movie!" And since the release of that movie something like twenty transgendered people have been murdered, a number made even more staggering by the fractionally small proportion of the population that trans people represent. And those are just the ones that are reported in the gay press.
And on, and on, and on. As I write this, I have the feeling that these few anecdotal reports of mine are not sufficient to sustain an argument. I'm not trying to sustain an argument. I want to communicate to you my perception, my experience, that this is a problem that is ongoing and pervasive. It is that very pervasiveness that keeps me from going out and collecting all the recent reports and showing them to you, because there is no reason why you can't find them yourself. You just have to look. You just have to be aware. You don't have to look very hard.
UPDATE: The post has been deleted, because David Neiwert couldn't corroborate the charges. It doesn't change that much of what I said above. There have long been hoaxes on the Internet of the bizarre-unsubstantiated-crime sort, so maybe this is a case of that. But to underscore my point, here's an article that states that twenty-five trans people have been murdered in 2002, which means my estimate was too low. Gays and lesbians tend not to be murdered quite as often, but violence, harassment, and discrimination are still all too common.
--Melissa O, at 23:27