Hate of the Union

Why homophobia has become america’s favorite pastime

Meanwhile, minorities attack each other even more often than they do themselves, never noticing the irony inherent in trying to rise out of oppression by persecuting other downtrodden people. The doctrine of hatemonger Khallid Abdul Muhammad—who riles up African Americans with his distaste for Jews and gays—reminds us how one group can target another in the name of communal pride. I'm surprised Giuliani didn't welcome the Million Youth March for this very reason. (I guess his racism temporarily eclipsed his homophobia.) The mayor has certainly been astoundingly silent about the rise in local gay-bashing reports, as New York becomes a place where the supposed fringe is fringier and more disposable than ever. In the last few months, while living in my delusion that the gay life here is a carefree one, I've gotten no less than three "faggots" and one "maricón"—and believe me, I wasn't flirting. Plus I recently found myself in an altercation with a woman at a bookstore who volunteered that gays are offensive because they choose to be that way—as if anyone would elect to enter her homo phobic world.

Perhaps the most startling statement to come out of this whole horrorshow was made by Shepard's own bereaved father, Dennis. According to Wyoming governor Jim Geringer, Dennis insisted through his grief, "We should not use Matt to further an agenda," nor should we "rush into just passing all kinds of new hate-crimes laws." I think Matthew would be screaming otherwise.

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