Please accept this as a Letter to the Editor.
According to news reports a young woman, Nancy Wadington, was assaulted by bigots for almost three years while attending high school in Holmdel. She suffered verbal harassment, had bottles thrown at her, was pushed down a flight of stairs, and bigots destroyed her books and urinated in her backpack. Ultimately, fearing for her safety, she left school. Nancy and her mother approached the school’s administration seeking help, but they wouldn’t stop the increasingly dangerous, vicious harassment. She’s filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey.
ACCORDING to the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, 84% of gay and lesbian high school students’ endure regular verbal harassment while 40% report being physically abused. They’re not alone. Violence and harassment against gays and lesbians rose 26 percent in the second half of 2003, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, and then increased steadily during the election. An April 2005 report of the NCAVP indicates growing overall violence, with a 4% incident increase in bigot violence, rising from 1,720 in 2003 to 1,792 in 2004. Murders and lynchings rose from 18 in 2003 to 20 in 2004. The total number of victims rose 4% from 2,042 in 2003 to 2,131 in 2004.
Political and religious bigotry, used by the Republican-christian axis in their campaigns to hustle gullible, superstitious voters is directly linked to violence against gays and lesbians. Both spiked during the 2004 national election because the bigotry is a green light for ‘hands on’, violent thugs. When the bigotry comes from pulpits and politicians it makes thugs feel vindicated while committing violent offenses against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. This diseased campaign of bigotry by opportunists like Santorum, Bush, Falwell, Robertson and Phelps inevitably metastasizes into violence
For TV evangelists out for the quick buck, earning grants and money for their superstition-based ‘charities’, or to draw attention away from the many altar boy rape cases, and for wannabe world conquerors who get in over their heads in Iraq and are trying to save their skins, using homophobia is a game; a tactical approach. For its victims, like Nancy Wadington, it alters their lives forever, and suicide, especially among gay children and teens, often tragically follows. We need laws to severely punish and fine the thugs who commit bigoted violence, and the thugs who encourage them.
( There are 387 words in the body of the letter.)