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College English 1301
Dec. 9, 2003
Every day, somewhere in the GLBT (Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgendered)
community, a crime is committed against a person out of hate, fear, and
ignorance for the GLBT lifestyle. Even though progress has been made in
social and political arenas, there are those who cannot be comfortable with
their presence due to religious or moral viewpoints. They vent their anger
against the community by attacking those who they believe are a part of
that community. With such hate, they sometimes seek out individuals who
only through a time or place connection appear to be part of the group such
as straight friends who through association are thought to also be a member
of the GLBT community.

"Gay-bashing" has even become fashionable in some areas. And there is
always a chance it could happen to anyone. It doesn't necessarily involve
physical violence, but can be as "innocuous" (in the minds of many bigoted
individuals) as a threatening letter or a phone call. Nor does it only
happen in and around gay bars. Everyone needs to become more aware of the
danger they may sometimes face even in their own local townships.

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In Laramie Wyoming, on a cold October night on October 6,1998, 21
year old Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming U. student was lured and many say
kidnapped by two trouble-seeking homophobic people; Aaron J. McKinney, and
Russell Henderson, and severely beaten and tied to a fence near the
mountains to be found by a passing cyclist
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18 hours later and taken to a hospital where he later died from his
injuries at 12:53 a.m. on Monday, October 12 only because he was a
homosexual.

Thousands of GLBT teens endure the hardships of being ostracized,
outcast, and put down because of who they are each day, and have nowhere to
turn, or no one to consult and talk to about their problems, which in turn
causes them to become depressed, and in many known cases, suicidal. Murders
and brutal acts happen to innocent teenagers, and adults alike.

What happens to these families that lose their loved ones due to a
horrid attack, or murder because their son or daughter was/is different?
What happens to the person who is attacked, savagely beaten, and left alone
to die like Matthew Shepard? As a result, groups like PFLAG (an acronym for
"Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays"), and GLAAD (otherwise
known as the "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation") exist to let
people of the GLBT nature know that they are not alone and that they do not
have to live their lives in a bubble of fear for the years to come and to
make them feel that they do indeed have somewhere to turn, as well as a
source of support for parents, friends, and families that are involved..

Other groups also exist to protect and harbor the GLBT persuasion like
GSA's (Gay-Straight alliances), created by students, alumni, and employees
in high schools and colleges across the globe.

Slowly but surely, as hate crimes start to lessen, and tolerance and
support starts to build, GLBT people are starting to realize that they
don't need to be afraid to be themselves, or be afraid to walk down the
street in fear because laws protecting Civil rights, and laws being passed
protecting them, and other groups of people are being passed all the time
to ensure their safety.