Essay on Hate Crimes Against Gays

Essay on Hate Crimes Against Gays

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    In October of 1998, America finally became aware of how deadly discrimination can be. In Laramie, Wyoming, 21-year old college student Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten by two men and tied to a fence, left for dead. Matthew's murderers set out only to rob him, but ended up beating him so severely that he never regained consciousness before he died. Why did this happen in the first place? Simply because Matthew was gay. Matthew's death became a national symbol of violence against homosexuals, prompting prayer vigils and calls for state and federally supported hate crime laws.

Today, America prides itself on being a tolerant country. Through laws and legislation, including affirmative action, anti hate-crime laws, and movements against racial discrimination, America sees itself as a country that offers equal opportunities to people of all size, shape, and color. This statement, however, is slightly biased, one that looks at America through "rose-colored" glasses. Contrary to popular belief, everything is not wonderful here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

 

Certain groups of people are still widely discriminated against, an experience that goes relatively unnoticed. This discrimination has nothing to do with age, religion, or race. Instead, it deals with sexual orientation. Every day, people are harassed, abused, and even murdered, all because they do not fit America's idea of what "normal" is. A hate crime is committed every hour; three gays become hate crime victims every day (MTV Online). Current hate crime laws do not protect three groups of people: women, the disabled, and homosexuals. Misconceptions held by homophobic individuals cause or encourage these crimes.

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... America. The young man's horrific murder drew the eyes of the nation to Wyoming, forcing the country to wake up and realize how stereotypes and false truths have led to hatred, which ultimately ends in physical and mental harm, and even death. Until people learn to look past what they have been led to believe by some intolerant figures in the media, religious figures, family, and friends, these hate crimes will not stop.

 

Works Cited

"About the Religious Right." People For the American Way. <http://www.pfaw.org/issues/right/rtvw.antigay.shtml>.

MTV Online. <http://www.mtv.com/mtv/tubescan/ffyr/index2.html>.

Robinson, B.A. "What causes sexual orientation?" 21 June 2000 <http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_caus.htm>.

"Sexual Behavior Text 2." <http://www.dss.mil/training/adr/sexbeh/sexT2.htm#Homosexuality>.

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