Beaupedia

Man Under Construction

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Still Matthew

After all of these years I just found out that Matthew Shepard was a tiny 5’2″ in height. A bit in the news from Orlando’s Pulse massacre got me reading about him again and it broke my heart anew.

I remember being absolutely devastated by his story as a scared 15 year old with no hope of being able to tell anyone in my life who I really was or what I was dealing with. Matthew was me and I there wasn’t much hope.

Home was certainly unwelcoming for who I really was, I would find no solace there, and with Matthew’s murder it seemed the world was also against me. There were so many times I saw no possible positive future for myself.

I genuinely believed I was the only gay person in my town of 32,000 people. I thought there were maybe 7 or 8 gay people in my entire state of 4 and a half million. I was very, very alone.

I persevered because regardless of my own inevitable unhappiness, I wanted to be able to make a difference in other people’s lives. I bounced around a bit on what I wanted to be: a high school counselor, a teacher, a youth pastor, and ultimately a social worker, but it was always my hope to be able to help adolescents. That remains something I still hope for today, and have been able to put into action in many ways, though not yet as a career.

I have vivid memories from a couple years after Matthew’s murder of sneaking off to my parent’s bedroom when MTV aired their “Anatomy of a Hate Crime” movie about his murder. I pretended to be watching the news when my mom checked in to see what I was doing, making fast use of the “last” button on the remote control to cover myself. I sat on the edge of my parents’ bed trying to keep my tears to a minimum in case one of them walked in.

I felt like my chest was imploding from grief while feeling as though the rest of me were going to explode from the effort it took to prevent all out sobs. I wept for Matthew, but I also cried because there was a community at home and around the world that loved him and accepted him and didn’t think he deserved death as my church and my family had taught me he and all gays did. It was a glimmer of hope that I desperately needed. I wish I could beam a message back to that kid and tell him how much better things would get. To let him know that the community that loves him unconditionally is so much larger and stronger and warmer than he could possibly imagine, and to just hang on.

I read a series of tweets from an older lesbian earlier who was distraught over the Pulse massacre and recounted Stonewall and how the different generations after her have had their own symbols, including Matthew Shepard. Someone in the comments indicated they were in their early 20s and remarked that they had to look up who Matthew Shepard was because they had never heard of him. I guess it never occurred to me that there are young adults alive now who have never heard Matthew’s name. I don’t know why, but that hit me as incredibly tragic. It’s important to remember the names, the faces, the stories – they are all a part of our DNA as a community and a society and a reminder to work toward the kind of world we want for our children.

And though I never knew him, I will always mourn Matthew. I imagine the man he’d be today, that tiny, fragile frame having filled out some with age as he approached his 40th birthday this year. I wouldn’t know him, and that would be just fine because he’d be out there in the world happy and fulfilled living an ordinary life, not fated to being anyone’s tragic symbol.

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Throwing Shade Coming To TV!

I’ve been listening to the Throwing Shade podcast with Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi for a few years now after falling in love with Bryan’s “That’s Gay” segments on the show infoMania on the former Current TV. The show summarizes itself as “taking a weekly look at all the issues important to ladies and gays… and treating them with much less respect than they deserve.” It’s hilarious while also focusing attention on important issues in our culture.

The great news is now they’re branching out into late-night TV! The show will be on TV Land, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait until early 2017 to see it. I’m greatly looking forward to it, and I really hope they keep the same incredibly inappropriate edge they have in the podcast.

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A Sad Update on (State Protected) Russian Hate Crimes

When I talked about the awful situation in Russia in my post a couple of weeks ago, barely anyone was covering the story. I’m glad to see that now has changed, and it’s getting much wider coverage. Still no movement in Russia, but at least the word is out there.

I am sad to report however that news is coming in that indicates the young man whose photo I used in my previous post has died from injuries he sustained while being tortured by the homophobic mob pictured.

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According to human rights activist Dr. Valentin Degtyarev, MD, who has been reporting on the “Occupy Pedofilyaj” group, after being tortured and humiliated, the man was beaten with bats and apparently had some sort of liquid foam injected into his body. Dr. Degtyarev reports that no charges have been filed and no arrests have been made.

He also stated that after notifying the authorities of the crimes being committed he was told they could see no wrongdoing in any photos or videos posted by the group and that they consider the group to be one of the local “civil movements fighting the sins of the society.”

These monsters make no attempt to disguise their identities in any of their photos or videos. They feel protected by Russia’s recent laws to criminalize homosexuality. Even telling a child that gay people exist is now a crime.

 

 

Above is a video I pulled from one of the group member’s social networking pages before it was take down. It shows the beginning of the incident after fooling the victim into showing up at what was supposed to be another gay man’s home.

I do not know what else to say. I am hoping the information is inaccurate, but fear it likely is not. As more information becomes available I will share it. In the meantime please spread the word and sign this petition: https://www.allout.org/en/actions/russia-attacks

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Russian Hate Crimes–Why Isn’t This News?

Russian extremists using social media to target, attack LGBT youth

Russian Neo-Nazis Allegedly Lure, Torture Gay Teens With Online Dating Scam

Putin’s Crackdown on LGBT Teens in Russia [WARNING: May be difficult to watch]

 

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Throughout Russia there are groups of Neo-Nazi assholes emboldened by Russia’s recent anti-gay laws who are fooling gay teens into meeting up with them only to humiliate, torture, and at least in one case, murder them.

Why aren’t we hearing about this? Even finding links for this post was a bit of a struggle. These guys aren’t hiding their faces. They aren’t wearing ski masks while they commit these awful crimes. Look at them, they’re smiling and they’re fucking proud of what they’re doing. Now that the law basically makes it a crime to be gay, who cares, right?

 

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I’m going to have to agree with Dan Savage on this one, and start boycotting Russian companies that market to the gay community in the western world but do not speak up for our queer brothers and sisters in their own backyard.

In addition, the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia. The pressure needs to start increasing. This needs to be on the front page as the Olympics approach.

Start by signing this petition to call for the freezing of financial assets of those committing these crimes and deny them entry into the US. Secondly, spread the word. This needs to start getting publicity. The world is about to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in Russia during the Olympics. We pressured China over their human rights violations when they hosted, and it’s time to do the same for Russia.

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Stop & Frisk – What a Bunch of Bullshit!

I really don’t know what to say, I feel like it’s all pretty clear in the video. Lucky me for being white. What a bunch of bullshit.

Mayor Bloomberg, you’ve got to take care of this!