Human beings come in so many different varieties. Blonde hair, red hair, brown eyes, green eyes, black, white… And instead of embracing our differences, we’ve stereotyped, and discriminated because difference makes us panic.
Our society’s equal but different approach to homosexuality has now reached a boiling point, and the battle for true equality has taken a turn for the worse.
If you haven’t already heard, the Gay Panic is amongst us…more specifically, the Gay Panic Defense.
This is a dangerous precedent that’s already been set in the legal world.
It was in full gear at a trail in Cook County, IL. Joseph Biedeman, 30, had been acquitted of the first-degree murder of his neighbor, Terrance Michael Hauer, 38. Biedeman claimed that Hauer had invited him to his apartment for some drinks. Later on, Biedeman passed out on the coach, and when he woke up, Hauer was supposedly holding a 14-inch sword, and threatening to sexually assault him.
Biedeman somehow managed to get a hold of the weapon, and then preceded to stab Hauer 61 times. The jury acquitted Biedeman, because, in their eyes, it had been self defense.
In what world are 61 stab wounds self defense? No doubt, the taboo of homosexuality stirred the jury’s decision.
We live in a society where the acceptance of homosexuality has for too long been trampled on by the never ending engine of discrimination. The Church frowns on it, because loving another human being, who just so happens to be the same gender, is wrong. Most of our country still defines marriage as an union between man and woman. Even now, in 2010, a person could admit his homosexuality and probably be stoned to death.
The Gay Panic Defense can be compared to a crime of passion. It implies that the act of someone of the same gender making unwanted sexual advances on you is so jarring that you snap. There’s no premeditated plan to murder. There’s not even a full second’s worth of space to think about your actions. You brutally act. You were pushed to your breaking point, and then beyond.
If you wake up and someone (gay or straight) is menacingly pointing a sword at you, it’s your right to put that person out of commission. You might even stab that person once to bring him down. But 60 more times?
We must examine why a sexual advance from the same gender is such a massive shock to the system.
We have had it drilled into us that homosexuals are different than us. They are icky. They are wrong. They don’t have the same rights as us, the dominate heterosexuals who can’t even love each other long enough to fight off a 50 percent divorce rate.
Homophobia continues to be maintained by our religious and governing institutions, and maybe it’s them that should be put on trial for Hauer’s death.
Proposition 8. Homosexuality is a sin.
No wonder sexual advances from the same gender causes someone to murder! If you claim something is evil enough, then others will believe it. I’ve known plenty of guys who feel uncomfortable accidentally brushing hands with another guy for fear of catching gay. A homosexual advance is an attack on our manhood, and everything we hold dear as proud, American, right-with-God heterosexuals. We’ve been conditioned to think that homosexuality is something that ought to be defended against.
That’s certainly what the jury’s decision represented.
Now, of course it is absolutely wrong for anyone to sexually harass another- gay or straight. But is murder how we deal with it?
If it was, then women all over the country would be choosing to stab their “hands-on” bosses, or frisky neighbors 61 times instead of calling the cops. There is an obvious double standard playing out here.
I’m not writing to defend the innocence of those who were murdered. Hauer was accused of attacking Biedeman with a threat of sexual harassment. Obviously, he wasn’t innocent. The problem here is the defense itself.
The Gay Panic Defense is basically a dirty form of self-defense. It’s being used when self-defense itself isn’t strong enough to hold up. It throws out the implication of protecting oneself from bodily harm or harassment, and claims defense from homosexuality.
There’s a trial here in Philadelphia that’s featuring the Gay Panic Defense. On September 27, 2008, male model Ray Armstrong emerged naked from his friend Anthony Williams’ home, and claimed that Williams was dead. Police found him beaten to death inside. Armstrong had been seen parked in his car taking drugs right before he went into the house. But he is claiming that Williams came on to him, causing him to freak out and murder. All of this because self-defense doesn’t hold up too well since narcotics could easily explain Armstrong’s horrendous crime.
If excessive, fatal force is allowed to stop a homosexual advance, then where does it end? An innocent brush of the hand equals a punch in the face? Where is the line if 61 stab wounds are okay?
The Gay Panic Defense often loses more times than it wins, but it still does win. What does this say to homosexuals? We regard your sexual preferences so distasteful, and unnatural, murder is an appropriate defense against your attraction to us?
As long as society continues to deny homosexuals the human right of cementing their love in marriage…as long as the Church continues to condemn them for being “sinful”…a sexual advance will result in a shock to any person that buys into this way of thinking.
Being Homosexual isn’t a crime. Sexual harassment is. Hopefully this distinction will be made in the future.