I’ve been so immersed in researching and documenting cases for the LGBT Hate Crimes Project that I haven’t had, or at least, taken much time to come up for air and do my usual blog reading and posting on other topics. But I’m glad I did come up for air this afternoon, or I’d have missed news that an “ex-gay” activist seems to have falsely reported being attacked by “gay activists.” Fortunately, I saw Jim’s post at Box Turtle Bulletin, or I’d still be too wrapped up in documenting hate crimes that did happen to notice one hate crime that didn’t happen.
Here’s what the PFOX activist reported.
The gays became infuriated when our ex-gay volunteers testified about leaving homosexuality. They adamantly refused to accept the ex-gays’ sexual orientation. One gay man went so far as to hit our ex-gay volunteer because he refused to recant his ex-gay testimony. We summoned a police officer, who ejected the gay man off of the fairgrounds. Our ex-gay volunteer decided not to press assault charges against the gay man because he wanted to turn the other check as Jesus had done.
But David at Ex-Gay Watch did some detective work that suggests there’s more fiction than fact in the above report.
Since PFOX stated that the police were “summoned” and that they “ejected the gay man off the fairgrounds” we decided to check with the Arlington County Police Department. Focus on the Family reports through CitizenLink that “Officers kicked the gay activists out of the fair and encouraged the PFOX volunteer to press charges, but he chose not to.” So depending on the account, we have one or more officers responding to a complaint of assault, recommending that the victim file charges, and then ejecting one or more “gay activists” from the fairgrounds. Surely the Arlington PD would know if one or more of their officers participated in such an action. What good would it do to eject them if others in charge were not also made aware so they could make sure they didn’t come back?
We contacted the Arlington PD and ended up speaking with John Lisle of the Media Relations/Legislative Affairs Office. He had no initial knowledge of such an incident. After checking briefly, he again said that no one was aware of such an incident. So we sent a copy of the PFOX statement to him at which time he agreed to check more thoroughly. After over two days of research, there was nothing he could add to his statement; no report exists and no one recalls such an incident.
So what are we left to conclude? PFOX claims to have been attacked verbally and physically on public fairgrounds by one or more unnamed attackers, yet no one we can find who is in a position to know about such an attack has any idea what PFOX is talking about. And though we tried to contact them, PFOX representatives have offered no evidence at all to support their own claims.
Now, I’ll be the first to say that not all LGBT people are angels. We’re as human as anyone else (believe it or not) and are as capable of violence as anyone else. If I thought my child was threatened or endangered, my response might resemble that of a mother bear. And if the Phelps clan showed up at the funeral of someone I loved, I might need some help restraining myself.
But as I sit here finishing up an article about the shooting in a Roanoke, VA, gay bar, that claimed the life of Danny Overstreet, and as I look over the list of completed articles and the much longer list of those waiting to be researched and written up, I find myself feeling a little tired and more than a little angry.
As usual, PFOX and the “ex-gay” crowd either ignore or obfuscate the facts, including the fact that they’re already covered by existing hate crimes laws. Jim points out that the PFOX website claims that hate crimes laws and anti-discrimination laws “legitimize intolerance against former homosexuals.” There’s just one problem with that. every single “ex-gay” organization has its basis in religion. I’ve never found one that doesn’t. In fact, some prominent individuals and organizations in the “ex-gay” movement have lately abandoned the notion of changing sexual orientation in favor of helping individuals resolve the conflict between their same-sex attraction and their religious beliefs; usually in favor of their religious beliefs.
The current hate crimes law already includes religion as well as race, color and national origin. it does not include gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
That means that if the hate crime reported by the PFOX activist (but apparently not recorded by the police) had actually happened, it might have actually been a hate crime, since the “ex-gay” movement is inextricably bound up in religion.
At present, what happened to Paul Broussard isn’t a hate crime.
What happened to Roberto Duncanson isn’t a hate crime.
What happened to Edgar Garzon isn’t a hate crime.
What happened to Bella Evangelista isn’t a hate crime.
What happened to Dwan Prince isn’t a hate crime.
What happened to Michael Sandy isn’t a hate crime.
What happened to Arthur Warren isn’t a hate crime.
That much we already know, just by looking at the current statute. What I don’t understand is why they shouldn’t be considered hate crimes. If PFOX weren’t so busy inventing hate crimes against its members, maybe they could explain why their story would be a hate crime if it actually happened, but the ones above and the one’s I’m slowly researching and documenting shouldn’t be considered or treated as hate crimes.
But that’s probably not as easy as spinning yarns. Or as profitable.