Monday, October 11, 2010

Ideas Like Paladino's Lead To Anti-Gay Violence

One day after making homophobic comments in a speech in Brooklyn, Carl Paladino, New York Republican gubernatorial candidate, called gay pride parades "disgusting." This is at a time when New Yorkers are revolted by something truly disgusting that happened in the Bronx building shown at left: a gang's beating and torture of three men suspected of being gay:

There were nine attackers, ranging from 16 to 23 years old and calling themselves the Latin King Goonies, the police said. Before setting upon their 30-year-old victim, they had snatched up two teenage boys whom they beat, the police said — until the boys — one of whom was sodomized with a plunger — admitted to having had sex with the man.

The attackers forced the man to strip to his underwear and tied him to a chair, the police said. One of the teenage victims was still there, and the “Goonies” ordered him to attack the man. The teenager hit him in the face and burned him with a cigarette on his nipple and penis as the others jeered and shouted gay slurs, the police said. Then the attackers whipped the man with a chain and sodomized him with a small baseball bat.

...The assaults are the latest in a string of recent episodes of bullying and attacks against gays. A Rutgers University student jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge last month, prosecutors said, after his roommate had secretly set up a webcam in their room and streamed over the Internet his sexual encounter with another man. Two men were accused of robbing and beating a man in the Stonewall Inn, a landmark gay bar in Greenwich Village, last weekend while shouting slurs.

Some might contend that Paladino's comments, in view of these anti-gay crimes, were merely "insensitive." Some might point out the fact that he disavowed "wanting to hurt gay people in any way." Sorry, but that's too easy. There's a direct line between ideas like Paladino's and anti-gay violence. Paladino stated that gays try to "brainwash" children and lead less valid and successful lives, and that their assertion of pride is "disgusting." Instead, one should, as Paladino stated, "get married and raise a family" (something, actually, that gays should be able to do legally). Paladino, the role model, had children with his wife and a daughter with his mistress. That's real family values!

Given enough currency, Paladino's homophobic ideas seep down to those who are ready to use plungers, cigarettes, chains and bats against gays. Does Paladino have the right to express these disgusting ideas? Absolutely. Is Paladino, in expressing these ideas, fit to govern? Absolutely not.

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