Why do we have the term “gaybashing” as if legitimizing the activity?
Why do the police not adequately investigate gaybashings?
Why do young men from the suburbs think a great night out is to come to the West End, fill their bellies with beer, find the first available gay man, then leap out of their pickup trucks with baseball bats, pool cues and tire irons and, for no particular reason, proceed to beat the living daylights out of him? Is that a fun Saturday night downtown?
Why does the queer community not take to the streets on a regular basis to protest these horrifying bashings?
Why are we not camped out 24/7 on the police chief’s lawn demanding justice?
Why are we not each individually writing to the mayor, our MPs, MLAs, the premier and the prime minister demanding action on our safety?
If Chinese bashing was happening on a regular basis, I’m guessing the Chinese community would be out in force: protesting, talking to their political representatives, demanding an end to such blatant racism.
If there was Muslim bashing in Stanley Park, you can bet your bottom dollar the Muslim community would take action.
When a Neo-Nazi paints a swastika on a Vancouver synagogue, or calls in a bomb threat on Rosh Hashanah, (the most important Jewish holiday of the year), the Canadian Jewish Congress, B’nai Brith and other community organizations are on top of the situation.
Where is the queer community when we are bombarded with violence?
On Oct 9 longtime West End resident, Steven Gian who’s been living with a brain injury since a 1998 assault, died. His attackers were never found. No one was ever charged or convicted of his bashing.
Where was the Vancouver Police Department when Gian was bashed? Why did they not continue investigating his death until they found the attackers?
When Harvey Milk was assassinated in 1978 a candlelight vigil was organized by the gay and lesbian community of San Francisco.
That night, in response to Milk’s assassination, thousands showed up to pay their respects, marching peacefully down Market St, raising candles to the sky. Perhaps in that moment, it was the appropriate response.
For the first time in history, queers had an elected public official standing up not just for us but for seniors, children, women, the homeless, the Chinese community, union workers. Then, by the tiny homophobic mind of a gaybasher, Harvey was murdered, his work put to a stop.
Tom Ammiano, one of Milk’s friends and now a California State Assembly member, said at the time, “Where is your anger? Where is your anger? Where is your anger?”
Thirty years later, gay men and lesbians are still being assaulted in the streets, for no reason other than ignorance and hate. In 1978 Milk’s contemporaries would have imagined 2009 to be a year free of gaybashing. Milk would have fainted at the knowledge that in the 21st century queers are still being bashed.
And so I ask each of you, each of us: Where is your anger? Where is your anger? Where is your anger?