On October 8th, 2010 nine men were charged with torturing three men in a New York Bronx basement. The reason; behind this horrific act were that the three men were accused of being gay. Similar hate crimes are repeated hundreds of times in other cities across the United States. Police report an increase in hate crimes committed against gays in the past three years. If this unfortunate situation were not enough, it is estimated that there are probably thousands of unreported cases. Self defense has become a primary concern for many in the gay community.
As gay's struggle for the same rights afforded to other Americans, their plight is broadcasted to millions of households in what is supposed to be the home of the brave and free. The problem is that fifty percent of Americans opposes certain gay rights. Unfortunately, a small but growing segment of that population is willing to use violence to express their displeasure. As gay's gain more rights; especially in the area of gay marriage, it is estimated that the level of violence perpetrated by those who oppose gay rights will increase.
One of the primary reasons inciting gay hate crimes is the perception that gays are cowards. Some think they are incapable of defending themselves and thus are easy prey? This misconception has existed for many years and is the catalyst for refusing military service to gays in the past. I recently overheard a conversation about self defense at a restaurant, when one man claimed. "There is not a gay man anywhere in the world that could defeat him in a fight."
This notion that gay people have a disadvantage in an altercation is not uncommon among heterosexual men. Gay women are also not immune to hate crime violence. On February 3, 2011, a gay woman claimed she was beaten by twelve men and women outside a bar. She told reporters she only fought back in self defense. When police were summoned to the scene, they only arrested the gay woman. Here, lies a dilemma for gay people. Some law enforcement personnel are biased when it comes to assaults on gays. They fail to act or are hesitant to action unless serious injuries are inflicted on the victims.
In many of the assaults on gays the victim fights back. Recently, a transgender woman was attacked at a Maryland McDonalds by two females. The entire incident was captured on video and posted on YouTube. Millions of viewers watched the videos of the two females beating and dragging the transgender women all over the McDonalds floor. In self defense, the victim fought back but was overpowered by her assailants and was viciously beaten. The two female attackers were arrested and later charged with a hate crime. Although hate crime charges carry some serious jail time, I am sure that the victims would prefer to avoid this incident or to successfully resist such attacks.
Because of high profile hate crimes many gays are carrying non lethal self defense weapons. The benefits of owning such weapons are apparent when viewing the YouTube video of the assault on the transgender female. It becomes clear that if she had at her disposable a simple canister of pepper spray the results of the altercation could have been quite different. If she had used a stun gun on her assailants the millions of viewers on YouTube, would have rejoiced to see two bullies, get what they deserve. Many gay people are refusing to be punching bags for intolerant bigots. They realize that they have the right to walk the streets without fear, and they are taking steps to minimize self-defense threats.