Hate Crimes

Anti-GLBT hate crimes are those in which victims are chosen because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s right, perception IS everything when it comes to hate crime! Hate crimes are also committed based on religion, disability, race, ethnicity and national origin. (duh, like you didn’t know that)

Hate crimes may include property crimes (like robbery), threats, intimidation or actual acts of physical violence. Hate crimes are unique because they send messages to entire groups – as well as to their families and other supporters – that they are unwelcome and unsafe in particular communities. The sad part is, it is often not indicative of the entire community, but a small subset.
TAKE NOTE: Most anti-GLBT hate crimes are committed by otherwise law-abiding young people who often believe that they have societal permission to engage in anti-gay violence.

What should I do if I become the victim of a Hate Crime?

Victims should immediately report any and all such activities of crimes to their local police department for investigation and prosecution. Hate crimes are harsh, emotional, destructive and sometimes violent crimes. The only way to stop hate crimes is to report them.

If it happened to you, it has probably happened to others in your community. The police work closely with business groups, neighborhood associations and citizen organizations such as the Arizona Hate Crimes Advisory Board Inc. These crimes create a great deal of fear and distrust. If you fail to report these crimes you add to the problem (now is no time to shut up, Mary!)

What type of information will the police need?

* Calmly explain what crime occurred.
* Did this just happen?
* At what location did it occur?
* Can you describe the person who committed the crime?
* Was a vehicle involved?
* Did others witness the crime?
* Why do you think this occurred to you? (if you don’t know it’s OK, don’t make up a reason)
* Did anyone have a weapon?
* Do you want to prosecute?
* Does anyone need medical help?

Safe Sex

Practicing safer sex doesn’t mean eliminating sex from your life. What safer sex does mean is being smart and keeping yourself and your partners as healthy as possible. It means showing love, concern, and respect for partners and for self. Safer sex means enjoying sex to the fullest without transmitting, or acquiring, sexually related infections. There are numerous sexually transmissible diseases (STDs); the consequences of some, like HIV and syphilis, may be deadly. And all STDs can be a pain in the ass… or cooch, so best to just avoid them!

Safer sex means reducing the chance of acquiring or passing along STDs. One way to do this is by using condoms and gloves. OOH Condoms, they come in all sorts of colors and flavors! If you need a demonstration of how to use them, ask a Sister! More to Cum!

Activism

On November 12, 2008, the Grand Canyon Sisters received this email from Ty G.
To all the sisters,
Please do not go to the Prop 102 rallies in drag. We are seriously fighting for our rights in these rallies; this is NOT a time for frivolity and levity. We do not need to compound the hatred via inappropriate dress and message. Save it for Pride.
Thanks, Ty G********

The response sent to him read as follows:
You obviously do not understand the mission and purpose of the Sisters. This is not simply drag, and we too are seriously fighting for our rights. IT IS NOT FRIVOLITY AND LEVITY. Before you make such outrageous demands on organizations that have been formed to serve the community, you should be researching them, speaking with them, and talking to the agencies and individuals that have been helped. Besides that fact, we have members of our community who do perform in drag, and their voice is no less important regardless of their appearance. I don’t believe Dr. King would have called to his supporters and said – we want to be taken seriously, so make sure you speak like the white men, dress like them, and for pity’s sake, go straighten your hair, perhaps some powder to make you look whiter… If you feel that fighting for the rights is only for those who look like everyone else, then you are not fighting for anyone’s rights but your own. In order for any message to be of value, it must come from the community as it is.
May you find it in yourself to be accepting of those in the LGBT world in order to be accepted as you are by the rest of the community.
This highlights some of the very divisiveness that keeps us from sending a clear message and having that message be heard. If we as LGBT people cannot be accepting of one another and understanding that the same message can be sent in more than one way, then how can we expect those we are trying to educate and convince to reform their thinking to accept and understand? As Sisters, we have each taken vows to serve our community in any way we can, and our community does not consist of only one race, one creed, one gender, or one orientation. Our community and its sub communities are amalgamating of diversity. Let us join together as allies to assure that we all have equal rights and equal acceptance there is infinite joy in infinite combinations!

If you know of action items taking place in Arizona, and you would like it posted here, please send it to webmistress@azsisters.org with a subject line of “Activism Info for the web” and we will update this page as often as possible. Please note, activism action items which pertain to the persuasion of voters to adopt one side or another on an issue will not be posted here. The Sisters will be involved in so far as they wish to make sure that all parties can make an informed decision. This includes giving credence to a viewpoint that may not be our own.