Lawrence King – The Next Matthew Sheppard

This is just simply horrible… An effeminate, gay, 15 year old teen in Oxnard California named Lawrence King was shot in his first period English class and later died in the hospital as the result of his injuries. Apparently, a classmate didn’t like the fact that he was gay.

While some gay teens are able to “pass” the ones who are effeminate just can’t hide who they are. It’s hard enough for them going to school every day and being ridiculed for being the way they are (Lawrence King apparently had been harassed for a while before the shooting), but for them to now have to deal with the prospect of being killed while attending school is just too much.

This case points out a number of things. First, it is urgent that we pass hate crimes legislation that protects gay men, lesbians, transsexuals (and a few straight people who appear gay). Ironically the people who are most vocal in their opposition to gay hate crime legislation are themselves protected by hate crime legislation (for their religious beliefs).

And second, school administrators and teachers need to do a better job of protecting gay youth. The ones who come out in the hostile environment of high school usually don’t have an option, and they’re the most vulnerable to attack. This incident could have been handled while it was still teasing and taunting. If it had Lawrence King would still be alive.

With elections coming up I urge you to vote for candidates who understand that we are all created equal and we all deserve protection from hateful attacks.

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