Encyclopedia > Gay-bashing

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Gay-bashing is literally the practice of attacking, usually beating up, a person believed to be homosexual, because of their homosexuality.

Although gay-bashing is often thought of relating to gay men, all Queer groups, including gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people, are targeted by bashing. The term can be modified - dyke-bashing, trans-bashing, Queer-bashing - or simply bashing.

Bashing can include physical assault and battery[?], sexual assault and rape, torture, attempted murder[?], and murder. In some districts, bashing may be treated legally as a hate crime.

Some notable Queer victims of hatred assaults include:

A vivid example of gay-bashing occurred on September 22, 2001. Ronald Gay entered a gay bar in Roanoke, Virginia, opened fire on the patrons, killing Danny Overstreet and injuring six others. Ronald said he was angry over what his name now meant, and deeply upset that three of his sons had changed their surname. He claimed that had been told by God to find and kill homosexuals, describing himself as a "Christian Soldier working for my Lord".

The term "gay-bashing" is often taken to include, in addition to random assaults, attacks on gay people who made sexual overtures to attackers, with the argument being that such a disproportionate response must be occasioned by homophobia on the part of the assaulter. See gay panic defense.

The term is often used in the metaphorical sense of denigrating homosexual people or opposing homosexual practices (see hate speech, homophobia).

Gay-bashing is occasionally committed against heterosexuals who are only perceived to be gay. Two prominent incidents:

  • Actor and comedian Norm MacDonald (of Saturday Night Live) was attacked by two men in New York City. They thought he was homosexual because he was well dressed, with styled hair, and lanky; he was walking through Greenwich Village, an area popular amongst homosexuals. He suffered a concussion.
  • A man was shot to death in an Iowa bar because he was standing quietly in a corner holding a purse. He was perceived as an unwelcome homosexual; in actuality, he was holding the purse for his wife, who was in the restroom.

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