Graphic compiled by Christopher Ikonomou (He/Xe)
*This article is a modern analysis of the themes and content of “To Live And Get Bashed In America” (October 1988), the second installment of our From the Archive series.*
The graphic instances of bashing outlined in “To Live and Get Bashed in America!” is no doubt triggering for some, but the message remains powerful as ever. The story it details describes the narrator as prey fleeing from a hunter, which is a sensation many queer people can relate to. Especially in California, gay bashing seems to be less of a threat than backhanded discrimination and I, at least, feel detached from the physical violence many queer people face in their lives. Walking late at night doesn’t feel dangerous until things do get scary or something happens to a friend. Anti-queer violence always happens to someone else–until it doesn’t.
This article, written in 1988, stated that the past summer saw an all-time high in gay bashing. According to the Human Resources Campaign, 2021 saw at least 50 cases of violence against transgender or gender non-conforming persons since the organization began tracking these crimes in 2013. This year marks the highest number of killings in any previous year, but previous and current records could be misleading because of misgendering on the part of law enforcement. One of the largest problems surrounding queer hate crimes in the Unites States is the scarcity of reports surrounding these hate crimes. However, filing a report for being attacked as a queer person is essentially the same as outing yourself officially. And, in a country with a critically flawed justice system, another major concern surrounds discrimination from law enforcement. It is estimated that four in five LGBTQ hate crimes go unreported.
The majority of the victims of hate crimes this year were Black or Latinx, because today’s so-called “progressive” climate still puts QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) at a higher risk than ever before. The names of 2021’s transgender and gender-nonconforming victims are as follows, and each name is linked to a profile on the victim.
The article written in 1988 expresses the fear and horror of anti-gay violence. Today in 2021, 33 years later, I’m at a loss for words. There is nothing more to be said–we’re all so tired of begging for our lives. The structural changes that must occur to reduce these hate crimes have already been outlined time and time again, but the actual implementation of these strategies feels ages away.
As 2021 comes to an end, LGBTQ hate crimes and hate groups seem to do the opposite. Nonetheless, our community grows stronger each day and bigotry, homophobia, and transphobia will only fuel our rage and motivation. Here’s to the hope that 2022 will serve our community like never before.