By Richard Ammon
March 28, 2012
Homophobia strikes yet again–and again.
Daniel Zamudio, a 24-year-old gay Chilean man was so severely beaten by alleged neo-Nazi skinheads that he was declared brain-dead as a result of a violent homophobic attack in Santiago . He died this week in the hospital after three weeks in a medically-induced coma to save him. Four of his attackers have been arrested and are in jail.
Sadly, Daniel’s death has come during the same week as several other disturbing homophobic events:
In Dominica, two adult American gay tourists were arrested and humiliated by police for public obscenity while in their cruise ship cabin (but allegedly visible to others who cared or wanted to look). A accused Californian man said Friday that he and his partner were taunted, humiliated and subjected to inhumane treatment by police when they were arrested and jailed after being escorted off their gay ship in the Caribbean this week.
In St Petersburg, Russia a new local law that criminalizes any advocacy of gay rights in the city went into effect last week. The worldwidely protested law in Russia’s second city of St. Petersburg took effect on March 17, 2012. It forbids any public displays of homosexuality that could influence children, including gay Pride festivals or rallies.
Albania’s deputy defense minister and leader of the Royalist Party, Ekrem Spahiu, said this about the upcoming gay pride festival: “My only commentary on this gay parade is that they should be beaten with truncheons.”. Later, the Associated Press reported that Albania’s prime minister has issued a rebuke to Spahiu’s comments, saying they were “unacceptable” and “an excess.”
In the supposedly liberal quarters of Rutgers University, in New Jersey, a seemingly innocent prank contributed to the suicide of his roommate, Tyler Clemente. Despite cleverly massaged legal arguments by the defense attorneys the jury of ordinary non-gay citizens discerned the presence of homophobia in the perpetrator’s causative behavior and found Dharun Ravi guilty on 15 counts of civil rights violations.
The trail of tears goes far beyond these five sad cases. From India to Africa and across enormous swaths of civilization, religion and politics have brainwashed millions of innocent minds with homophobia–as well as racism, sexism, classism, sectarian and ethnic hatred.
These events repeats again the lethal nature of prejudice and violence. If homophobia were a viral infection in such wide-ranging locations it would be declared a pandemic of worldwide proportions and international health organizations would be mobilizing teams of medical specialists, epidemiologists, government advisors, and disease control strategies to contain the outbreak before it infected or killed too many people.
However, since homophobia is considered merely as a ‘social problem’ it is handled locally, slowly or not at all. Quite the contrary. It is a universal weakness in the structure of society that infects the progress of civilization. It is all the more destructive because it is not a foreign antigen that comes from some remote jungle species or polluted water source but arises within the mind of mostly rational people.
Indeed, homophobia is an ‘imagined illness’, a self-inflicted injury that harms oneself and others. It stunts growth and discovery–two hallmarks of an educated populace. By arousing irrational prejudice and hatred it pollute reason and science–and in turn distorts objective truth about the varieties of human sexual behavior.
Homophobia is a huge sad deadly disease.