>Nine men lure, torture three gay men

>This is probably one of the sickest, most sadistic hate crime story I’ve read in a long time. From the NY Times:

He was told there was a party at a brick house on Osborne Place, a quiet block set on a steep hill in the Bronx. He showed up last Sunday night as instructed, with plenty of cans of malt liquor. What he walked into was not a party at all, but a night of torture — he was sodomized, burned and whipped. All punishment, the police said Friday, for being gay.

There were nine attackers, ranging from 16 to 23 years old and calling themselves the Latin King Goonies, the police said. Before setting upon their 30-year-old victim, they had snatched up two teenage boys whom they beat, the police said — until the boys — one of whom was sodomized with a plunger — admitted to having had sex with the man. The attackers forced the man to strip to his underwear and tied him to a chair, the police said. One of the teenage victims was still there, and the “Goonies” ordered him to attack the man. The teenager hit him in the face and burned him with a cigarette on his nipple and penis as the others jeered and shouted gay slurs, the police said. 

Then the attackers whipped the man with a chain and sodomized him with a small baseball bat. The beatings and robberies went on for hours. They were followed by a remarkably thorough attempt to sanitize the house — including pouring bleach down drains, the police said, as little by little word of the attacks trickled to the police. A crucial clue to the attackers was provided by someone who slipped a note to a police officer outside the crime scene, at 1910 Osborne Place in Morris Heights, near Bronx Community College. 

Seven suspects were arrested on Thursday and Friday, and two were still being sought in a crime that the leader of the City Council called among the worst hate crimes she had ever heard of. “It makes you sick,” said the Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, the city’s highest ranking openly gay official.

This type of repulsive, homophobic plot to gay bash throughout New York City is beyond comprehension.
Further in the story, the reader gets how these men (who appeared to be living as squatters in an empty apartment) were already viewed as trouble by neighbors. More:

The nine suspects — the group seemed not so much part of an established gang as a loose group of friends who adopted a nickname — knew some or all three victims. The idea for the attacks seemed to have been hatched last Saturday, after one member of the group saw the 30-year-old man, who he knew was gay, with a 17-year-old who wanted to join the gang, the police said. Hours later, at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, the group grabbed the 17-year-old, took him to the house and slammed him into a wall, the police said. He was beaten, made to strip naked, slashed with a box cutter, hit on the head with a can of beer and sodomized with the wooden handle of a plunger, the police said. And he was interrogated about the 30-year-old and asked if they had had sex. The teenager said that they had. The gang members set him loose, warning him to keep quiet or they would hurt his friends and family. The teenager walked into a nearby hospital and said he had been jumped by strangers on the street and robbed.

The story gets worse from there…

I’ve thought a lot about homophobic attacks on the GLBT community and how it’s a reflection upon the subliminal hate society as a whole has for GLBTs. It’s become the norm to be taunted/teased/beaten/killed for being gay. It’s become the norm to say “that’s so gay” in response to something stupid or out of line with society’s mores. It’s become the norm for parents to pass their own ambivalence and hatred towards GLBT folks, which plants the seed for possible future homophobes and gay bashers.

In turn, I believe, this sort of normalization of anti-GLBT attitudes and comments leads to this vulnerable community to feeling ostracized, ignored and alone–which can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors in GLBT folks. It’s become the norm to make a spectacle out of publicly humiliating people for our personal amusement–and GLBT folks are often the brunt of our jokes in this homophobic country. The tragic case of Tyler Clementi immediately comes to mind as his room mate and his friend thought recording the late Clementi’s sexual encounter with another man would make for memorable college laughs.

The festering hate in these nine men and boys had–and society’s acceptance and encouragement of hate for the GLBT community–can be attributed to these three men nearly losing their lives. This tolerance of hate towards the GLBT community can be tied to the suicides of the Clementi and many other nameless, faceless GLBT youth who live in a world that doesn’t want–or care–to treat them with respect.