Whenever I look up the news searching for a topic for Wednesday’s post, there is always some kind of article discussing the bashing or killing of a genderqueer individual. Generally, these articles tend to show how well the “gay panic” defense still works in some states or to describe the lack of action on the part of the police or district attorneys to enforce the law to its full extent. Today, instead I found an article from the Los Angeles Times about the prosecution of Brandon McInerney, who at 14 killed his gay and genderqueer classmate, Larry King. What’s different about this article though, is the prosecution is pursuing the shooting as a hate crime.
According to Saillant, both his gender identity and sexuality led to the circumstances surrounding Larry King’s death. Despite this different identity, Saillant gives the reader an impression that King had support from friends and at least one teacher, Dawn Boldrin, who was in the class in which the shooting occurred. Saillant goes on to relate how the testimony has progressed since the trial began, over three years since the shooting took place. Please read her article to see the full details.
Larry King’s death was tragic. No matter what the circumstances, to lose an individual at 15 to violence is unthinkable. To lose anyone to hate is horrific. But knowing the prosecution and police of Oxnard, CA are willing to enforce hate crimes law is heartening. Often people who use violence against LGBT individuals—or any other minority—are not prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I will be following the progress of this trial to see the outcome.
We have all been touched by violence and hate at some point. It can be a scary thing knowing of what people are capable, but necessary. We must always be aware, and we must always stand together and support each other. If you have any stories, you are welcome to share them here. Be safe.
Saillant, Catherine. “Teacher describes teen’s changing gender identity before slaying.” Los Angeles
Times 9 July 2011. Online. <http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/09/local/la-me-gay-shooting-20110709>.