Homophobic Music and Hate Crimes Still a Big Problem

Matthew Shepard

Matthew Shepard

Musical lyrics promoting the killing of people should never be the chorus of any tune. That, however, is not the case for Buju Banton, a reggae singer whose music promotes the violent murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Last week, Equality California (EQCA) asked everyone to join in and continue boycotting Buju’s concerts scheduled to take place in California. As people flock to attend his concerts and finance his homophobic agenda, a huge step backwards in the fight for human rights worldwide, the toll of crimes committed against the LGBT community continues to rise.

Two weeks ago Jack Price, a 49-year-old from Queens, New York, was beaten up simply because he is gay.

Watch Pedro Julio Serrano discuss anti-LGBT crimes on “Al Rojo Vivo,” Spanish-language television news magazine on Univision:

The attack happened only hours before the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act with a 281 to 146 vote. The bill expands the landmark 1969 United States federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s real or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.

Earlier this year, on July 17, the Golden State officially endorsed Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act through resolutions passed by the state legislature. The resolutions sponsored by EQCA and introduced by Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) and Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) received support of both sides of the party lines.

Amaro_JorgeThe Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, honors the memory of the two victims of hate crimes by naming the bill after them: Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., an African-American man who was dragged to death in Jasper, Texas. The Senate is expected to vote and pass the bill in the upcoming days, which will then be sent to President Obama for his signature.

To join the boycott against Buju Batan please visit http://cancelbujubanton.wetpaint.com/, and to help fight homophobia in New York please contact the National Gay and Lesbian Task New York Office.

Jorge Amaro

Jorge Amaro is the strategic communications and Spanish-language media relations for Equality California. Once a Spanish High School teacher, performer, and reporter, Jorge was born in East Los Angeles and earned his Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. He is dedicated to fighting for economic, environmental, and social justice.

Republished with permission from EQCA’s California Ripple Effect.


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