An anniversary column, Deaf Gay youth and a Passing
- CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE
October 12, 1999
1. Today is the first anniversary of the death of Mathew Shepard, a 5 foot
4, 105-pound 21-year-old Gay man whose fact of existence so terrified two
larger, non-Gay men that they strung him to a barbed wire fence with his
arms outstretched in a Christ-like position and pistol-whipped him until he
sank into a coma caused by the brain damage which would ultimately lead to
the end of his life.
Last Friday, the San Francisco (CA) Examiner ran an opinion column about
this death by Bruce Mirkin titled "Few lessons, no letup in anti-gay venom."
Mr. Mirkin shares the words of others, such as "Homosexuality may very well
be the most dangerous lifestyle in America" -- the words of a member of the
right-wing and anti-Gay Committee on Moral Concerns.
He tells of how being Gay is described as "destructive emotionally,
physically and morally to individuals, families and societies" in a
report from the Family Research Council.
He reports on a Scoutmaster who was fired, not because he was Gay, but
because he used for gun-range target practice a photo of James Dale, the
Eagle Scout who won a discrimination lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of
America. The Scoutmaster was fired, according to Mr. Mirkin, "not because
such hate-filled acts have no place in Scouting, but because the use of any
human image violated National Rifle Association guidelines."
The column -- and the story of prejudice and bigotry in action --
The full column can be read at
2. The October 8 issue of the Washington (DC) Blade tells of " the
first-ever Deaf Youth Rainbow Retreat" in an article titled "Deaf Gay
youth interpret their lives: Participants debate sign language, discuss
homophobia, drop eggs". The article is located at
According to the article, "The youth gathered ... on the morning of
Saturday, Oct. 2, had at least two things in common: their language and
their desire to mingle with other youth within the Gay community."
One of the organizers pointed out that, although " there are resources
for Gay youth, such as [Washington, DC's] Sexual Minority Youth Assistance
League, often there are no interpreters available for those
youth that are deaf or hearing impaired."
On participant, "an 18-year-old student at Gallaudet University, said
one important theme for the retreat was the prevention of youth suicide. He
also noted that there might not have been enough exposure to the larger Gay
community at the retreat, adding "I would not limit the retreat to the deaf
only, but include hearing Gay and Lesbian people. I can learn from the
hearing because they have more exposure to the Gay community."
3. The founder of shelters throughout North America which sheltered
thousands (at least) of homeless youth from the street has passed away.
An AP story in the Oct. 12 San Francisco (CA) Examiner reports that "The
Rev. Bruce Ritter ...is dead at 72," having "suffered from Hodgkin's
disease, cancer of the lymph nodes."
The history of the founder of Covenant House can be read at
According to the Examiner, "[a]t its peak, Covenant House was the
largest private child care agency in the country. It sheltered 2,000
homeless teen-agers a night and took in $92 million a year."
"It operated shelters in six U.S. cities and in Toronto, Canada, four
orphanages in Central America. Ritter was visited by Mother Teresa;
President Reagan hailed him as a hero in his 1984 State of the Union
-- Posted by Called Out moderator