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BURNING QUESTION

Trans Woman Shelley Hilliard Died By Fire. Why The Deadly New Trend In Queer-Bashing?

There’s a hot new trend in bashing LGBTs this fall and it involves setting them on fire. There have been at least four such attacks in the last three weeks—the latest being murdered trans woman Shelley Hilliard. But is there any reason behind this hateful trend? One expert thinks so.

First Steven Iorio’s “friends” doused him in rum and set him ablaze while he slept. After that, someone in Scotland tied Stuart Walker to a post and burned him to death. Then three punks gave Burke Burnett third-degree burns by tossing him onto a fire during a party.

Now the latest victim in this ghastly trend is 19-year-old Shelley Hilliard, a Detroit trans woman whose charred corpse was identifiable only by the tattoo of cherries on her upper right arm.

So what’s behind this ultra-cruel fad in burning queers? Phillip M. Miner of The Center for Homicide Research has an idea.

Miner says that despite the combustible association of slurs like “flaming faggots” and the biblical story of God raining fire down upon the wicked sexual cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, that arson fits a larger pattern of passionate overkill committed against LGBT hate victims:

Attacks involving arson are especially brutal. Meticulous care is taken in carrying them out. The violence is heaped on. One mortal wound isn’t enough. Flesh must be pierced, ripped, and penetrated over and over. The bodies razed. These attacks are vicious. I’ve typed and deleted the word “inhuman” several times. “Inhuman” is inaccurate. I mean the exact opposite. These attacks are characteristically human. They are wrought with meaning — the offender wants there to be no doubt that this violence was intentional. In the case of hate crimes, it’s a warning. This is what happens when you are gay. This is what these people get — what they deserve.

So the attackers in each case basically want to make an example of their victims. The media coverage of such murders also serve as a warning to LGBTs around the world and as inspiration for the next copycat psycho.

We’re wondering what can possibly curb such violent symbolic acts or at least rally the community to take a stand against them.

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Nov 11, 2011
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,
  • 19 Comments
    • the crustybastard
      the crustybastard

      Christians have been burning gays and cross-dressers for centuries.

      It’s the Religion of Love.™

      Nov 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JayKay
      JayKay

      Well I would suggest, I don’t know, buying a gun…But most of these radical gay leftists don’t believe in such instruments of violence and destruction, so I guess that’s off the table.

      Nov 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Opheliac
      Opheliac

      I thought more about the fact that there’s been so many murders of black gay people lately, actually. But I suppose it makes sense – the system hates queers, the system hates women, the system hates people of colour. If you’re all of those, watch out, because the system is going to fucking destroy you.

      Nov 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope
      missanthrope

      Burning and dismemberment is not a new thing in crimes against trans women (especially trans women of color). If you take a look at the Trans Day of Remembrance page and the lists there, these extreme forms of destruction are a pretty consistent pattern throughout the last ten years. I don’t think it has anything to do with anything biblical. I think it’s as simple as being the ultimate expression of contempt for a person, dismemberment and burning is a complete physical erasure of a person’s existence.

      But crimes against queers of all stripes are trending upward, or at least people are more willing to report them now to police who used to be hostile in the past.

      Maybe some high-risk communities can emulate what people are doing in Salt Lake City, where there has been a recent spat of hate crimes. They’ve introduced a “pink panthers” type neighborhood patrol in areas near gay bars, community centers, hang-outs and clubs. Though that answer does nothing for when people are not around those areas.

      Nov 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aaron
      Aaron

      I agree with the crustybastard The ever hating xtians, and jaykay I so nothing radical about not wanting to kill, or get shot with your own gun, an often occurance. Also, being thrown into a fire at a party, being burned in your sleep, and if they’re behind you and get the jump on you, a gun is useless, unless they are in front of you, with out bystandards in the way, that gun won’t help you.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 12:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • shannon
      shannon

      PEOPLE…..AND THIS INCLUDES OUR TRANS SISTER AND BROTHERS…..(((((( BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHO YOU HOOK UP WITH!!!!! NEVER…EVER GO MEET A GROUP OF PEOPLE IN A HOUSE….BARN….NOTHING!!!! MEET AT A BAR….INTRODUCES TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW WITH THEIR NUMBER AND TLL THEM YOU HAVE DONE SO)))))

      Nov 12, 2011 at 1:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tackle
      Tackle

      This is very tacky on the part of Daniel Villarreal. So a Trans women gets murdered by being set on fire. And at the top of the head line in small letters, “Burning Question.”
      And in the very first sentence, “hot new trend”. For some reason I can just picture Daniel at his computer giggling when he wrote this. Maybe he’s trying to be edgy and a little funny at the same time.

      But nothing is funny about this. Those tag lines related to this story is disrespectful.
      And a couple of weeks ago there was another story about a gay man being set on fire and a reader named (JayKay) wrote in and said, “Now thats what i call a flaming queen” and the comments were removed. Very hypocritical here. Well Daniel, your comments about this tragedy are no better.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 5:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @JayKay: said…

      “Well I would suggest, I don’t know, buying a gun…But most of these radical gay leftists don’t believe in such instruments of violence and destruction, so I guess that’s off the table.”
      ______________________-

      This is how sick the right has become. The story and the facts of the story are irrelevant because the only thing that is important is being able to attack the other party.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 8:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Henry
      Henry

      @JayKay: I think more than a few gay leftists would gladly put a bullet through the head of an anti-gay, psychopathic cop. But that’s just my guess.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shannon1981
      Shannon1981

      I absolutely believe this to be more religious nutjobbery at work. They seriously believe themselves to be doing “god’s work.” Remember to protect yourselves, people.

      While the haters send this message to us, the equally hateful laws send the message that this is ok.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adam
      Adam

      @Tackle: I second this. Is this supposed to be funny? Because I sure can’t see the humour in it. Oh ha-ha, I and thousands of other trans* people are at severe risk of hate crimes being committed against us just because we exist, that’s hilarious, why not make some stupid puns about it?

      Nov 12, 2011 at 4:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sarah
      sarah

      @JayKay Mabey something like stun gun or tazer may help with protetion it is storys like this that make me so upset

      Nov 12, 2011 at 10:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Wies
      Wies

      i feel safe on the streets now that i allways carry a knife

      Nov 13, 2011 at 7:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tackle
      Tackle

      @Adam: Unfortunately Daniel’s mentality is indicative of too many gay men. I have heard many trans people say and talk about the rampant transphobia they experience from gay men.
      Trans people are still at the point where they are looked down upon and marginalized by the (G) in GLBT community.

      Daniel Villarreal even had insensitivity to color/tent the picture more red as if to symbolize fire. Wow! a way to trivilize a tragic death.
      If this had been some young, gay, pretty (not to say the Shelly Hilliard was not), and I hate to say, white guy. These tag lines or puns would not be there.

      Nov 13, 2011 at 9:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • pariahdog
      pariahdog

      Loudoun County, VA just re-elected for the third time a Supervisor who referred to trans-women as ‘it’. Criticism of his behavior and was met with a double-down defense by the Supervisor and his supporters. On the local blogs, a declaration that he is unfit for public office is met with personal attacks and the inevitable “gun” imagery. “Why do you need special rights [sic safety] when you can carry a Glock like me?” But it’s not personal.

      http://www.loudounprogress.org/?p=2739

      I also liked Fischer’s post-modern definition of a “hate crime” – a zoo breeding endangered penguins.

      Nov 13, 2011 at 9:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • pariahdog
      pariahdog

      Loudoun County, VA just re-elected for the third time a Supervisor who referred to trans-women as ‘it’. Criticism of his behavior was met with a double-down defense by the Supervisor and his supporters. On the local blogs, a declaration that he is unfit for public office is met with personal attacks and the inevitable “gun” imagery. “Why do you need special rights [sic safety] when you can carry a Glock like me?” But it’s not personal.

      http://www.loudounprogress.org/?p=2739

      I also liked Fischer’s post-modern definition of a “hate crime” – a zoo breeding endangered penguins.

      Nov 13, 2011 at 10:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Tackle: said..

      ” Unfortunately Daniel’s mentality is indicative of too many gay men. I have heard many trans people say and talk about the rampant transphobia they experience from gay men.
      Trans people are still at the point where they are looked down upon and marginalized by the (G) in GLBT community.”
      __________________

      The Very day that gay marriage passed in New York the leader of the Transgender organization there released a press release doing nothing but attacking the gay community and gay marriage. I find it interesting that many on here keep saying it’s the gay community that isn’t accepting of transgenders, when, in the moment of the largest civil rights victory in history for gays in the state, the Transgender organization sees it only as an opportunity to attack gays.

      Perhaps you should point some of that accusing finger at yourself.

      Nov 13, 2011 at 10:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adman
      Adman

      You need to think Hip-Hop, masculine thugs as “revolutionaries”, Jamaica, tough guy “that’s gay” culture, and scum of the earth given “pastor” powers in down at the heel communities. You’ll be closer to the truth if you do. Niggas gonna nig, wiggers gonna “raise up” too. You din’t think that evangelicals in Africa and the pope’s sanctioning of this reactionary lifestyle since his cannonization was an accident did you? I guarantee you one thing, the minority cultures aren’t as preoccupied with human rights as they are with reactionary causality on any issue, let alone ours. How did that happen, asks a bunch of dizzy queens on Queerty? Follow the money, dear.

      Nov 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CBRad
      CBRad

      http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2010/11/04/prostitute-arrested-in-omni-hotel-murder/ Sometimes the trans is the murderer arsonist, too. Sick people set fires, whatever the gender or sexuality.

      Nov 14, 2011 at 5:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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