Hate crimes come in all different shapes and sizes, but when it comes to anti-gay crimes, there seems to be one common size: young, white and male. In light of the recent attacks in Canada, The Chronicle Herald sat down with criminology professor Michael Boudreau to get inside the mind of a homo-hater.
In addition to being white, male and between the ages of 16-30, most anti-gay perpetrators are looking for power:
They tend to be homophobic or feel threatened by gay men generally. It’s often meant as a way to exert their own power within society. One way to exert that authority is to turn to violence.
And, as we suggested in yesterday’s unnecessarily controversial post, Boudreau claims that homophobic attackers may be attacking their own nebulous sexuality:
It could have been someone who was cruising for sex themselves and are outraged at their own behaviour and then lashed out at that as well. In this case, rather than lashing out at themselves, they’ve lashed out at these two individuals.
Perhaps its this internal rage that led someone to murder Michael Paul Knott and Trevor Charles Brewster?
While these recent crimes may fit the bill on some levels, hate crime writer Douglas Janoff points out that most anti-gay crimes start at a bar. He also mentions, however, that conservative environments, such as Halifax, where Knott and Brewster were murdered, may push men into dangerous situations:
In the Halifax-area murders, “it seems like there could be a clear intent to target vulnerable victims in a place where they may not receive assistance.”
He said Halifax’s conservative nature could force some men into dangerous situations, such as going to dark parks at night, so they don’t expose themselves as gay.
“There may be less opportunity for gay men to express their sexual identity within the broader Nova Scotia society,” Mr. Janoff said. “One place they feel safe to do that is in a very unsafe place.”
Moral of the story: don’t go cruising at night. There are people who want you dead. Or, if you do go cruising at night, tell a friend what you’re doing. Or, at the very least, bring a “crazy homophobe maniac” whistle.