Bashing gays with baseball bats has become an American pastime, especially in Oak Lawn

Posted on 18 May 2010 at 7:41am
S1N1_NotreDame_1803_1Online
“What’s the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?” this cartoon in Notre Dame’s student newspaper asked. Answer: “A baseball bat.” The newspaper later apologized.

We’ll have more on that anti-gay hate crime in Oak Lawn over the weekend in Friday’s Voice, but for now I wanted to share a note I received from William Waybourn, who was a pioneering gay-rights activist in Dallas and now lives in the Washington, D.C. area. Waybourn, who helped start Crossroads Market and served as president of the Dallas Gay Alliance, went on to found the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and lead the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. He now lives on the side of a mountain about an hour west of D.C. and, coincidentally, a mile or so from my parents. Anyhow, Waybourn recalls that this isn’t the first time gay men have been attacked in the Cedar Springs area with baseball bats. Here’s his note:

I don’t recall the exact details, but bashing gays with baseball bats around Cedar Springs and Throckmorton is not new. Nor has there ever been much interested in classifying these crimes as hate crimes.

The first incident I recall was an AIDS educator who got bashed in the parking lot behind (then) Crossroads Market and the food pantry. His assailants were never caught and as far as I recall, the crime was never solved. The kid didn’t die as a direct result of the attack, but he never recovered physically (or mentally). Unknown to anyone at the time, he had AIDS and the bashing complicated his physical health to a great extent. His official cause of death was AIDS. Had he been in the military and wounded, his subsequent “unrelated” death would have qualified him for a hero’s burial, as they are adding names of individuals wounded in the Vietnam War who died later from pneumonia, et al.

It seems that Dallas has a high number of baseball bat cases. Maybe they should quit giving them away at Rangers’ bat nights.

Waybourn isn’t alone in his recollections about baseball bats and gay-bashings in Dallas. Nancy Weinberger, a longtime local crime watch leader, sent out a note last night about this weekend’s incident.

“This is not the first time I have heard of baseball bats being thrown around in Oak Lawn,” Weinberger said in the message to Oak Lawn crime watch members.

The apparent prevalence of baseball bats being used in violent acts against gays may have prompted the student newspaper at Notre Dame University to run a cartoon in January making light of the phenomenon.

The newspaper later apologized for the cartoon, which is shown above.

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