Vote No On 2 Campaign's Fan Box

Friday, February 27, 2009

Breaking News: Ryan Skipper's Killer Found Guilty

Ryan Skipper's Killer Found Guilty

Today, Joseph Bearden, one of the two accused killers of Ryan Skipper, was found guilty of second-degree murder and robbery.

On March 15, 2007, Ryan Skipper was stabbed 19 times and left to die on a dirt road in Polk County, Florida. His death is a bloody reminder of the anti-gay hatred faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in our state.

Just days ago, a prosecution witness revealed that shortly after the killing, Joseph Bearden, the defendants, said, "He felt he was doing the world a favor by getting rid of one more faggot."

The 19 stab wounds that Ryan Skipper suffered are what the FBI calls 'overkill'. That's when the violence in an assault is beyond what would be necessary for a robbery and more than would even be required to take someone's life. Overkill is a key indicator of a hate crime.

During his closing statement, State Attorney Castillo said the brutality of Ryan's murder indicated, "hatred, contempt and utter disregard for another human being because he was gay."

Hate crimes are directed at groups of people. They are intended to make an entire community afraid simply because of who they are.

But hate crimes are only effective as a two-step dance: first the offender sends fear into people's hearts with a heinous act of violence. Then leaders around them act like nothing more happened than a car theft gone wrong. No action. No public acknowledgment of what has happened. No commitment to ensuring this never happens again. Their silence is as terrifying as the violence itself.

Click here to take action.

Tell Gov Crist and Attorney General McCollum that they must refuse to be the second-step in the cycle of anti-gay hate violence. Tell them to speak out, to turn the tide and declare that gay and transgender people are valued members of our society and that hate violence will not be tolerated against any group.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Orlando Sentinel coverage of the Ryan Skipper Trial

FULL STORY:,0,6216987.story

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Missing Link

Gay and Transgender Issues in the Workplace


It Takes One to Know One

                             By Brian McNaught

     In my youth, if someone called you a "homo" or a "moron," the reply was usually, "It takes one to know one," meaning "You'd have to be a homo to recognize another homo." It was an inane comment but it usually shut them up more effectively than "So is your mother."

     Today, that same phrase – "It takes one to know one" - has a completely different and much richer meaning for me.

     Alan Goldstein was the Jewish boy who lived behind me growing up in Flint, Michigan. He was my best friend for many years. It was through the time I spent with Alan and his family that I initially learned about Jewish celebrations such as Hanukkah, and also about the sting of anti-Semitism which I saw in Alan's face when another Christian eight-year-old in the neighborhood called him a "kike." …


(To finish reading this offering, please go to



Nadine Smith
Executive Director
Equality Florida
PO Box 13184,
St. Petersburg FL 33733 
Ph: 813-870-3735
Fax: 727-499-6925

Visit and become a member today! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Women say mall cops arrested them for kissing

Women say S.A. mall cops arrested them for kissing
Feb. 3, 2009

SAN ANTONIO - Jessica Garcia intends to prove in court that security officers at Rolling Oaks Mall unfairly targeted her and her girlfriend when they were arrested in December on trespassing and other charges.

Garcia said the officers - a Bexar County sheriff's deputy and an employee from a private security company - began harassing them Dec. 26 because her girlfriend gave her a kiss on the cheek while sitting inside the mall on a bench.

Mall officials said the women, both 22, were acting inappropriately and were told to leave because they were not complying with the shopping center's code of conduct.

Danielle Pardue, the mall's marketing director, denies the women's claims of discrimination and said security officers would evict anyone found kissing in the mall, regardless of sexual orientation.

"If our security officer feels that is disruptive to our shoppers and our business, then they have that authority to make that determination," she said. "It's their responsibility to make sure our shopping place is an enjoyable shopping place for everyone to be."

Pardue also stressed that contrary to what the women claim, they weren't arrested because they were kissing, but because they re-entered the mall after being told to leave.

But Garcia feels otherwise.

She was scheduled to appear in court today, but her lawyer had to postpone the date for later this month.

Garcia said the officers intentionally harassed the couple, accusing them of kissing and having "swapped spit."