Keyword
in
Collection
Date
to
Download Folder

0 items

Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000
File 013
Citation
MLA
APA
Chicago/Turabian
Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000 - File 013. 2000-07-01. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 16, 2017. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5155/show/5138.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2000-07-01). Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000 - File 013. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5155/show/5138

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000 - File 013, 2000-07-01, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 16, 2017, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5155/show/5138.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

URL
Embed Image
Compound Item Description
Title Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000
Contributor
  • Hennie, Matthew A.
Publisher Window Media
Date July 1, 2000
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Rights In Copyright: This item is protected by copyright. Copyright to this resource is held by the creator or current rights holder, and the resource is provided here for educational purposes. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without permission of the copyright owner. Users assume full responsibility for any infringement of copyright or related rights.
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 013
Transcript 12 NEWS JANUARY 7, 2000 • HOUSTON VOICE Who cries for Jesse?' >- Continued from Page 1 But gay groups refute charges that not condemning the sado-masochistic behavior practiced by some gay adults, as well as some heterosexuals, amounts to condoning sexual assault. "I have two words to completely obliterate that argument: consenting adults," said Cathy Renna, community relations director for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Renna said that GLAAD is overall pleased with the way the national media has responded to criticisms like LaBarbera's, "but although the religious right is trying to say this ts some sort of gay conspiracy, not a single gay organization was involved in shaping this story one way or another. "If there is some kind of pro-gay media conspiracy, can someone explain to me the amount of coverage we saw of Jeffrey Dahmer and Andrew Cunanan that focused obsessively on their sexual orientation and not their crimes?" Renna asked. Headlines frequently described both Dahmer and Cunanan as "gay killers," she noted, placing their sexual orientation before even the acts that put them in the news. Hate crime or sex crime? While Matthew Shepard's death, and the vigils and outcry that followed, drew immediate national media attention, Dirkhising's murder initially drew mostly regional media attention, except for an article in the conservative Washington Times, which described the killing as "the result of homosexual rape and ritual." But supporters of groups that have adopted the cause have slowly brought the case into a national spotlight, mainly through repeated letters to the editor demanding that crimes "committed by homosexuals" get as much attention as those "where homosexuals are victims." Some local newspapers have joined the fight, including the generally conservative Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Ga. "Of course, the Dirkhising murder got little notice outside of Arkansas because it would have been 'politically incorrect,'" a Nov. 15 editorial argued. "There's absolutely no excuse not to report murders that might upset homosexuals. The liberal notion that they occupy the moral high ground in the murder sweepstakes is ludicrous!" Still, national mainstream media outlets that have responded to the criticism, including Time magazine's web-site and the Washington Post, have agreed with gay groups that the Shepard and Dirkhising killings—beyond both being tragic and involving gays—are substantially different, explaining the difference in coverage. Shepard's murder, they argue, is a hate crime, perpetrated by heterosexuals against someone simply because he is homosexual, while Dirkhising's is a sex crime, something that unfortunately happens far too often for every case to make national news. "The most salient difference between the Shepard case and this one ... is that while Shepard's murderers were driven to kill by hate, the boy's rape and death was a sex crime. It was repulsive, unconscionable— and the predictable pastime of perverted criminals," wrote Jonathan Gregg, associate editor of Time magazine's web-site in a commentary posted on-line in response to letters. "It was the kind of depraved act that happens with even more regularity against young females, and, indeed, if the victim had been a 13-year-old girl, the story would probably never have gotten beyond Benton County, much less Arkansas. (There is, of course, a double standard there)," Time argued. "Matthew Shepard died not because of an all-too-common sex crime, but because of prejudice." The tremendous public outcry of fear and anger generated by Shepard's death also fueled the increased news coverage, Washington Post ombudsman R. Shipp wrote in a Nov. 14 editorial. A hate crime like Shepard's murder or that of James Byrd Jr., a black man dragged to death in Texas, is "a special kind of killing" that "tells a segment of American society that its physical safety is at risk," Shipp wrote, quoting previous Post editorials. "Arkansas authorities have not characterized the Dirkhising death as a hate crime," she said. "Matthew Shepard's death sparked public expressions of outrage that themselves became news. That Jesse Dirkhising's death has not done so to date is hardly the fault of the Washington Post." Even smaller regional papers covering the crime, and the law enforcement officials investigating it, have agreed that comparing Shepard and Dirkhising is somewhat of a false parallel. "Journalists in Northwest Arkansas are in a unique position to evaluate the controversy, because the Dirkhising case was and is a high-interest story to our readers," wrote the Northwest Arkansas Morning News in a Nov. 7 editorial titled, "Differences in two cases: death of boy not a hate crime." "There are those who want to believe in some sort of wide-ranging media conspiracy designed to engage sympathy for certain groups of people, including homosexuals, ... [but] like most conspiracy theories, this one crumbles under the weight of the facts," the paper said. "Shepard was killed because he was a homosexual. This is a sex crime, but it is not a hate crime, and I think to compare it to the Shepard case is comparing apples and oranges," Benton County prosecuting attorney Brad Butler told Reuters. Butler said he believes it is "wrong" for groups to use Dirkhising's death to voice their political and religious views. "These crimes are just the acts of two degenerates, sick people," he said. Pedophilia or gay? While national gay organizations have been quick to distance themselves from Dirkhising's murder, the case nevertheless Gay groups say coverage of Jeffrey Dahmer and Andrew Cunanan—murderers who were branded 'gay serial killers' in many press accounts, putting their sexual orientation before their crimes— refutes claims that the media is biased towards gays. raises thorny questions about the dangers of linking homosexuality and pedophilia, as well as when an accused criminal's sexual orientation is relevant to a story. "The reality is that homosexuals are far more likely to be predators than they are to be victims," David Duke, a nationally known "white civil rights activist" wrote in a press release describing Dirkhising as "a child who was literally raped to death by two male homosexuals." By focusing on the sexual nature of the crime, anti-gay groups are trying to play on fears that all homosexuals are pedophiles, GLAAD's Renna said. "I am sure that when they heard about this, it was the first thing they thought of," she said. "But if you look at all of the research, the vast majority of people who commit child sexual abuse are identified as heterosexual men who are usually related to the children they abuse." "In my experience, there certainly can be gay or lesbian people who prey upon children, but the numbers are far, far greater for heterosexuals in that regard," agreed Dr. Barbara Rubin, an Atlanta psychologist with many gay clients who also works as a court psychologist for Fulton County. A case like the Dirkhising murder "opens things up for manipulation on the part of those who want to portray gays and lesbians in an inaccurate light, to suggest that here is an example of what two gay men are out there in the world doing, and the statistics don't bear that out," Rubin said. "The truth is, there can be gay people who commit heinous crimes, but that doesn't mean gay people equal heinous crimes, and that is what is worth talking about," she said. In the Dirkhising case, most media outlets appear to be understanding of that distinction. "A red herring worth addressing at the outset is the failure to distinguish between homosexuality and pedophilia, which creates a false parallel" between the Shepard and Dirkhising murders, Time argued. "A double standard would be in effect had the media ignored a situation where two gay men killed a straight man for being straight. But sex with children is a crime regardless of the sexes involved, and is not synonymous with homosexuality," it said. Initial Associated Press reports on Dirkhising's murder did not describe the two accused killers as gay, although later reports quoted investigators who described the two men as "roommates" and "lovers." When to identify an accused criminal's sexual orientation, like when to identify someone's race, can often prove a difficult issue in news rooms. Most media advocates agree that such identifying characteristics should only be included when they are clearly relevant to the story, like revealing a suspect's race when the person is still at- large and a physical description is necessary. In the Dirkhising case, HRC's Besen said he believes it is appropriate for news reports to note the two men's relationship, so long as it is not portrayed as the reason they allegedly committed the crime. "It is relevant that the media should report they were dating and they were gay, in that their relationship to each other is relevant," he said. "But this is not a 'gay issue' and there shouldn't be a 'gay angle' to it anymore than there is a 'straight angle' when it is a young woman who has been molested. "It has to do with molestation and child abuse, not sexual orientation, and 1 don't really see how a gay angle fits into this story other than to sensationalize it," Besen said. "Nobody looked at the O.J. Simpson case and tried to find the straight angle." Most pedophiles are primarily sexually attracted to children, sometimes of both sexes, with few adult relationships, so you can't necessarily assume that someone who molests a child of the same sex should be labeled "gay," Rubin said. The same holds true for cases of same-sex sexual assault involving adults, she noted. "The issue of rape is really about power and control versus sex or sexual attraction," she said. "From my treatment experience with folks as outpatients and in running a psychiatric hospital, you can't pigeon hole it that way. Rape is way more an issue about rage and control over others as opposed to linking it to sexual orientation."
File Name uhlib_31485329_n1002_012.jpg