While so many hate crimes are occurring in our nation, there has been many laws that are being proposed to reduce the amount of discrimination. The 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention recently unveiled stricter policies for anti-bullying such as :
The strategy details multiple goals for reducing suicide, such as integrating suicide prevention into health care policies and changing the way the public talks about suicide and suicide prevention. In addition to veterans, the study identifies particular groups that may face a higher suicide rate, such as individuals with mental and substance abuse disorders, individuals in justice or child welfare settings and LGBT people.
These types of policies attempt to taper down the number of hate crimes, many of which are due to ignorance, intolerance, and lack of understanding. They are especially heinous due to the hatred involved in these crimes. These crimes are wide and large, spanning from suicides that take headlines to murders, with ramifications larger than just the death. A great deal of these crimes have often been ignored because of the beliefs against those targeted, and justice is often not fulfilled. GLAAD recognizes the horrendous act of a hate crime and the justice that it deserves in an article about the murder of Brandon Teena.
In 1993, Brandon Teena was brutally murdered by two young men. The reason is because they found out that the man that they had grown to be friends with was transgender. Born Teena Brandon, he associated his gender as male. In 1993, the concept of being transgender was neither widely known nor widely accepted. The existence of transgender people in the media was also almost non-existent. Even today, with the stories of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people being circulated and people are being exposed to those stories has grown exponentially, the stories of transgender people are still not as prominent in the news and media. The movies “The Brandon Teena Story” and “Boys Don’t Cry” brought this story to the front lines.
The media, however, did not give Brandon Teena his justice for a very long time. When the initial reports came out about the murder, Brandon Teena was referred to as “Teena Brandon” and “her” or “she.” The horrible crime committed against him didn’t recognize the true Brandon Teena and therefore his story was only half told. Hate crimes NEED to be reported accurately in order for people to understand the gravity and the nature of those crimes committed, those crimes that end people’s lives simply because of the way that they live their lives. GLAAD sent letters to the World-Herald, one of the newspapers that refused to acknowledge Brandon Teena as a man, which led to that paper to publish the letters in order for him to get the justice he deserves.
Gender is a socially constructed concept. Gender has no limitations and it is important for people to know this when crimes are committed against the LGBT community, and the stories of transgender people also need to be understood correctly. The hate crime that Brandon Teena was subjected to shouldn’t focus on whether it was committed against a man or woman, but that it was committed against a person who deserved to live.
Moreover, President Obama has been a strong advocate for stricter policies for bullying and hate crimes against the LGBT community. The president has even gone as far to film a “It Gets Better” video which highlights his support for LGBT Americans that are being bullied to prevent the high number of bullying suicides in our country. Check out his video!