To my esteemed legislators:
When I was in college in August of 1989, I was raped. My rapist picked me out in a gay bar, followed me home, and came back to next night to attack me in my home. He did this because I am a lesbian, and he felt he was “teaching me a lesson” — his words during the attack.
As a result of this rape, I became pregnant and then had a miscarriage. Since then I have gone on with my life, but ten years later, I can’t say it hasn’t affected me, although I am a very strong young woman. I think about that attack every day when I unlock my car at night, and when I’m home alone.
In the course of that ten years I have had close friends suffer the effects of anti-gay violence, and have seen brutal anti-gay attacks that were well publicized both here in Indianapolis, and in Muncie, where I went to college.
I am strongly convinced that hate crimes laws can make a difference in curbing anti-gay crime, and in sending a message to society that targeting gay and lesbian people is not acceptable.
I’ve phoned or written you every year to express my support for Hate Crimes Legislation because I believe that it would make a difference for all minority groups. But I cannot support House Bill 1011.
To pass a hate crimes law that excludes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, some of the prime targets of hate violence, would be to fly directly in the face of the purpose of such a law, to make a mockery of it.
It would suggest, even invite, the idea that hate crimes are okay as long as they are directed against the “appropriate” targets — gay targets.
You have to excuse me when I say with vehemence that I no longer want to be a target, and I don’t want to be the shield that other minority groups hide behind.
If you truly believe that hate crime, any hate crime, is morally wrong, then you will not pass a law that puts forth the idea of the law while offending the spirit of it.