Respect For All News RoundupFriday 10, April 2009
By Brittney Shepherd, Staff Producer | Latest News
News from around the world that directly connects to the issues GroundSpark works on in our Respect for All Project!
An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hung himself Monday after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. This is at least the fourth suicide of a middle-school aged child linked to bullying this year.
GLSEN Director Eliza Byard responded to the tragedy saying, “From their earliest years on the school playground, students learn to use anti-LGBT language as the ultimate weapon to degrade their peers. In many cases, schools and teachers either ignore the behavior or don’t know how to intervene.”
Attacks against transgender people could be prosecuted as hate crimes under a bill approved Wednesday by Washington’s Legislature.
At present, the hate-crime definition of sexual orientation covers gay, straight or bisexual people. The bill approved Wednesday adds “gender expression or identity” to that definition, making the law apply to attacks on transgender people.
Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, said the state has a duty to defend people who are targeted solely because of who they are.
“If we do not defend the rights of those individuals, we defend the rights of no one,” said Hurst, a former police officer.
Vermont’s House and Senate voted Tuesday to override the governor’s veto of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. The action makes Vermont the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriages. The others are Massachusetts, Connecticut and, as of last week, Iowa.
“This historic vote in the Vermont Legislature reminds us of the incredible progress being made toward equality,” said Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign president.