Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Black Gay Teenager Brutally Murdered While Wearing A Dress


A seventeen year old black gay teenager Simmie Williams Jr was brutally murdered in Fort Lauderdale Florida on February 23nd 2008 at 12:45 am. Williams was minding his own business walking down the street and was gunned down. Williams was shot to death while wearing a dress. Williams mother knew her son was gay and loved her son. Williams was planning to obtain his GED and apply to culinary school.

This is such a tragic and disgusting act of violence against a young gay person. Where is the outrage? There have been rumours that Williams may have been a male prostitute. Witnesses say they heard Williams in a heated argument with two men and homophobic slurs were hurled at him. However, there is absolutely no concrete evidence to prove Williams was a prostitute.

The LGBT Democratic Caucus plan a vigil and rally today at 4:30pm at 1000 Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale to call attention to violence against gays and lesbians in Florida. Williams death underscores the dangers that black gay teens encounter in a world that is heterosexist, homophobic, racist, and also against people that don’t conform to society’s rigid gender roles. Black gay teens encounter a quandary due to their age, race, and sexual orientation that heterosexual teenagers do not. Straight teens can meet at school, at the local library, at the mall, in the public sphere. Black gay youth also encounter homophobia from heterosexual blacks and racism from a hostile mainstream white gay community. Where do gay black teens turn when the gay community rejects them?

Since homophobia and racism is so entrenched in North America black gay teens encounter more barriers that haven’t broken down fast enough. Black gay teens often have a difficult time negotiating between the public and private sphere. High schools across the United States have developed gay and straight alliances to help alleviate this dilemma.

However the quandary is some homophobic people utilize religion as a weapon. Gays and lesbians have to fight in court against heterosexist organizations in order to have safe spaces available for gay teens. Gay and straight alliances are imperative because most gay social spaces in North America are reserved for adults. The gay bars, clubs, and bathhouses in America bar anyone under the age of consent. Gay teens don’t have access to the gay epicenter.

Williams death highlights another issue did he have access to counseling or social network programs? Some cities and towns in North America do not have gay and lesbian youth centers or programs for gay youth. Fort Lauderdale is considered a gay tourist city. However, were specific programs available for black gay youth? The question remains where do gay teens turn to when when they may feel isolated, alienated, confused, depressed, or seeking attention and want to make friends?

The internet is a new tool on the information superhighway for gay teens to connect with each other. However, the internet can also be a dangerous place for teenagers since sadistic pedophiles surf the net looking for impressionable youth . Transgendered youth encounter even more barriers including transphobia from the gay community and heterosexual society.

One argument is that Williams could of been more cautious walking around in public in a dress. However, Williams was only seventeen years old and unlike heterosexual teenagers gay teens encounter the crushing force of homophobia from a hostile society. Another point to consider is perhaps Williams was comfortable enough with himself that he had the courage to wear a dress in the public sphere. Also, the United States is a democracy and people should have the freedom to dress anyway they want without judgment, prejudice, or the threat of potential violence.


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