Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rest in Peace, Simmie

So much tragedy,

from the Sun-Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE - The shooting death of a gay teenage boy who was dressed in women's clothing is being investigated as a possible hate crime, while detectives try to determine whether he was targeted because of his sexual orientation.

Simmie Williams Jr., 17, was attacked on the 1000 block of Sistrunk Boulevard by two young men who wore dark clothing and might live in the neighborhood, police said. Williams, who was wearing a dress and was known in the area by his first name or as "Chris" or "Beyonce," was shot about 12:45 a.m. Friday and soon afterward died at Broward General Medical Center, police said.It's unclear what Williams was doing in the area, about four miles from his house, but police are investigating whether he was working as a prostitute, officials said.

Williams' mother said her son was openly gay, but she didn't know what he did when he went out at night, and she didn't know he wore women's clothes.

"I gave him $2 for the bus and he never came back," said Denise King, who lived with her son west of Fort Lauderdale. "He was a quiet person, kept to himself. He had a lot of friends. He wasn't a troubled child. He was a happy person."

At the same time, being black, gay and dressing in women's clothing made Williams "a minority within a minority within a minority," said Grant Lynn Ford, dean of Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale, a church that ministers to gays, lesbians and their families.

Sometimes people picked on Williams, but he knew how to brush it off, his mother said.

Williams had signed up Wednesday for Job Corps, a federal government program designed to teach students vocational skills. He planned to get his GED and then go to culinary school, his mother said.

"That's what he really wanted to do. That's all he talked about," said King. "He spent the whole day with me yesterday, played with his nephew and cooked dinner."

Equality Florida released a statement

(Ft. Lauderdale) Today, Equality Florida and the coalition Transgender Equality Rights Initiatives (TERI) expressed outrage over the murder of Simmie Williams Jr., a gay 17 year-old who was gunned down this past weekend on a street corner in Broward County. Police are investigating the murder as a possible hate crime based on the words witnesses say were exchanged before the shooting.

“We can be horrified, but we cannot be surprised,” said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida. “Just 10 days ago, 15 year-old Lawrence King was gunned down in California. Nearly a year ago, Ryan Skipper was brutally stabbed and his body dumped on the roadside here in Florida. And a week after Ryan’s murder, 20 year-old Sean Kennedy was killed outside a gay bar in South Carolina. All of these deaths were preventable. We all must have the will to act and compel our schools and our legislature to confront the harassment and violence directed at gay and transgender young people.”

Across the country, studies have shown that perpetrators of hate-crimes are overwhelmingly male, 18 to 24 years-old, and that they often get their start with bullying in schools. With this in mind, Equality Florida has made it their top legislative priority to pass a statewide Safe School bill that would address the epidemic of bullying and violence in Florida schools.

“It is time we demand our government to act and implement policy to decrease the risk factors affecting LGBT youth,” said Michael Emanuel Rajner, co-founder of Transgender Equality Rights Initiatives. “Of the 900 youth in Broward County transitional living facilities, an estimated 25% are LGBT, many have been banished from their homes simply for being LGBT.”

children are dying and for what? for wearing make up? because of their clothes? And this is America...it's fucking disgusting beyond words.
and even Lizzy the Lezzy in a serious departure offers her words of remembrance for Lawrence King

requiescat in pace
may angels lead you in

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