JOURNAL Gays March for Rights “You can stand up to hatred or you can take it lying down,” read the slogan on numerous tee-shirted chests April 2, as thousands of Texans from tiny towns and big cities gathered at Auditorium Shores and marched up South Congress to the Capitol. Stand up they did in a six-block-long show of strength aimed to “Stop the Hate, Stop the Violence” perpetrated against people on the basis of sexual orientation. The state’s Department of Public Safety estimated the crowd at 5,000, but Diane Hardy-Garcia of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas later claimed the crowd count was closer to 7,500. “It’s real important,” said Jim Fielding, who traveled to Austin from New York to march, holding aloft a black and white sign with the photo of his friend, Jose Treveno, and the words: “Strangled “Bludgeoned to Death “Murdered in El Paso “March 3, 1994.” Treveno was among eight gay men in Texas who, in 1994 alone, had lives savagely endedmostly by teenaged perpetrators, according to police records. “In the ’90s, it is gay men and lesbians who are the victims of the new Saturday-night pastime: fag bashing,” said state Representative Glen Maxey. “Each year since 1991, gay men have been murdered by teenage boys who selected their victim solely on the basis of that victim’s sexual orientation.” Killed in 1994, in addition to Treveno, were: Michael Benishek, San Antonio, bludgeoned and throat slit; Larry Leggett, Irving, multiple stab wounds; Leopoldo Quintanilla, Irving, multiple stab wounds with throat and genitals cut; Michael Burzinski, Houston, shot in the head execution style; Larry Allen, Irving, stabbed to death; Ernest Saldano, Austin, kicked and beaten to death; Randall Tubb, Longview, beaten and shot to death. Edward Tubb of Austin stood at the podium on the south steps of the State House and, bare-chested, exhibited a 20inch scar from the blast of a 20-gauge shotgun “fired by a 17-year-old”the same person who is charged with ending his brother Randall’ s life in Longview that same late December night. The killer and his three accomplices, said Edward Tubb, “ended five lives that nighttheir own, as well as my brother’s,” referring to capital murder charges that have been filed against the four suspects, “We want peace respected, but we don’t want to give somebody the right to murder Austin Rep. Glen Maxey us,” said Lujack Tyler of Houston in a stirring call-to-arms speech. “We ask the State of Texas to grant equal rights to every citizen of the state, to pass the hate crime legislation before the next hate crime occurs.” Now pending before the Legislature are H.B. 365 and S.B. 141, which would add two words”sexual orientation”to a Hate Crimes Bill adopted two years ago. That law enhanced penalties for people convicted of committing hate crimes on the basis of “race, color, disability, religion, national origin or ancestry.” Although the families of victims didn’t speak with the polish of professional activists, their message was no less compelling. None elicited more emotion than Bill and Linda Hogan of Lubbock. Bill Hogan said he was taken totally by surprise when his brother, Benny Hogan, committed suicide last summer in San Antonio after his name appeared in the San Antonio Express -News following his arrest in a police sting at a local park. That’s how the Hogans learned that Benny was gay. “He had just gotten the job he had dreamed of all his life,” said Bill Hogan. “The day he died, I promised him that he did not die in vain, that I personally would help others overcome the fear of being a known homosexualand that’s a promise to all of you,” he said, wiping tears from his eyes. “Why should our society be so hostile as to make death preferable to being a known homosexual?” His wife stood at his side, holding high a sign attributing Benny’s death to “hate and intolerance.” The Hogans’ activism on behalf of gay people has paid off in a change of policy at the Express-News, with management barring further printing of names of people arrested in police stings. “I will go anywhere, do anything, to end intolerance against lesbian and gay people,” Hogan said in an earlier interview. Frances “Sissy” Farenthold, a former legislator, gubernatorial candidate and still a progressive Texas political voice, offered advice to marchers who returned to the Capitol to lobby: “Be very explicit,” she said, and tell legislators that gay people want the law “amended to explicitly include those groups that are attacked” on the basis of prejudice. The law, she said, is modeled after one passed in Wisconsin that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993. If the Texas Legislature takes action similar to Wisconsin’s, she said, “then there won’t be any excuses about vague legislation.” The national president of Log Cabin Republicans, Rich Tafel of Washington, D.C., VIC HINTERIANG THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15
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