Tulsa Hate

August 3, 2008

On July 17, 2008, the Tulsa World published the following article on
their website: “By Law Not a Hate Crime” http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleID=20080718_11_A1_hGAYCO522310
I originally saw this article in print while working in the reference section, and quickly turned to the computer to see what the community’s feedback would be. However, I noticed something rather peculiar about this article. On the right hand side of the article, there is a continuously updated box for most commented articles. Anyways, I thought it was so weird that David Schulte’s article on this crime would not allow readers to leave comments. I was partially shocked because I wanted to see what people had to say, and also, I was shocked because I felt that I should have something to say. Having experienced quite an awkward two weeks last semester trying to teach my students some “homosexual” literature (if there is even such a thing), I was not surprised that Tulsa would have such hideous hate crimes (home of the race riots of 1921). Hatred abounds everywhere. However, I was just shocked because for all of its faults, Tulsa is a really cool city sometimes, and I know that there is quite a gay population here. Also, Tulsa is home to one of the largest GLBT community centers in this area. So just when I thought it was safe to make a family, I read about what happened to Robert Stotler and his partner. I felt sorry for them, but I also felt scared for myself. Is this going to happen to me? How will I be able to deal with this? I’ve never been one to take kindly to neighbors, but could I even live in a community where everyone hated me because of who I am? (This fear was also (re-)sparked by watching Stephen King’s The Mist, which I watched last night and highly recommend.) Fear. I was once told by my friend Stave that a lot of gays feared what would happen after the Civil Rights Movement because they felt that after African-Americans, the WASP-y right would come after them. Low and behold, it’s happening! This is why sexual orientation should be protected under the constitution and federal laws. The article mentions that few wish to report because of fear of being fired or exposed. And that’s just a shame. I should fear getting fired because I suck at my job not because of who I suck off! My hat is off to Stotler and his partner. They are brave men. I know that I couldn’t live in this part of the country for long, and sad to say, but I am already looking for a way out. I hope they catch these criminals, and they serve time (not that redeems anyone). Until then, I guess we have to hope that America and Americans can be better than they have been in past and they are right now and that one day Americans won’t have to fear and hate others because of their sexual orientation.

posted by Laminated Fragments

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4 Responses to “Tulsa Hate”

  1. Tara Says:

    Thank you for posting this — this is so important. Yet another issue Tulsa has failed to be remotely “progressive” about.

  2. beamish Says:

    we discussed sending this couple a message of support… we should get on that. let’s write letters to the editor about recognizing hate crime. ALSO we could have another picnic out at 11th and peoria. that’s always fun.

  3. Daniel Says:

    Awesome idea re: picnic. I’m there. Also, I work at the Equality Center on Thursdays, where David’s harrassment has obviously been a source of heated discussion. I could quite easily spread the word about a demonstration/picnic, if needed.

  4. Courtney Says:

    This is just one minor point to the larger issue: it’s fascinating to me that Tulsa World wouldn’t allow comments to be made. How are we supposed to learn from each other without a dialogue? During the apartment fire on July 21, some people made outlandish, racist comments about people who live in East Tulsa. Interestingly, though, some people stood up against those racist comments. What would/could happen with an open, internet, comment section about homosexuality in Tulsa? And what does it mean when the newspaper allows racist commentary but forecloses any discussion of sexuality? I just wonder if society-at-large could have a better discussion than the newspaper believes could happen. (I wonder, too, if I’m being completely naive here.)


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