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Gay Bashing

Michael Smyth

Subject Law
Sociology » Social Problems, Sociology of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

Key-Topics gay, homosexuality, sexualities, violence

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Often subsumed under the contemporary rubric of “hate crime,” “gay bashing” denotes the perpetration of violence aimed at people identified as, or assumed to be, homosexual, including gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals. Although examples of this type of bias-motivated behavior range from acts of symbolic and rhetorical violence to physical assaults and homicide, selection of the victim based on his or her perceived non-normative sexuality is common to gay bashing in all of its manifestations. The targeting of victims based on perceived sexuality may be seen as a function of perpetrators' hatred for individuals thought to be members of a despised sexual minority. Indeed, gay bashing constitutes a form of victimization and intimidation aimed not only at a primary target, but at the entire group to which that individual is thought to belong. Violence against people presumed to be homosexual has been documented for as long as the lives of gay men and lesbians have been documented. Boswell (1980) , for example, documented violence against gay men and lesbians in Western Europe from the beginning of the Christian era to the fourteenth century. In Gay American History , which covers a period of over 400 years, Jack Katz (1976) documented a history of violence directed at individuals because of their sexual orientation, identity, or same-sex behavior. Although ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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