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Pink Blood

Pink Blood: Homophobic Violence in Canada

Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 290
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    Pink Blood
    Book Description:

    Despite Canada's reputation as a beacon for equality in the international struggle for gay rights, homophobia and homophobic violence remain major problems in the country. Since 1990, hundreds of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people have been assaulted or murdered in Canada, but so far there has been little mention of the phenomenon in Canadian criminology textbooks or other publications.

    Pink Bloodis the first book to analyze homophobic violence on a national scale. Douglas Victor Janoff uses social theory, legal analysis, descriptive case studies, and interviews with victims, activists, and police officers from thirty cities to convey the shattering impact this violence has had on queer Canadians and on the communities they inhabit. Janoff critically examines the concept of homophobia, the 'homosexual panic defence,' the ignorance and brutality of some Canadian police officers, and hate crime legislation and policies that, despite good intentions, are often powerless to counteract this complex and troubling social problem.

    Drawing from a wide range of scholarship—law, criminology, sociology, psychology, philosophy and social work—Pink Bloodis an important addition to the literature on queer life in Canada from a respected researcher and community activist.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7849-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    Back in the 1990s, the Royal Hotel, with its high ceilings and signature portrait of the Queen on the back wall, was wedged between a falafel joint and a video arcade on Vancouver’s Granville Street. By five o’clock on Friday afternoons, the spacious, friendly pub was already starting to fill up with work-weary customers ready to celebrate the end of the week. If you got there at six you might have to line up outside in the rain; by seven, you’d have to squeeze through the jovial crowd and elbow your way to the bar to get a pitcher of...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Methodology and the Media: Reading between the Lines
    (pp. 13-34)

    In this chapter I describe the methodological difficulties inherent in this research: invisibility, underreporting, and conflicting definitions regarding what constitutes homophobic violence. I explain how I came up with more than four hundred cases, and I critically examine the way homophobic violence is reported in the media.

    In the following crime, the closetedness of the victim allowed events to go undetected. In 1998, nineteen-year-old Stewart Myers met his victim – a closeted, fifty-four-year-old man – outside a Water Street bar in St John’s. They bought some beer and proceeded to a wooded area. Myers recalled: ‘I thought he was gay. He was...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Theories of Homophobia: Why Do They Want to Hurt Us?
    (pp. 35-64)

    Why does queer-bashing occur? In my view, it’s a way of keeping us in our place. A broad range of scholarship in criminology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and social work is necessary to explain this complex phenomenon, since people queer-bash in many settings and for many reasons. The theories in this chapter explore the following concepts: the social construction of homosexuality, heterosexual hegemony, masculinity, queer theory, lesbian-bashing, and Patrick Hopkins’s theories of homophobia. I have interspersed these theories with contemporary Canadian examples of homophobic violence.

    Although most people understand the concept of a ‘hate crime,’ many do not realize how difficult...

  8. CHAPTER 3 The Horror of Homophobic Violence
    (pp. 65-104)

    In this chapter I explore the various ways that homophobic violence affects individuals, subgroups, and society as a whole, citing Canadian cases that can only be described as acts of shocking brutality. First, I examine the ‘extreme violence’ thesis, which posits that violence against queers is more intense than ‘regular’ violence. Second, I analyse the following characteristics: the number and sex of the victims; the number and sex of the suspects; drug and alcohol issues; temporal and geographical considerations; and other techniques predators use to ensnare their victims. Finally, I examine the impact of homophobic violence on vulnerable subgroups, including...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Law, Homophobia, and Violence: Legislating against Hate
    (pp. 105-129)

    Sociological and psychological theories do not tell the full story about homophobic violence. The missing link is the way homophobia is reproduced in law. It is bad enough that people form hateful thoughts about homosexuals and proceed to beat on them, but the real horror lies in the legal practices that tend to downplay or excuse this violence. This chapter examines the way homophobia saturates the legal system; the system’s limited ability to address homophobic violence; the movement to develop hate crime legislation; and legal remedies for victims of queer-bashing.

    If a group of punks went on a rampage at...

  10. CHAPTER 5 Homo-cide: Getting Away with It?
    (pp. 130-157)

    In his bookThe Celluloid Closet, Russo includes a ‘necrology’ that lists the ways queer characters in films have met their untimely ends: execution by electric chair, suicide by straight razor, death by poison and falling trees, and murder by bludgeoning, cannibalism, and even a stake through the heart. During the 1980s, Russo would do speaking engagements around the world, ending his presentation with a barrage of short clips. Decades of queer deaths were condensed into a tightly edited and dizzying two-minute collage of stabbings and strangulations. As the lights came up, audience members, laughing nervously, would be visibly shaken.¹...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Homophobia, Violence, and Policing in Canada
    (pp. 158-198)

    An American survey of victims of homophobic violence revealed that 73 per cent never reported the crime to the police.¹ In a similar survey, 67 per cent ‘experienced or perceived the police to be anti-gay; fourteen percent feared abuse from the police; and forty percent feared public disclosure of their sexual orientation.’² In the early 1990s, sixty people – fifty-nine of whom were men – complained to Toronto’s 519 Community Centre about negative police treatment; 5 per cent said they had been threatened by police with a gun.³

    Although these figures are not necessarily representative of Canada’s queer community, they do indicate...

  12. CHAPTER 7 Urban Cowboys and Rural Rednecks: Community Resistance to Homophobic Violence
    (pp. 199-243)

    In 1998, a gay man in Burlington who was called ‘fag’ by a group of ten teenagers ‘picked up a rock and threw it at one of the youths, hitting him squarely in the head.’ Police took the man away in handcuffs, but he was later released. He toldXtrahe wasn’t sorry: ‘We put up with it every day, and the laws are not working for us ... If the police aren’t going to do anything about it, then gay people should take it into their own hands and deal out their own punishments.’¹

    As I demonstrated in the...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 244-254)

    In May 2003, hundreds of people arrived in Montreal for a historic meeting: EGALE’s Rainbow Visions Conference, probably the largest and most diverse gathering of queer activists in Canada. The array of workshops included the following:

    When Violence Happens at Home: Confronting Same-Sex Partner Abuse

    Queer Male Youth and the Sex Trade

    Aboriginal Anti-Homosexualism

    Everybody’s Kinky! Leathersex, Fetishism, Kink, S/M and Healthy Sexuality

    Sex, Drugs and the Circuit

    Barebacking: Challenges to a Harm Reduction Approach to Safer Sex

    Transsexual Cross-Dressing

    The Politics of Polyamory

    You Don’t Look Like a Lesbian: Femmes Speak Out

    Benefits of Meditation for Queers and Their...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 255-318)
  15. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 319-324)
  16. Index
    (pp. 325-332)