Monthly Archives: November 2011

Another Tragic Loss: Gay Purdue Student Commits Suicide

I’m sad to report that we have lost another young gay man to depression. Matthew Chance was 19 years old and lived in Hudson Lake, Indiana, not far from South Bend. He died on October 31, 2011 in what friends reported to be a suicide.

Matthew Chance May 30, 1992 - October 31, 2011
Matthew Chance
May 30, 1992 - October 31, 2011

I learned about Matt’s death on November 1, when someone found this blog by searching for his name and hometown of New Carlisle, Indiana. (I’ve written about my hometown of New Carlisle, Ohio, and obviously we share a first name, so that article popped up on their search.) A little detective work led me to his obituary.

Following is what little I know about Matt Chance. I had hoped to share more information, but messages to several friends have gone (understandably) unanswered in the immediate wake of his sudden death.

Matt was raised in New Carlisle, Indiana by his maternal grandparents. More from his obituary:

Matthew was a student at Purdue University North Central as a sophomore. He was employed with McDonald’s in Rolling Prairie on the Indiana Toll Road. Matthew graduated from New Prairie High School in 2010 and was a member of the National Honor Society; he achieved the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award; he was active in the New Prairie Theater; and he served as an Altar Server at St. John Kanty Catholic Church for many years.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Matt was an Education Management major. He self-identified as gay on his myspace page and his now-deleted Facebook profile, as well as on several dating sites.

That’s really all I know about Matt. He was one of ours, though, and this sketch of his story seems all too familiar.

[typography size=”10″ size_format=”px”]View LGBT Suicides in the United States in a larger map[/typography]

If someone who knew him finds this page and would like to contribute with a story, special insight, or a photo, please contact me at matt@mattalgren.com. I would love to know more about this man who died far too soon.

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Following Killer’s Conviction, Larry King’s Mother Blames Her Son For His Own Murder

Larry King in happier timesBrandon McInerney’s trial for the murder of Larry (also called Latisha, hereafter just Larry) King is over. In a surprise plea deal this week, the now-17-year-old killer pleaded guilty to second degree and involuntary manslaughter in exchange for the prosecution not retrying the case before a new jury. He will serve 21 years in prison for shooting his gay (possibly trans) classmate in February 2008.

It’s not the outcome I would have liked, but I suppose it’ll have to do. At least this way we won’t have to watch the judge wink at another jury and tell them to go easy on the boy. At least we won’t have to watch another jury decide that shooting a gay (possibly trans) kid twice in the back of the head at point blank range because he’s gay not only isn’t a hate crime, but also isn’t murder. At least it’s over.

Except, not quite.

Those of us who care about LGBT kids are left to clean up the mess, as Republican and religious right figures (as if there’s a difference) blame Larry’s school and the LGBT civil rights movement for his murder.

But the worst, most galling accusation comes from Larry’s own mother. She blames not the school (look deeper than her words), and not the murderer, at least not completely. Here’s a snippet from the LA Times article about McInerney’s plea deal.

The victim’s mother, Dawn King, revealed for the first time Monday that she had contacted school officials four days before the shooting in an effort to solicit their cooperation in toning down her son’s behavior. The boy had been taken from the Kings’ home two months earlier by authorities because of problems at home.

She said she was told that her son had a civil right to explore his sexual identity.

“I knew, gut instinct, that something serious was going to happen,” she said. “They should have contained him, contained his behavior.”

Larry KingOver and over we hear about kids going to their teachers and principals and getting no help. Over and over we hear about their principals telling them that it would stop if they would just stop being so damn faggy or girly or butch or different.

That is, in essence, what Larry’s mother is saying. She couldn’t stop him. The school wouldn’t stop him. So instead of blaming the person who pulled the trigger and put two bullets through the back of her son’s head, she blames her dead son because his identity didn’t match what she wanted.

Over and over our kids tell us that they just want to be themselves and be safe, and we tell them, well, you should be able to have that. Over and over they test the waters and go into hiding, or worse, kill themselves because the adults they look to for guidance say just what Larry’s mother is saying here: If somebody makes fun of you or beats you up or scares you or murders you, it’s your own fault because you won’t stop being queer. It’s a shocking abdication of a parent’s job, but I’d wager it’s something we’ve all heard before, even if it’s only been implied.

What happens next? We keep on telling our stories, letting those around us know that we are their family members, their coworkers, their classmates, and their friends. We keep on telling straight people until everybody knows, until it becomes impossible for straight people to accept the silly notion that we’re monsters to be feared and mistreated. We keep on telling the next generation of trans, bi, lesbian, and gay kids that things will get better because we’re making things get better.

As this year comes to a close, my hope is that someday very soon, Larry’s death and his mother’s accusation will be relics of a past as unimaginable to our descendants as that future is to me today.

Zuccotti Park Security Guard Caught On Tape: ‘Your fly’s open, faggot.’

I’m sitting here with fire in my eyes. You know the feeling? Like you could just explode at any second? Like your heart’s about to leap out of your chest and tap dance across the floor?

Very few things make me feel this way. Oh, I have a temper, and I can be a bit of a dick, but it’s rare for me to feel like this.

Earlier tonight, hours after New York City Mayor and multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg ordered Zuccotti Park raided, journalists arrested, and the Constitution pissed all over, a security guard for Brookfield Properties, which owns the park, …wow this is the longest run on sentence ever. This is what happens when I’m mad.

Anyway, the security guard called comedian (?) Joey Boots a “faggot.” On camera. While trying to look tough before running away when Joey didn’t just stand there and take it.

Here are a couple shots of the bigot rent-a-cop who couldn’t control his bigotry with a camera in his face. (Uppity faggot doesn’t know his place, so he’s going to tell him.) He wouldn’t give his name, you know, because bigot tough guys hate it when people know their names.

Anybody know who he is? Send me an email or comment on the post. I want his name plastered all over the internet so future prospective employers know who they’re getting.

zuccotti-park-security-bigot-front

zuccotti-park-security-bigot-profile

P.S. Who wears sunglasses like that? Bigots, apparently.

(h/t Scott Wooledge, via towleroad)

The Devotion Project’s First Must-See Short Film, ‘More Than Ever’

I stumbled across the most poignant piece of film this afternoon. More Than Ever, directed by Anthony Osso for The Devotion Project, debuted this past summer, but this is the first time those of us in fly-over country have had a chance to see it. The award-winning short film is about New Yorkers Bill Campbell and John Hilton, a couple who have been together for 54 years.

Watch it here in its entirety. (Have a box of tissues handy.)

Stay tuned for more from this wonderful series; word is that the second short film for The Devotion Project is nearly finished, with several more in the works.

Logo by Daniel Pando of Captured Energy (Click for more)