The death of Stuart Walker – the shame of Great Britain

24/10/2011 at 9:59 am (Current Affairs, Gay, News)

Reports on the death of Stuart Walker on the streets of Cumnock, Ayreshire, imply that this was because he was gay. Although all avenues must be explored to find the reasons behind this horrific crime, the fact that this young man’s sexuality could be a reason says so much more.

There is still the general belief that, in the 21st Century, Gay Rights are at a never before seen plateau. In the broader scheme of things in the West, this might be true. But let’s not forget that we started 2011 with the sentencing of two young people for the death of Ian Baynham. This was shocking enough, that the casual killing of this man by Ruby Thomas and Joel Alexander ended his life based on his sexuality. The number of hate crimes in this country are disturbing, as reported by, who dug a little deeper following the Ian Baynham case.

And now, as we approach the winter months in the UK, we have another brutal killing. The attack and murder is staggering in its intent. With the description of “horrible injuries” ; being tied to a lamp post and burned being presented to reporters and news agencies, it is thoroughly heartbreaking. It is also terrifying. To think that I, or my friends, could face any kind of violence of that kind – hate crime or not – scares me.

Add to that the type of mentality that leads to this determination to not only end someone’s life, but to do it is such a horrific way, it reflects on the way we’re educating those around us. I don’t think we’re on a par with the living hell that gay people have to face in countries such as Uganda. Nor do we seem to have quite the seething anti-gay belligerence of the US, which has its own shame with the horrible murder of young Matthew Shepard.

While we’re a more “forward thinking” society on paper, it’s clearly too challenging for the ignorant, or those scared by their own sexuality. We say we embrace diversity, but when it comes down to it, we’re not that accepting, not when a human life is ended so tragically. Why did Stuart Walker die? If it is for his sexuality, then that means there is an individual or group that murdered him for something that didn’t even affect them.

That’s the point. Gay, bisexual and transgender people are not a threat to society. We’re not setting out to destroy your family unit. We’re not responsible for our nation’s ills. It’s not just telling people that “gay is bad”, it’s the repeating the idea that being gay is some sort of a threat to society. Think on that. For those parents and educators and leaders, we need you to communicate some facts and deconstruct the misinformation that leads to murder.


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