A Crowd of Over a Thousand Shouts Insults and Jeers as Gay Men Are Publicly Beaten in Indonesia

More than a thousand people crowded the courtyard of a mosque in Indonesia’s Aceh province on Tuesday, jeering and shouting insults as two young men, 20 and 23, were publicly flogged over 80 times for having consensual gay sex.

Aceh is the only province in Indonesia to practice Shariah law; this is the first public caning for the crime of homosexuality there.

Five robed and hooded figures doled out the punishment as the young men winced and cried out in pain. Many spectators took photos and videos on their mobile devices.

The young men were sentenced to 85 lashings last week (100 is the maximum); they were arrested in March. Authorities (vigilantes) had suspected them of being gay, then raided a hotel room they rented and found them having sex.

This public flogging had a significantly higher turnout than usual, because people wanted to witness the first-ever public caning for gay sex.

Sarojini Mutia Irfan, a female student, weighed in on the punishment:

"What they have done is like a virus that can harm people's morale. This kind of public punishment is an attempt to stop the spread of the virus to other communities in Aceh.”

A total of 15 people were punished at the flogging, though the others received fewer lashings for crimes like showing affection outside of wedlock and selling alcohol. Lashings are also commonly served to women who wear tight clothes and people who don’t pray.

Homosexuality isn’t technically illegal in Indonesia outside of Aceh, yet the LGBTQ+ community has nevertheless felt violent discrimination throughout the country with the world’s largest Muslim population.

A banner was raised in Aceh’s capital, Banda Aceh, demanding that Shariah law upheld at whatever cost necessary, courtesy of the The Islamic Defenders Front.

A case before the country’s highest court is pushing to make gay sex and all sex out of wedlock illegal throughout Indonesia.

On Monday, 141 men were arrested in a raid on a gay sauna in Indonesia’s capital.

Human Rights Watch has publicly called for Indonesia’s President President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to denounced the “medieval” torture and human rights violations.

h/t: The Telegraph

h/t: Pink News

Heather Barron Arrested, Charged With Torturing and Murdering Anthony Avalos

The mother of Anthony Avalos was arrested today and charged with murdering the 10-year-old boy who came out as gay weeks before his violent death.

Heather Barron, 28, appeared in court today, but her arraignment has been postponed to Monday. She is being charged with murder, child abuse resulting in death and torture, says a spokesman with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Earlier this week, Barron’s boyfriend Kareem Leiva, 32, was arrested and charged with murder, torture and assault on a child causing death, according the D.A.’s office. Leiva is being medically treated for a laceration to the neck, and will be arraigned when he is medically cleared.

If convicted on all charges, Barron faces 22 years to life in prison; Leiva faces 32 years to life.

Weeks after telling people around him he “liked boys,” the 10-year-old boy was found unresponsive in his home covered in cigarette burns with severe head trauma. He died June 21.

According to Department of Children and Family Services Director Bobby Cagle, Anthony showed signs of being severely beaten and malnourished.

On Tuesday, The L.A. County Board of Supervisors called for a comprehensive review of Anthony’s case history.

Clearly, law enforcement and child welfare services failed Anthony Avalos.

h/t: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-anthony-avalos-arrest-20180629-story.html

For more on this case: http://instinctmagazine.com/post/10-year-old-boy-anthony-avalos-came-out-weeks-brutal-torture-and-death


Kareem Leiva Arrested, Charged With Murder of Anthony Avalos

On Wednesday, an arrest was made in the brutal killing of 10-year-old Anthony Avalos, a boy who had recently come out, saying he “liked boys” mere weeks before he was found covered in cigarette burns with severe head injuries. He died last Thursday.

32-year-old Kareem Leiva is in the custody of Southern California police, and he has been charged with murder. Leiva is reportedly a member of the violent gang MS-13, which has a branch in El Salvador that murders members if they are outed as gay.

Anthony’s uncle David Barron told The Los Angeles Times that Leiva was outspokenly homophobic, saying he was “uncomfortable just being around” gay men.

According to police, homophobia hasn’t yet been discussed as a motive in Avalos’ death.

Leiva is being held on a $2 million bail.

According to NBC News, Anthony told authorities in private interviews that he had been “locked up, beaten and not fed,” consistent information with the over 16 calls Child Protective Services had received about the boy and his siblings.

Still, Anthony remained in his mother’s care.

Following the arrest of Leiva, eight other children have been removed from the home.

"Nobody did anything. I don’t know why they thought that was OK for them to go back with their mother," said Karla Avalos, Anthony’s aunt. “What is wrong with the system?"

The boy was found unresponsive in his Lancaster home last week when his mother Heather Barron called police saying he had suffered a “fall.”

DCFS director Bobby Cagle told NBC News it was "premature" to describe Avalos's torture and death as a failure of the child welfare system. 

h/t: https://www.advocate.com/crime/2018/6/28/ms-13-gang-member-arrested-murder-10-year-old-gay-kid

h/t: https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/man-charged-killing-boy-10-who-reportedly-came-out-gay-n887221

10-Year-Old Boy Anthony Avalos Came Out Weeks Before Brutal Torture and Death

On June 20, 10-year-old Anthony Avalos was found unresponsive at his family’s home. He had suffered severe head injuries and cigarette burns covered his body. He died on the Thursday 21st.

On Sunday, The Los Angeles Times reported that at least 16 calls had been made to LA. County’s child abuse hotline and to local police before the boy’s death:

“Callers alleged that he or his six siblings had been denied food and water, beaten, sexually abused, dangled upside-down from a staircase, forced to crouch for hours, locked in small spaces with no access to the bathroom, and forced to eat from the trash.”

The L.A. Times reports just weeks before his death, Anthony came out as gay, saying he “liked boys.”

Anthony’s aunt Maria Barron repeatedly warned authorities about Anthony’s mother Heather Barron and her boyfriend Kareem Leiva. Leiva was convicted of domestic abuse in 2010.

Of course it’s impossible to not mention the parallels with the 2013 death of Gabriel Fernandez, the 8-year-old boy who was brutally tortured and killed by his mother and her boyfriend in Palmdale. Earlier this month, a judge sentenced Gabriel’s mother to life in prison; her boyfriend was sentenced to death.

Welfare officials had been in contact with Gabriel’s family, and saw signs of abuse. Four social workers are facing criminal charges in that case.

On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors ordered authorities in charge of child protection to examine the case of Anthony Avalos.

“This was an innocent child who suffered unspeakable abuse,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger at the Board’s weekly meeting. She says the boy was murdered.

“You had teachers. You had family members. You had law enforcement come in contact,” Barger said. And yet Anthony is at the morgue. There is no question that we have to do better.”

h/t: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-anthony-avalos-response-20180626-story.html

Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles Concert Evacuated, Cancelled Due to Bomb Threat

About 600 people were evacuated from the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale, California on Saturday afternoon due to a bomb threat.

Will & Grace star Leslie Jordan had just walked onto the stage to as a special guest to open the 2 p.m. event when police announced the threat and evacuated the premises, Gay Men’s Chorus executive director Jonathan Weedman told the Los Angeles Times. Adjacent street Brand Boulevard, between Wilson and California avenues, was shut down out of caution.

Police swept the theater and had it cleared by 4:30. The chorus planned to go forward with their 8 p.m. evening show and another 2 p.m. show on Sunday.

Weedman told the Times that this is the first time ever that a GayMen’s Chorus event had to be halted because of a bomb threat. This is also a first for the Alex, which opened in 1925.

Weedman noted the current sociopolitical climate in our nation:

“This is a difficult time for the LGBTQ community, and we will not be deterred,” he said to the Times. “The show must go on, and our message [of inclusiveness] will continue.”

h/t: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-concert-cancelled-20180623-story.html

Two Separate Violent Beatings Have SF/Oakland Police Searching For Clues

Two men in the San Francisco area were separately attacked on the same night. The violent beatings have left police in both Oakland and San Francisco searching for answers.

According to the local ABC affiliate, the beatings of two Bay Area men have police in Oakland and San Francisco baffled as they search for motives.

Scott Long, a human rights activist on LGBTQ issues in Oakland, was struck from behind with what he thinks was a tire iron on June 9, near the corner of 35th Avenue and Kansas Street in Oakland.

"I suddenly felt this huge blow right upside my head over my ear," says Long. His injuries were so severe he had to have surgery to reconstruct his jaw and cheekbone.

Describing his assailant as “very thin white male, shorter than he,” Long recalls being struck at least four times.

Long has no clue as to why he was attacked. Oakland Police continue to followup on the investigation.

Tim Tait of San Francisco was stunned to be attacked in San Francisco in the year 2018.

"San Francisco, 2018 - there is so much diversity and so much acceptance and this is still happening," said Tait.

He was targeted because he's a drag queen who goes by the name “Ginger Snap.” 

Tait left the Eagle Bar at South of Market at around 10 o'clock, also on June 9. After making a left on Bernice Street to go home, Tait felt a blow to his head.

"Got about one-quarter of the way down the block when I felt a bang to the head and started to get attacked," says Tait. During the beating Tait was punched, kicked and dragged.

Officer Joseph Tomlinson with the San Francisco Police Department says surveillance camera video has been found and is being reviewed for any details that may help identify the attacker.

San Francisco Police are treating the attack as a hate crime.

With Pride Weekend beginning tomorrow, Robert Rueca of the San Francisco Police Department is recommending that people travel in groups.

"If you have the ability to move with a group, absolutely do so," said Rueca.

Watch the report from ABC 7 below.



These Three Gay Mexican Men Were Found Dead After Being Taken From a Nightclub

This weekend three men who were well-known LGBTQ+ rights activists were murdered in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Rubén Estrada, Roberto Vega, and Carlos Uriel López were at a local nightclub when they were approached by a group of men who demanded money from them. When the three refused, the men returned and forced them to leave the club and threw them into a van.

The bodies of the men were found hours later on the dirt road Zacapalco-Rancho Viejo with signs that they had been shot in the head. There whereabouts was reported by Lo Real de Guerrero, but be warned GRAPHIC IMAGES are found in this write-up.

Estrada, who was 35, was an educator, the main organizer for Taxco’s annual Pride march and gay pageant in the state of Guerrero. Vega and Lopez were activists and a couple.

Lol Kin Castañeda, a lesbian activist who is a member of the Mexico City Constituent Assembly tweeted to Héctor Astudillo, Governor of Guerrero:

Taxco, Guerrero assassinated my fellow activists LGBTTTI Rubén Estrada, Roberto Vega and Carlos Uriel López. My condolences to your family and friends. The loss is for a society that demands equality, freedom and end to violence. We demand Justice @HectorAstudillo

There is no indication if this was a hate crime. Orlando Pastor, coordinator of the LGBT march in Guerrero, shared sentiments of the groups slaying with Desastre MX, a Spanish media outlet:

It was believed that this was a homophobic issue, but now it is said that it was because of organized crime. There have been so many cases incidents of organized crime.

In Guerrero there is a situation: Society is very involved in organized crime and sometimes people with certain sexual orientation are murdered so we cannot say if it is a death due to homophobia or not.

Here in Guerrero there is special prosecution for homophobic crimes since 2013. But the cases open and they go unpunished, many of them to date…that is why we demand from the authorities of Guerrero that these cases be escalated. Enough uncertainty, enough murders, and not just the LGBT community, but the entire population.

h/t: Desastre MX


City of San Pedro Raises Rainbow Flag For Victim of Harrassment

In a sign of solidarity and support, the community of San Pedro, Los Angeles flew a rainbow flag for Ryan Gierach, a gay Air Force veteran who has recently been harassed in his neighborhood.

Gierach moved into his San Pedro apartment two years ago, and says the level of harassment he’s received has escalated ever since.

Gierach says his neighbors have posted signs harassing him, calling him “pedophile” among other names. They’ve even thrown dirty diapers at him. The abuse has been caught on camera.

“[They] looked up at me and began calling me gay epithets and a child molester,” Gierach says.

LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino led the flag-raising ceremony at Welcome Park.

“We are a town, we are a city that’s inclusive, that regardless of who you love, how you love, how you pray, what you look like, or how you live, that we are welcoming to everyone here in San Pedro,” Buscaino said.

Gierach hopes that the abuse will stop after Saturday’s ceremony and the public show of support from his San Pedro community.

“This is not about me," Gierach told CBS LA. "This happens every day in every place in this nation.”

A rainbow flag was also raised at the LAPD’s Harbor division on Saturday.

Gierach is formerly the editor of WeHo News, which he launched in 2005. He sold the url a few years back amid financial and addiction struggles he was very public with. He recently told KTLA he was discharged from the Air Force in 1979 for his sexuality. 

h/t: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2018/06/16/san-pedro-raises-lgbtq-rainbow-flag-in-show-of-support-for-hate-crime-victim/

h/t: https://www.wehoville.com/2018/06/07/former-weho-news-publisher-ryan-gierach-alleges-abuse-san-pedro-neighbors-gay/

h/t: https://www.advocate.com/crime/2018/6/07/gay-veteran-alleges-homophobic-abuse-neighbors

Gay Couple Brutally Attacked In Russia Before World Cup

Just prior to the first match of this year’s World Cup in St. Petersburg, a gay couple were brutally attacked.

A Frenchman identified only as O. Davrius and his partner, who hasn’t been named, were physically assaulted and robbed of their money and cellphones. Davrius suffered a fractured jaw, an open head injury and possible brain damage.

The opening match in the 2018 World Cup was between two anti-LGBTQ+ nations: Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Davrius and his partner were reportedly targeted and attacked after they caught a taxi.

Perhaps you know this already, but FIFA is the worst. Just the absolute worst. Driven solely by the desire for profit, they’ve ignored the civil rights and safety of fans, and even players, for decades. They’ve received a great deal of criticism for the decision to hold this year’s games in Russia, especially in light of the incarcerations and executions in Chechnya.

Organizations for LGBTQ+ soccer fans have been receiving threats for months leading up to the World Cup. One such group, Pride in Football, received messages saying LGBTQ+ soccer fans would be hunted down and killed.

Russia’s government is openly homophobic. Anti-LGBTQ+ crimes in the nation have risen sharply since 2013, when the “gay propaganda” law came into play. This law bans any positive mention of LGBTQ+ people or rights in any place accessible to minors.

Nevertheless, in the weeks leading up to the opening ceremonies, this year’s World Cup organizing committee told LGBTQ+ fans that no harm would come to them at this year’s series.

In four years, FIFA is holding the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is flat-out illegal.

h/t: si.com

Prison Staff Sued By Family of Man Murdered By Homophobic Cellmate

In July 2017, gay inmate Rodrigo Montez Burks was murdered by his cellmate Deshawn Madden at Alger Correctional Facility in Muskegon County, Michigan. Last month, Madden was convicted of first-degree murder. Now, Burks’ family is suing the Michigan Department of Corrections on the grounds that authorities could have prevented the "homophobic" slaying.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Burks’ mother Dequita Burks, alleges that corrections officers knew Madden was violently homophobic and denied to separate the men despite repeated pleas from both.

The suit claims Madden repeatedly told a corrections officer that if he wasn't moved, "I'm gonna hurt this guy.”

“[Madden] boy was like, ’Hey I am not gonna be locked in here with a fag,'” inmate Todd Wentworth told Metro Times. “And the guard was like, ’It’s not our problem.’”

Reportedly, Burks asked the resident unit manager for a new cell assignment the morning he was killed. “She was like, ’You’re not here for convenience,'” Wentworth says. “Basically, we’re not moving you ’cause you wanna move—this ain’t the Holiday Inn.”

"Each of the Defendants named herein ignored the threats and simply left Madden and the decedent Rodriguez Burks, in the same cell knowing that harm would result" to Burks, the lawsuit states. The 21 defendants, all staff members of Michigan Department of Corrections, include Warden Catherine S. Bauman, Deputy Warden Robert Wickstrom and Prison Administrator Dean Potilla.

Burks, then 23, was found face-down in his cell on July 20, 2017, dead from severe head trauma. At the time of his death, he was serving a two-year sentence for fleeing and eluding officers, and was killed nine months before he was eligible for parole.

Madden, now 23, was serving time for carjacking, armed robbery, and assault with intent to commit murder.

The lawsuit also claims the prison staff failed to protect Burks by conducting timely checks on his well-being despite knowledge of the threats against him, and also failing to respond to the assault he suffered. 

Burks was African-American (as is Madden). The lawsuit in question alleges the prison failed to have policies in place to protect homosexuals or African-Americans from harm.

As reported by M Live, the lawsuit seeks $75,000 in damages for each of four counts, including gross negligence, racial discrimination and cruel and unusual punishment.

h/t: http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2018/05/estate_of_gay_prisoner_murdere.html

h/t: http://www.newnownext.com/gay-michigan-prison-murder-lawsuit-homophobic-cellmate/06/2018/?xrs=synd_twitter_logo