Federal legislation covering hate crimes sought

Tomy Hillers

An Iowa human rights activist addressed several issues relating to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community during his speech in the Pioneer Room of the Memorial Union Tuesday night.

Cisco Sanchez, coordinator for the Human Rights Campaign in Iowa, focused his two-hour speech on federal legislation covering hate crimes.

Sanchez also addressed the issues of same-sex couples who want to adopt children and giving HIV-infected people Medicaid coverage.

“As it stands today, Medicaid is not offered to patients until they have developed full-blown AIDS,” Sanchez said. “The virus remains at the crisis level and is the worst among women of color.”

Before talking about hate crimes, Sanchez presented a documentary about prisoners who had no qualms about the acts of violence against people based purely on their sexual orientation.

Sanchez said the number of hate crimes is rising steadily every year, and the largest number of hate crimes remained in the category of color.

Sanchez then told a story involving a sexual-orientation hate crime.

Two men were walking arm-in-arm at a rest stop in rural Tennessee.

One of the men was carrying a purse.

“A third man at the rest stop saw the two and followed them as they left,” Sanchez said. “The third man then shot the man carrying the purse, after screaming anti-gay slurs at them.”

It turned out the man was helping a visually impaired friend and was carrying his fianc‚e’s purse while she was in the bathroom.

Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen, president of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Ally Alliance, said hate crimes are something to think about during Awareness Week.

“We still have hate crimes here at Iowa State,” said Beatty-Hansen, junior in political science.

“With these seminars and activities we hope to educate students on the issues facing LGBT students here.”