Self-Hate Crimes

A year ago, I wrote about the murder of gay New Yorker Michael Sandy, who died after being struck by a car as he ran from four gay-bashers who had lured him to a Brooklyn park by picking him up on a gay chat site. After Sandy died from his injuries, police upgraded the charges to second-degree murder with hate crimes embellishments.

Yesterday during his opening remarks, the lawyer of one of the three men standing trial (the fourth pled guilty and is testifying against them) surprised the court when he declared that the hate crimes charge should be dropped against his client, Anthony Fortunado, 21, because Fortunado is gay himself and was “only looking for sex” the night he hooked up online with Sandy. According to the attorney, Fortunado had planned on coming out to his three accomplices on the night of the murder.

According to his confessed co-murderer, Fortunado and his co-defendants read the account of Sandy’s death in the newspaper and Fortunado joked about the way Sandy died. Even if Fortunado’s claim of being gay is true, I can’t see why this still isn’t a hate crime. If we let every gay basher who is gay himself off the hate crimes hook, what’s the point of having gay hate crimes laws at all? As most of you know, the cold tragic fact of hate crimes against gays is that they are very often committed by those who hate their own gayness.

UPDATE: It now appears that Fortunado may indeed by gay. Police confiscated a “cache of homoerotic images and messages” on Fortunado’s home computer.