The REAL “Response” in Houston, Texas to Hate, Bigotry and MurderViews: 1998
While Perry and his 3 ring circus of anti-queer hate is gearing up to congratulate each other for passing the buck to Yahweh Elohim in what he’s calling “The Response”, the GLBT community in Houston came together to remember those we have lost to hate and to dedicate a small garden as a lasting place of reflection. This effort was sparked to life as a reaction to a recent murder that took place in Houston. A young gay man named Aaron Scheerhoorn had been stabbed as was running from his attacker. Upon seeing a nightclub, he ran to the club’s entrance seeking help. The doorman turned him away… whereupon Aaron’s attacker pushed him down and in front of dozens of onlookers, commenced to stabbing Aaron over and over again… the onlookers did absolutely nothing to stop the attack and allowed the murderer to escape without hindrance.
This place of remembrance is significant to me because 1/3 of those remembered that night were transgender. I’ve known more than one trans person who fell victim to hated. It helps me knowing that others will at least remember their names. I hope is place of remembrance might inspire others to consider the price the innocent pays for our culture’s need to cling to hate.
I will be forever grateful to the organizers of this event. I knew some of these victims… It was so incredibly moving to hear folks explicitly acknowledge their suffering. While Garnet Coleman was speaking, I was moved to tears.
On top of Myra, I also knew Kendrick “Cinnamon” Perry. She had come to our organization seeking shelter because no emergency homeless shelter would take a transwoman. Unfortunately, our economy had taken a hit after 9/11 and the program we had to house these folks had to close due to lack of funding. The night the Board was meeting at the GLBT Center to officially end this housing program, grabbed my hand and Cinnamon asked me for shelter… and I had to tell her that we were unable to take her because the program had closed it’s doors. It was just 2 weeks later that, while walking down Lovett Blvd, someone drove by and shot her in the head.
She would have lived had she been able to have access to shelter. Had a foundation been willing to fund a transgender shelter program at the time or if their had been more support, the shelter would have been open for her. I remember that during the days, we would be down at the shelter and on the weekends, we were in the bars collecting change to keep the program going. For years I blamed myself. Her murder affected me in a way that felt just like a punch to the solar plexus. I felt utterly defeated when her life was cut short.
While I certainly know that hate – from the murder itself to the bigotry that wouldn’t allow her access to a shelter – was to blame for her death, it certainly haunts me to this day still.
This was the first ceremony I’ve attended in which she was publicly remembered. It was profoundly moving to me. Thank you… to each and every one of the organizers of this event… Thank you.