7’ H X 5’ W X 16” D
Wood fired stoneware, found objects
Brandon David McInerney (top row, first from the left) was arrested for the fatal shooting of his classmate Lawrence King at E.O. Green School in Oxnard Ca. on Feb. 12, 2008. McInerney had just turned fourteen years old. Prosecutors allege it was a hate crime because the victim, Lawrence King, wore female clothing and told classmates he was gay. McInerney had repeatedly made death threats against King before shooting him. McInerney has been charged as an adult with premeditated murder with a hate crime enhancement; he presently awaits trial.
Gwen Amber Rose Araujo (top row, third from the left) was a transgender teenager who was brutally murdered on Oct. 4, 2002 in Newark, California. Murdered by four men after they discovered she was transgender, two of the defendants were convicted of second-degree murder, but not convicted on the requested hate crime enhancements. The other two defendants pleaded guilty or no contest to voluntary manslaughter. The crime received widespread national and international attention centered on the homophobia and transphobia bias in the mass media and the use of panic strategies in the California criminal justice system. The Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act was signed into law in September 2006 by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It puts California firmly on record as opposing a defendant’s use of societal bias against their victim in order to decrease their own culpability for a crime.
Matthew Wayne Shepard (third row, second from the left) a twenty-one year old student at the University of Wyoming was tortured and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming, in October of 1998. Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were charged and convicted of Shepard’s murder and both received two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole. During the trial, witnesses stated that Shepard was targeted because he was homosexual. Shepard's murder brought national and international attention to the issue of hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels. After a decade the Matthew Shepard Act was adopted and signed by President Obama on October 28, 2009. The measure extends the current definition of federal hate crimes which covers attacks motivated by race, color, religion or national origin to include those based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr. (bottom row, far right) is pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church based in Topeka, Kansas. His church is built around a core of anti-homosexual theology, with many of their activities stemming from the slogan "God hates fags." This is also the name of the group's main website. Gay rights supporters have denounced him as a producer of anti-gay propaganda and violence-inspiring hate speech.
How many people understand what it’s like to grow up and live in a world where one is invisible, bullied, denied equal rights, the target of hate, discrimination, and violence? I address these issues in my piece HATE because as a gay man this is part of my reality.
I want my work to evoke feelings, raise questions, and cause change.