Teen Executed by Fellow Gang Members for Being Gay

A teen who was a member of the Family Swans (a subset of the Bloods gang) was killed by fellow gang members after they discovered he was gay, according to police in Baltimore:

Blood“A neighbor told police that Parrish left his parents’ home with another young man and walked toward the woods. About a minute later, the witness and other neighbors heard someone yelling and pleading, ‘Stop! Why are you doing this to me? I didn’t do anything!’ according to court documents…On the day before Parrish’s death, several members of the gang met at his home, according to charging documents. There, Hollis and Flythe discussed finding what they believed to be ‘gay’ text messages on Parrish’s cell phone. Angered by the messages and a photograph they found, they worried that their Bloods group would appear weak to others if word got out that they had a gay member, according to court records. ‘As a result, they decided that Steven Parrish ‘had to go,” police wrote in charging documents. ‘There was no date or time discussed for the killing, but it was made very clear to all those present that Parrish was going to be killed.’ Flythe later told his fellow gang members that he and Hollis confronted Parrish, who did not deny that the messages were ‘gay’ in nature, according to court records. Flythe also told his associates that they stabbed and hit the victim before stomping on his neck, according to charging documents. A red bandanna was placed over Parrish’s face and he was left in the woods.”

Parrish was found to have bruises, over 50 superficial knife wounds, and a deep stab wound to the chest. Steven Hollis, 18, of Randallstown and Juan Flythe, 17, of West Baltimore have been charged with first degree murder and are being held without bail.

Comments

  1. Paul R says

    It’s nice to know that senseless gang-related acts of violence aren’t limited to innocent strangers and members of other gangs. They’ll even go after one of their own.

    What charming nitwits. I’ll be interested in seeing how much time they get. And I hope they discover prison that’s “gay in nature.”

  2. TA says

    Not to bring too much local news to you, but Baltimore’s state’s attorney is one of the most inept in the country. Have no faith in the legal system here.

  3. Derrick from Philly says

    Another horrible lynching of a gay person. The only difference here is that the gay youth was part of the violent, destructive element that murdered him. Maybe he didn’t have much of a choice in not being part of that element–in many places there is no choice unless you escape, or if you are openly gay…openly gay excuses you from “gang service”, but you’ll be treated like garbage every day until you escape the hell that characterizes some neighborhoods in this country.

    So many times here on Towleroad, during arguments/debates, so many of y’all have accused each other of being “self-hating”/”self-loathing”. No, this kind of monstrous behavior among young males in our country is truly what being “self-loathing” is all about.

    To beat and stab someone to death who is pleading for his life…I guess he becomes a thing in their eyes, not a person. But, that aint nothin’ knoew, is it? That’s necessary for the lynching to be completed.

  4. nic says

    @DERRICK,

    that’s what’s needed for the lynching to be fulfilling. but there is something in each of their souls that will haunt them, if they are something less than sociopaths: “i could have been a better human being.”

    time and again, the reason for hate-crimes laws gets justified.

  5. patrick nyc says

    Make no mistake, the right wing GOP has as much to do with the kind of gay bashing. When you make gays less than human what makes you think idiots who would join a gang would do so?

  6. jason says

    This is the result of homophobia which is institutionalized in black gang culture. I’m not saying this prejudicially, I’m simply saying this factually. In a general sense, homophobia exists across racial lines, but it is highly pronounced in the black community. Simple fact.

  7. anon says

    Rather than blaming the GOP for this murder, I should think we’d want to suggest that homophobia is AS BAD as gang violence. The same mindset that kills gay men in gangs exists outside of gangs.

  8. Nick says

    Actually, JASON, you are saying it prejudicially. The idea that blacks are somehow more homophobic, or the most homophobic, is really borne out of prejudice. Maybe it’s an unconscious prejudice, but it is a prejudice nonetheless that seems to stem from a belief that blacks are less intelligent than other groups. If to be non-homophobic is to be “enlightened” then to be homophobic is to be the opposite.

    Personally, the only people I’ve ever met who were disowned by their families for being gay have been white or Asian. And blacks CERTAINLY neither own violence against gays nor legislation against them.

    And anyway how would an Aussie know much about the “black community”? Even if you have lived in the states I highly doubt YOU have much interaction with anyone in that community.

  9. bading says

    saw ‘hair’ at shakespeare in the park’s delacorte theater last night and thought, these lyrics from the ‘flesh failures/let thh sunshine in’ are so apt:

    We starve-look
    At one another
    Short of breath
    Walking proudly in our winter coats
    Wearing smells from laboratories
    Facing a dying nation
    Of moving paper fantasy
    Listening for the new told lies
    With supreme visions of lonely tunes

    how many deaths before we say ENUFF?

  10. foochy says

    When people are born and raised in socio-economically violent situations, society pays them (or the situation which creates such inequalities) little mind until it “infringes” on an aspect of their lives. Sure, this kid was slaughtered because he was gay, but he could have been just as easily — and viciously — killed for stepping on someone’s shoes. People who live under extreme duress live under a different code of rules, often counter-productive; but when little guidance or hope is given, rules are created to maintain a sense of order.

    The problem is that a person, a human, irrespective of race, class, or orientation, cannot truly respect life if their own life is not valued. The killers will get lighter sentences despite the homophobic intent of the murder, not because of orientation bias but because the murdered individual was also a gang member. At the other end of the spectrum, a 15 year old youth I once worked with will spend the bulk of his adult life behind bars because he stabbed a star pupil and football team captain for attempting to break up an altercation between him and another student (he survived the stabbing). The judge threw the book at the kid I worked with — despite his extremely shaky upbringing with two parents in jail since his birth — because he assessed a greater life value on the other child. It is extremely doubtful when he comes up for release at 45 or so that he will be a contributing member of society, but just as he knows his place in the feeding chain, it’s all good!

    I won’t even dignify the ridiculous statement that black culture is more homophobic than white culture, although I will state that aspects of black homophobia stems from white oppression (often sexualized for “staying effect”) and systemic destruction of indigenous understanding of sexuality through western religious traditions. However, that discussion perhaps would force those to face the fact that they too can be both the oppressor and the oppressed at the same time…

    By the way, the ghetto is not the singular property of any one group — it is a process by which dominant society controls a certain population through competitive degradation. Read Leon Uris’ Mila 18 and you will see 21st century Baltimore in the the 20th century Warsaw. Be smarter than your preconceived, parochial notions and perhaps we just might make it through the 21st century much improved.

  11. jason says

    Homophobia is institutionalized within the black community to a greater extent than in the white community. Surveys have consistently shown that blacks are more opposed to gay marriage than whites. The lyrics of black rappers are consistently filled with hate-filled screeds against women and gays.

    I’m not saying that homophobia is uniquely black – far from it. But it is an ugly component of a community which should know better. When you’ve been oppressed and discriminated against for a long time – as blacks have been – you should know better.

  12. (another) Jason says

    Jason,

    what evidence do you have to support your assertion that “homophobia is institutionalized within the black community to a greater extent than in the white community” other than your own bias?

    Do you have links to any of these “surveys” that say “blacks are more opposed to gay marriage than whites”? Or are you just guessing…going with a “feeling”?

  13. LightningLad says

    >>The idea that blacks are somehow more homophobic, or the most homophobic, is really borne out of prejudice.

    Um, no, it’s borne out of surveys showing that African-Americans, as a group, are significantly more likely than white Americans, do be opposed to gay rights and to think that homosexuality is immoral.

    YOu can do your own Google research but one place you might check is the Pew survey which surveys religious observance and beliefs in America and in one survey showed that African-Americans were only second to white evangelical Protestants in their opposition to same-sex marriage and belief that homosexuality is immoral.

    I agree with Jason and I have experienced it in my personal life – I have only ever been openly called “faggot” by Black people, never white people.

  14. says

    As long as mindless violence and gangsterism is glorified in our entertainment, and as long as homophobia continues to permeate popular music, we will see atrocities like this. The seriously pathological group dynamic in which the murder occurred has its etiology in “permissible hatred”, the idea that it’s acceptable to hate gays.

    As others have cogently noted here, the severe conditions in which the gang members grew up have a role to play in making them killers. However, this does not remove the onus of responsibility for their actions from them. Even at their young age, the murderers have shown themselves unfit to walk freely among us. Nevertheless, I cannot fathom that somewhere, at some time in their lives, Parrish’s killers weren’t enculturated in “permissible hatred”. The larger community needs to examine the attitudes which helped to make the murder possible, and that very definitely includes the people in charge…

  15. says

    As long as mindless violence and gangsterism is glorified in our entertainment, and as long as homophobia continues to permeate popular music, we will see atrocities like this. The seriously pathological group dynamic in which the murder occurred has its etiology in “permissible hatred”, the idea that it’s acceptable to hate gays.

    As others have cogently noted here, the severe conditions in which the gang members grew up have a role to play in making them killers. However, this does not remove the onus of responsibility for their actions from them. Even at their young age, the murderers have shown themselves unfit to walk freely among us. Nevertheless, I cannot fathom that somewhere, at some time in their lives, Parrish’s killers weren’t enculturated in “permissible hatred”. The larger community needs to examine the attitudes which helped to make the murder possible, and that very definitely includes the people in charge…

  16. McMan says

    Actually, I looked through 4 or 5 articles and they all say that people are virtually the same when polled on LGBT questions – REGARDLESS OF RACE.

    My personal experience is that black people I’ve known have been far more homophobic… at least in public. I wonder if it’s just that homophobia is more visible, rather than common, among African-Americans? Jamaican artists screaming about killing batty boys while Minnesotan starlets are twittering on about all things pink and fluffy is only a difference in emphasis or perception, not necessarily feelings in a community. A lot of white people buy homophobic music.

    And it’s really time to end the “should know better” meme. Gays should know better about racism and misogyny but we don’t. Lots of homos hate women and gay Asians. I’ve had Chinese friends in tears with some of the stuff people say to them online and even to their faces.

    Maybe the black guys could help me out on this one, but my black friends all say they get pretty tired of the stereotypes thrown on them by white guys – especially the “chocolate lovers” who think that because they’ve had a series of black lovers they can call anyone the N word and get excused. Rot.

  17. Matthew says

    Lightinglad, your history is well known on this site. *dismissed*

    I don’t think anyone is saying that homophobia doesn’t exist in the black community. Obviously it does, but the extent is overblown and THAT is what is coming from prejudice. Blacks may be second to white evangelicals (and I think white evangelicals out number blacks anyway) in their “disapproval” of homosexuality, but it doesn’t seem to translate into widespread support for the draconian laws that white evangelicals incessantly push for.

    And I agree with Nick – the only people I’ve ever known who’ve been completely disowned by their families have been white. All the black gays I’ve known still have relationship with their families – some strained, most not. I dunno, but that may be a more important barometer of how black people deal with homosexuality even if many don’t “agree” with it.

  18. RDK says

    I don’t have anything substantive to add to what FOOCHY said, but I was scanning these comments waiting for someone to say it, and think it’s important when there’s such ignorance and extreme prejudice expressed here to say I’m glad FOOCHY spoke up. Thanks to others who have or will echo what FOOCHY said.

  19. Sportin' Life says

    Foochy’s comment is a mixed bag, in my opinion, RDK. It’s absolutely true that systematic prejudice and degradation are part of our society, and we all have a moral responsibility to fight it. But that doesn’t properly translate–at least not for me–into sympathy for a fifteen year old who goes around stabbing people. Let him rot. There are plenty of genuinely good kids who need and deserve a better chance at their dreams, and permanently removing the violent thugs from their midst is one way to help them out.

  20. Shane says

    Please, don’t anyone make excuses for these fucking wastes of human life by saying shit like “they are a product of their environment.”
    Foochy and Nick, however do you manage to carry around that huge chip on your shoulder? Put it down and get a life already. And Matthew, you need to get out more – all of my black openly gay friends have been disowned by their families – that, or constantly told they are sinning and going to hell every time they go to their moms. The rest I know are on the DL. It has a lot to do with their relationship with their churches. They listen to their pastors’ crap waaaaay too much.

    Jason has a very good and valid point. To deny it is to just bury your head in some PC bullshit.

  21. says

    Homophobia is widely institutionalized in the black community, especially in black churches. Anyone who has been involved with events such as the Black Church Week of Prayer for people with HIV/AIDS knows what an uphill battle it is to get churches to deal with their homophobia. Are they worse than white churches in that respect? Yes, I think so. If you perceive that to be a racist statement, then sue me.

    I have black friends who are terrified of coming out because they know their religious families would disown them. They also do not want to be disowned by their churches, which they have emotional attachments to in spite of institutionalized homophobia.

  22. Geoff says

    Guys, no one community has a monopoly on homophobia. My best friend was pretty badly beaten by an Asian gang in San Francisco (of all places!) for being gay. To say stuff like “blacks are more homophobic” does not even make since, and to me, does seem to fit the definition of prejudice i.e., prejudging.

    I think the belief of blacks as “supreme homophobes” comes from the fact that the black underclass is usually used or thought of as representative of the entire “black community.” Blacks do not get the benefit of individuality. And everyone knows that the less educated and less “cultured” one is the more likely it is that religion will be a major life component, and the more religious one is the more resistant to homosexuality. So, large “representative” (homophobic) black underclass = “Those blacks sure hate gays!”

    However, this mode of thinking obviously does not apply to whites. I highly doubt you are going to get a red carpet rolled out on a trip to W. Virginia or Kentucky, but the homophobia of so many whites somehow never seems to “bubble up” to represent whites at large the way it does with blacks. Hmmm, wonder why? Ahh, I know. Prejudice. This is not necessarily an indictment of “racism.” I do hope people can figure out the difference between prejudice and racism.

  23. Bear says

    All this argument about race? How about looking at something more realistic like why are only two of the “gang” members being charged? Did not the entire “gang” minus the victim agree to the “killing” of one of their own? Therefore all who were present, and aware, should be charged with the murder and not only two persons. Regardless of race, creed or anything else, a gang is still a gang. Society has allowed gangs to become the evil it has due to ignoring the problems. Once upon a time Gangs were actualy groups of decent people doing good. Society has failed, and will continue to fail so long as it does not punish ALL who are involved in wrong doings. They are all responsible, not just two.

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