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04/19/2007


Stonewall Inn Gay Basher Gets Two Years in Prison

Matthew Francis, who pleaded guilty to felony hate crime on September 9 for attacking Benjamin Carver, a DC resident on a visit to New York City, in the bathroom of the Stonewall Inn in October 2010, was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday, the AP reports:

Francis Matthew Francis, 22, didn't speak at his sentencing. He pleaded guilty Sept. 8 to assault as a hate crime and to attempted robbery, but his lawyer said the October 2010 incident at the Stonewall Inn stemmed from drug and alcohol use, not hatred...

...Francis was high on prescription pills and alcohol at the time and hopes to get drug counseling in prison, said his lawyer, Robert DePalma. He said Francis, who has a sister who is a lesbian, doesn't harbor any bias against gays.

"This was an unfortunate incident that arose because of substance abuse," the attorney said. "It was quite a surprise to all of us that it was listed as a hate crime."

In the October 2010 attack, Carver was asked if he was gay and then pinned down by Orlando while Francis beat him, saying, Get away from me faggot. I don't like gay people."

Francis' co-assailant Christopher Orlando is expected to get six months when he is sentenced in January.


Stonewall Inn Gay Bashers Plead Guilty to Hate Crime Assault

Christopher Orlando, 18, and Matthew Francis, 22, two Staten Island men who attacked Benjamin Carver, a DC resident on a visit to New York City, in the bathroom of the Stonewall Inn in October 2010, pleaded guilty to felony hate crime yesterday, DNA Info reports:

Francis Francis (pictured) pleaded guilty to third-degree assault as a hate crime and second-degree attempted robbery. He is expected to be sentenced on Sept. 27. Orlando, who prosecutors believed played a lesser role in the attack, pleaded guilty to third-degree assault as a hate crime and second-degree attempted robbery in exchange for a six-month jail sentence to be handed down Jan. 12. He also faced up to eight years in jail. The case was prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney's Hate Crimes Unit.

In the October 2010 attack, Carver was asked if he was gay and then pinned down by Orlando while Francis beat him, saying, Get away from me faggot. I don't like gay people."


Chris Colfer, Friend of Dorothy

Colfer

Out magazine has begun rolling out its annual Out 100, and their new honorees include Chris Colfer, Lisa Cholodenko, Christine Quinn, the Scissor Sisters, T.R. Knight, and Michael Stipe, with more to be named soon.

Out editor Aaron Hicklin tells me the retro-styled image above is meant to loosely reference the urban myth that Judy Garland's death was somehow a catalyst for the Stonewall riots. 

With this image and his recent leather daddy portrait, Colfer seems to be hitting all the stations of the gay cross.

Check out the Out 100 here.


Stonewall Veteran Raymond Castro Dies at 68

Castro

GLAAD reports, in an email, that Stonewall veteran Raymond Castro has died at 68:

"On June 27, 1969 Castro was inside the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, on the first night of the uprising and is documented as the only person arrested that evening who was known to be gay, according to historian David Carter.

Although police raids of gay-friendly bars were sadly common at the time, on that night people fought back. As two officers were escorting Castro out of the bar, the crowd shouted, "Let him go, let him go," and he pushed against the waiting patrol wagon with both feet, knocking the two cops to the ground. He was put in the back of the vehicle and detained, but was later released without charge. He hired a lawyer to resist the charge against him in court and also his lawyer represent an arrested lesbian who was in the patrol wagon with him.  Typical of his generosity, he did not let the lesbian assist in paying the attorney who represented them. That night's events, including Castro's struggle against police, gave birth to the modern gay civil rights movement.

Although he was at the center of the incident that sparked the movement, Ray Castro lived a quiet humble life in Florida for decades with his loving husband Frank. Originally from Puerto Rico, Castro moved to New York when he was 5, living in Manhattan and later Long Island. He spent his career as a baker and wedding cake designer and brightened the lives of everyone he knew with his magnetic personality. Ironically he attended baking school in the Greenwich Village building on 13th Street that now houses the NYC LGBT Center. He was a warm-hearted generous man who cared about his neighbors and his community."

Here's a NY Daily News article on Castro published this summer, when he returned to NYC from Madeira Beach, Florida for the 40th anniversary of gay pride and the 41st anniversary of Stonewall (photo, right, above).

The trailer for Stonewall Uprising, which Castro appeared in, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Stonewall Veteran Raymond Castro Dies at 68" »


Remembering The Ariston Baths, New York's First Anti-Gay Raid

Thebathhouse


New York City gay bar The Stonewall Inn received a lot of attention this week, after two men attacked one of its patrons. It was an astonishing story, and few could believe something reportedly homophobic could go down at the bar, known as the epicenter for a 1969 revolt against anti-gay police raids. Those protests, of course, helped spark the modern gay right movement, cementing Stonewall's place in history.

While Stonewall deserves plenty of recognition for its pivotal role as the rebellion's backdrop, it wasn't the first New York City establishment to be raided over its patrons' sexuality. That, um, honor goes toraid the Ariston Bathhouse, where police detained 60 men, and arrested 14, in a February, 21, 1903 sting, all the while referring to suspects as "maude" and "indignant lady."

The New York Times reported at the time, "[Inspector Brooks said evidence has been gathered for week against the place and that the conduct of some of the frequenters of the establishment was questionable." Transcripts from the subsequent  trials illuminate the horror and hilarity of homophobia in early New York.

Continue reading "Remembering The Ariston Baths, New York's First Anti-Gay Raid" »


Accused Stonewall Attacker Refuses To Apologize: 'I Don't Know What I Should Be Sorry For'

Amd_benjamin_carver-1 Matthew Francis, one of the men accused of attacking Ben Carver, pictured, at the Stonewall Inn last week, refuses to apologize for his alleged actions, because he has no regrets.

"I'm not going to say sorry, because I don't know what I should be sorry for," said Francis, who also insisted he's not a homophobe. "I don't hate gay people. I don't hate anybody."

According to target Carver, however, Francis and his friend, Christopher Orlando, asked him whether he was gay and then allegedly used that as an excuse to pummel him. And, not surprisingly, Carver's astonished by Francis' latest remark: "I'm very surprised to hear that. [Francis] was the one who was hitting me, and then the other young man was the one who pinned me."

Francis, meanwhile, has decided to use his lesbian sister as part of his defense: "I'm not a thug," he said. "My sister's a full-blown lesbian." Not like those half-blown lesbians...


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