About Beth Leonard
On March 16th a jury found Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers University student whose roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide in early Fall 2010, guilty of a hate crime for his homophobic behavior. Not too long ago, this would not have been the case. The mainstream LGBT advocacy agenda has supported the creation of hate crimes legislation for homophobic acts as a solution to violence against queer and trans people (These are generally the same organizations that advocate for same-sex marriage as a solution to discrimination against queer and trans people). Their advocacy was successful, and now homophobic behaviors can be punished as criminal acts of hate, if they meet the definition and severity that is laid out in the hate crimes legislation for that jurisdiction. In New Jersey, the Rutgers student’s actions met these definitions, according to the jury, and he was convicted of a hate crime for spying on Clementi, along with other crimes like invasion of privacy.