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New Jersey Teen Killed Because of Sexual Orientation

A New Jersey teenager was stabbed to death in the early morning hours of May 11 after she revealed herself to be a lesbian to a man making sexual advances. Richard McCullough, 29, turned himself in last week and was arraigned in court on Friday, held on $500,000 bail, according to 365Gay.com. McCullough is charged with homicide, weapons possession, and bias intimidation, which would add stiffer penalties if he is convicted of the crime, 365Gay.com reports.

According to CNN, Sakia Gunn and four other girls were waiting for a bus in Newark, New Jersey, when two men pulled over in a car and propositioned the girls. When they identified themselves as lesbians and said that they weren’t interested, the men attacked them, the Advocate reports. Gunn was stabbed in the attack and later died at the hospital.

“It is, sadly, not that unusual for men who make overtures to lesbians to respond with hostility and sometimes even violence in these kinds of situations,” Michael Adams, a lawyer with the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, told the Advocate. Friends and family of Gunn, as well as gay rights activists, held a demonstration in front of Newark City Hall on Thursday to raise public awareness about hate crimes and violence against the lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual community.

Sources:

365Gay.com 5/16/03, 5/15/03; Advocate 5/14/03, 5/19/03; CNN 5/15/03; PlanetOut.com 5/15/03

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