Will Hispanic Honor Killings, Homophobia Be Our New “Community Standard”?


Two years ago, as I was dismissing
my

English as a second language
class at the

Lodi Adult School
, my student Miguel”
approached me.

He told me that he would be absent
for the next couple of weeks as he had to return to
Mexico.

“My brother was killed and I`m
going home to take care of things,”
Miguel said.

I thought Miguel was talking about

funeral
arrangements.

But after Miguel left, another
student who overheard the conversation interpreted
“things”
for me:

“He`s
going back to kill the guy who shot his brother.”

In most Latin countries, where

machismo
runs high and

justice
is

slow and uncertain,
revenge murders are a common way
of

settling scores
.


Mexico
is a prime example.

What brought the brief conversation
between my student and me to mind was the infamous 2002
Newark, California transgender murder case involving the
victim, Eddie “Gwen” Araujo, and the two men
finally convicted a few days ago of her second-degree
murder, Jose Merel and Michael Magidson.

A third defendant, Jason Cazares,
is awaiting a retrial pending the outcome of a November
hearing.

(Note: After Araujo`s death her
mother,

Sylvia Guerrero
, petitioned the
court to legally change her daughter`s name. The day
after the murder trial ended, the new name became
official. "Edward Araujo Jr." is legally Gwen
Amber Rose Araujo. Accordingly, Araujo will be referred
to as a female in this column.)

Briefly stated, the case involved
three

incorrigibles
now in their early 20s, two of whom
had several incidents of consensual anal sex with Araujo.
When the men found out that Araujo was biologically a
male, they murdered her.

A jury rejected arguments that the
charges should have been manslaughter. Said lawyer and
jury member Max Stern:

"The

community standard
is not and cannot be that killing
is something a reasonable person would have done that
night." [Manslaughter
Ruled Out, Araujo Juror Says
,"
by Henry Lee,
San Francisco Chronicle,
September 14 2005]

Of course, Stern is correct that
murdering Araujo is not the response of a “reasonable
person.”
But I would also argue that, given that the
circumstances that were fueled by intense Hispanic

homophobia
, her murder was the sad but completely
predictable outcome.

Here is the deadly mix of
characters as reported by

Rolling Stone Magazine
[Killing
Gwen
, by

Bob Moser
, February 10, 2005]

Merel, Magidson and Cazares were
known around town as The
Three Stooges.”

According to Moser,

"Girls
came and went,

babies
were born, jobs were lost, but nothing came
between `the Three Stooges` as Jay called them. They
took genuine pride in being

drunk
, stoned and

stupid
.."

In the summer of 2002, the object of the Three
Stooges affection was Araujo, whose deceit about her

sexual preferences
created a charged atmosphere that
led to her murder.

Merel and Magidson had sex with Araujo multiple
times. But when they learned the truth about Araujo, her
fate was sealed. High-octane Hispanic machismo would not
permit any other resolution.

Merel, when he learned he had been tricked into
having sex with a man, repeatedly wept to his friends:
“I can`t be

gay
.”

One Newark High School senior, Joe Magdalena, told
Moser that while he can relate to the Three Stooges,

"I
could never see myself doing what those boys did. But I
can kind of see from their mind-set, their homophobia,
what they were doing. They thought having sex with Gwen
made them gay and in

their world,
that`d basically be death. That`s the
way they look at it."

Bottom line:
that`s how most Hispanic countries—Mexico,
Central and South America most particularly—view
homosexuality. Any act that somehow brings a
straight Hispanic male into close contact with a
gay—even inadvertently—is abhorrent.

But for a Hispanic to actually have

homosexual sex with a gay man,
even when blatantly
deceived, can only be redeemed by murder.

And murder would only bring partial
satisfaction.

Even murder would not silence the
taunts directed at the “Three Stooges.”

Remember Merel`s words: “I can`t
be gay.”
But in Latin cultures, if you have had gay
sex, you are gay.

Latin countries have made

some strides
toward greater acceptance of gays, but
the going is slow. According to a March 2002

U.S. Department of State report
, violence against
homosexuals remains common in Mexico.

And the fact remains that, in a
Hispanic man`s world,

intolerance
is learned early and reinforced often.

I found this out first hand as a

young boy
growing up in

Puerto Rico
. On my first day of school, everyone
around me on the playground spoke Spanish.

I had no idea what was being said.
Worse, I couldn`t tell if my classmates were talking
about me, the newly arrived Americano.”

I decided that, to defend myself,
I had to learn Spanish—and the sooner the better.

Naturally, I learned the dirty
words first. And I immediately learned that the gravest
insult was to hurl any of the dozens of homosexual slurs
that had increasing levels of ugliness: marico,
maricon, maricon de playa, mariconson.

Word of advice: only use them if
you are prepared to fight.

Of course, the U.S. is

not always
tolerant toward gays. And we too have our
dictionary of homophobic words.

But in the years I lived in

Latin countries
, I routinely saw shameful behavior
toward gays, women and

minorities
.

And the Hispanic members of my own
family—in-laws and nephews—are as guilty as anyone.

Believe me—the U.S., while not
perfect, is more accepting by several light years than
our neighbors to the south.

And now our

neighbors to the south
are being

imported here
, by government policy.

Whose “community standard” will prevail?

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.