We often throw around the word “homophobia” but let’s unpack just how pathetic it really is. The “phobia” part denotes fear, and “homo” derives from the Greek word homos, meaning same.
So, simply put: homophobes are scared of themselves.
That fear often takes the form of bullying, transference of violence, or worse.
And the worst happened to John Jolly on August 1st, 2017.
Jolly was a homeless man living in New York City. He encountered a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee at midnight. With a simple utterance of “What’s up,” Jolly sealed his fate.
They would be among his last words.
Natahniel Glover is better known by his stage name Kidd Creole. When Creole crossed paths with Jolly, he interpreted the “What’s up” small talk as flirtation. The former musician was so enraged that another man might possibly have shown him affection that he pulled out a steak knife and fatally stabbed John Jolly in the chest.
The evidence in the case was clear. Creole never denied killing Jolly; he simply renounced all responsibility.
According to his defense lawyer, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is New York City. It’s 12 o’clock at night. Who’s saying ‘What’s up?’ to you with good intentions?”
Sounds absurd, but the line of (ill) logic is in keeping with a trope known as the ‘Gay Panic’ defense. The most notable case occurred back in 1995 when Scott Amedure appeared on The Jenny Jones Show to confess his crush on a male friend named Jonathan Schmitz.
Three days after the taping, Schmitz harnessed his repression into rage and murdered Amedure.
‘Gay Panic’ was Schmitz’s excuse, and it succeeded in lessening the charge from pre-meditated homicide to a 2nd degree offense. It was the first in a tragic trajectory of cases that the good people at LGBTQ+ Bar have compiled into a timeline.
After all, if we hope to change the future, we must reconcile with our shameful past.
Shame is the key word here. Shame led Kidd Creole to kill John Jolly. Shame convinced the jury to convict Creole of manslaughter instead of murder. And shame is what we battle every day in a society that fears gay people so much they would rather see us dead than acknowledge our dreams and desires.
We hope John Jolly has found peace on the next plane of consciousness. We owed him so much more on this one.
Photo: Los Angeles Times Screengrab YouTube
Last modified: April 12, 2022