The following is an open letter to attorney Linda Parisi, who represents beating suspect Clayton Garzon:
My brother, Mikey Partida, is not subhuman. The use of homophobic, hate-fueled slurs to address him or other gay community neighbors as such is neither dismissible nor acceptable. While your comment that these slang terms “occur quite commonly” among the young people in today’s society is a troubling indicator of your perspective on current social norms, I have to wonder if such references toward his gay uncle during the Garzon family Thanksgiving dinner would be as commonly tolerated as you would like us to believe.
Since your statement in his defense suggests that the slurs “allegedly” hurled during the assault were of no association to his motivation for such an extreme act of violence, I thought I might take a moment to briefly enlighten you on the genesis of such derogatory slurs and their relevance to this case.
As anyone who has ever been the target of hate speech will agree, whether racially based or otherwise, the social act embodied in such derogatory language is to dehumanize its target. This enables not only the speaker but an entire group of people who subscribe to the same hateful ideology to perpetuate discrimination of another based on a defining characteristic. It results in the institutionalization of social constructs of discrimination that have historically led to egregious crimes against humanity that I don’t imagine need to be highlighted for you here.
So you see, Ms. Parisi, the use of homophobic slurs by Mr. Garzon during this assault not only demonstrates a heinous degree of internalized hatred, whether toward homosexuals or some other undefined entity, but undeniably exhibits his motive for dehumanizing another, in this instance, my brother. Sadly, it is the flippancy of your response to his hate speech that facilitates its proliferation and the ongoing violence caused by such hate, making you a moral accomplice to these outcomes.