Opinion » Note

Idaho's Unprotected

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In this week's feature, "Crimes of Hate," you'll read about Annie, a young woman who was beaten downtown after leaving a popular watering hole. She believes she was the victim of a hate crime, but in Idaho that's a legal designation that does not exist for crimes like the one committed against Annie.

Ask almost anyone in the LBGT community in Boise about being harassed or beaten up for being gay, lesbian or transgendered and just about everyone has a story. If they haven't been victims themselves, they can tell you the name of someone who has. And, as Carissa Wolf reports in this week's issue, the vast majority of those crimes go unreported. The fact that Idaho statutes don't do a great job protecting marginalized communities from a hate crime--or that they're not tougher on perpetrators of those crimes after they happen--doesn't surprise anyone who has urged their lawmakers to add the words "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

It's just one more way that lawmakers in Idaho continue to piss on the minority, in spite of what a majority of citizens ask them to do. I urge you to read "Crimes of Hate" and remember that the more we ignore these crimes, the more they happen. And the more they happen, the longer we continue to send a message to the LGBT community in Idaho that they are second-class citizens.

As we go to press this week, we're in the midst of Pride Week. Support the LGBT community here in Boise by attending any of this week's events, especially the parade on Saturday, June 16. For a list of events, see Page 22.

On a far more frivolous note, this year, for the first time ever, readers are invited to vote for their favorite submissions to our annual Black and White Photo Contest. A panel of judges will continue to select winners in each category, as well as a grand prize winner. However, the public will also have its say, thanks to this year's online voting system. Voting is open until Sunday, June 17. Log on to boiseweekly.com and look for the Black and White Photo logo on the homepage or click on Promo in the navigation bar.

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