Here are some excerpts from Lorri Jean's speech about Lawrence's death:
Earlier today, representatives from several LGBT organizations gathered for a news conference at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s Jeff Griffith Youth Center. Lorri Jean, the center's executive director and a widely respected figure in the gay rights movement, spoke about a 15-year-old boy being shot because he is gay and about what this horrible incident represents.
"Brandon pulled the trigger, but bigotry and hatred loaded the gun," Lorri said. “No one is born hating gay and transgender people or believing that we should be denied equal rights. Such hatred and bigotry must be learned. It is learned in families that don’t accept their own children if they’re different than the norm. It is learned in right-wing churches where ministers preach abomination or in schools where teachers and administrators don’t protect LGBT kids from bullying and harassment. It is learned from political leaders who support blatant discrimination again us or whose leadership fails them when it’s time to speak out and take action on behalf of our equality and our humanity. All of these behaviors suggest that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are fair game for bigotry and hatred. They encourage impressionable young people to fear and hate not only themselves but others. And too often this hatred takes the form of violence, and innocent young people end up dead. Nothing is ‘pro-family’ about that."
Here are excerpts from the rest of her speech:
“...Where are all of the so-called ‘family values’ leaders today? Where are the religious political extremists who claim to care about kids but who are actually trying to repeal laws in California that protect young people from this kind of violence? Where are the political leaders who preach anti-gay discrimination? They’re nowhere. Instead of condemning anti-gay and anti-transgender hate crimes and violence, they say nothing. They are silent, and it’s despicable.
“To all of these people I say: Lawrence King’s blood and Brandon’s ruined life are on your heads. Your bigotry loaded the gun. Your example made Brandon think it was OK to pull the trigger. And you have a responsibility to do something to make sure this never happens again. As do all of us!
“Today, we call upon extremist clergy who preach anti-gay hatred and abomination to stop. We call upon parishioners whose church leaders are trying to repeal laws that would protect the Lawrence Kings of tomorrow to demand that such hateful activity stop. We are calling upon school districts and administrators to put policies in place that require swift action and protection when students like Lawrence King are threatened and bullied. Stop these behaviors before they lead to violence and death. We are calling upon political leaders to speak out against discrimination and exclusion, against bigotry and hatred and to make it clear that ALL Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, including young people. We are calling upon decent and fair-minded people everywhere to realize that anti-LGBT bigotry has got to stop.