Horrendous Hate Crime in Jackson, Michigan

[Content Note: Homophobia; arson; pet death; threats.]

Eastsidekate sent me this piece by Michael Fitzgerald at Towleroad about Nikki Joly and Chris Moore, whose house was burned down by an arsonist, killing their two dogs and three cats: Shaun, Tripp, Mokie, Tazz, and Nettie.

My condolences to Joly and Moore. The grief of losing five pets all at once, no less their home on top of it, must be enormous. I am so, so sorry.

Friends have set up a YouCaring page if you would are interested and able to donate to Joly and Moore.

Joly is the director of the Jackson Pride Center, which just opened in February of this year.

Kate Opalewski at PrideSource reports:
A recent email obtained from the city confirms threats of violence toward the LGBTQ community one week before the pride celebration held on Aug. 5. It comes from Jackson Area Landlord Association's President Robert Tulloch, who wrote in the email to members of Jackson's city council, "I saw something on a site about marching to Blackman Park and raising a flag? I hope they are not planning to raise a gay flag. That is an in your face declaration of war and will be met with a violent response. This IS the queer agenda."

Sources confirm efforts to advance pro-equality policies and the increasing visibility of the LGBTQ community in Jackson have been met with threats of violence from the beginning - when the pride center was opened in February, when the non-discrimination ordinance was passed in April, and when the city hosted its inaugural pride celebration last weekend.

Joly and Moore have been at the forefront of the fight for equality in the city of Jackson. City officials confirm their presence at several council meetings when anti-LGBTQ members of the community said they shouldn't have rights. They have publicly been "damned to hell" and called "sodomites."
Although many other members of their community have rallied around them, as of Wednesday, Jackson Mayor Bill Jors had yet to comment on this vile act of violent hatred in his community, and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's deputy press secretary Tanya Baker "said he cannot comment on a specific law enforcement investigation that is still ongoing."

That the president of the landlord's association declared the raising of a Pride flag a "declaration of war" is chilling. That he further asserted that raising a Pride flag would "be met with a violent response" is horrific.

Obviously, I have no idea who committed this heinous act against Joly and Moore. I do, however, want to note that violent homophobia has always been inextricably intertwined with organized white supremacy. As white supremacists are empowered by the president, so homophobia is also empowered.

The investigation into the arson continues. I hope Joly and Moore get some semblance of justice.

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