This is uneasy news for anyone who believes that being gay is not a request for discrimination and violence. Shirvell has been the sole author of a blog (made "invite only" as of Friday morning) called "Chris Armstrong Watch," whose singular raison d’être is formulating bigoted assaults on Chris Armstrong, a University of Michigan student who became the school’s first openly gay student body president.
Shirvell has called Armstrong a "dangerous homosexual ‘rights’ extremist," pasted a rainbow flag and a swastika onto Armstrong’s photo, said he was "Satan’s representative on the student assembly," accused him of being a "racist" with a "radical homosexual agenda," and launched pretty much every other brazenly homophobic attack conceivable short of carrying signs that read god hates fags.
Shirvell has videotaped Armstrong’s house, posted pictures and updates from Armstrong’s and his friends’ Facebook pages, targeted his friends and family and shouted him down at student events. Let me emphasize that all Armstrong has done was to be openly gay, and express support for mixed-gender housing for queer students (which we have at NYU).
These are intolerablyviolenttimes to be gay in America. The fact that Shirvell only took a leave of absence raises questions about how law enforcement, by not appropriately cracking down on homophobia within its own ranks, might unintentionally but implicitly soften what would-be assailants perceive to be the ramifications of hate crimes against gays. As it were, homophobia is routinely overlooked in these cases: school officials ignore complaints about bullying, and then pretend it never happened after the kid shoots himself; police neglect to label something a "hate crime" after gay men are beaten and called "faggots."