Almost 8 weeks after the?beating death?of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, his parents have revealed that he was gay. Even though they say that they do not believe that this played a substantial role in the attack, authorities still notice that there are many questions regarding why he may have been singled out for violence.
The Champion family\’s lawyer, Christopher M. Chestnut, said:
\”Robert\’s being gay may have been a reason for his hazing, but it wasn\’t the key reason.
\”This was a hazing crime, not really a hate crime.\”
That Mr. Champion was gay was \”a private thing, not something he advertised publicly,\” said his mother, Pam Champion, who believes her son have been targeted as retribution for his well-known stance against hazing, writes Robbie Brown at the New York Times.
The Florida A&M Marching 100 band is well known for its culture of musicians punching, slapping, paddling and forcing each other to perform degrading acts. Recently,?a band member left the university?after claiming she had been punched so difficult during hazing that they was hospitalized with a broken femur, deep bone bruises and blood clots, writes the Associated Press.
And former band director Julian White believes this might have been a remote case of homophobia.
He said the bullying \”could not have access to been predicted or prevented.\”
Dr. White\’s lawyer, Chuck Hobbs, said:
\”It is feasible that Champion\’s tragic death was less about any ritualistic hazing and much more tantamount to some hateful and fully conscious make an effort to batter a young man because of his sexual orientation.\”
The line between hazing and homophobia is usually blurry, said Shane L. Windmeyer, the executive director of?Campus Pride.
Windmeyer and Campus Pride have always been advocates for gay students on college campuses.
\”Hazing often gets taken to a new level when its against someone who is gay,\” he said.
\”Obviously someone\’s own prejudice or fears will motivate these to haze and, in many cases, to take more extreme actions.\”
However, Champion\’s mother said that her son didn\’t wish to constantly be recognized by his homosexuality.
\”Robert wasn\’t known or based on his sexual orientation,\” she said.
\”He was more known for his stance against hazing.\”