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Murdered Nova Scotia Gay Activist Raymond Taavel Mourned, New Evidence Points To A Hate Crime

Beloved Nova Scotia gay activist Raymond Taavel was brutally beaten and murdered by a schizophrenic on a unescorted one-hour leave from a psychiatric hospital  earlier this week was honored yesterday hundreds of people turned out for a vigil in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Media outlets who originally reported Raymonds murder as a random crime committed by a psychiatric patient, now report that the murderer Andre Noel Denny used anti-gay slurs during the attack, and authorities are determining the murder’s status might be a  hate crime.

The National Post reports:

According to court documents, Mr. Denny was found not criminally responsible for a “variety of offences” on Sept. 1 and 2, 2009, including uttering threats, causing unnecessary injury to a dog, possession of stolen property (the dog) and breach of probation. Court documents also indicate he has “a long history of schizophrenia, paranoid subtype, coupled with a substance abuse problem.” Police could not confirm reports the suspect yelled gay slurs at Mr. Taavel, but say they are “considering all possibilities” with respect to a motive.

To the man who worked beside Mr. Taavel for 13 years, the activist was a passionate “activist without anger.”

“He had a lovely, joyous presence,” said Barry Boyce, a senior editor who worked with Mr. Taavel at Shambhala Sun magazine in Halifax. “You couldn’t stay mad at him for more than 35 seconds” he told the National Post, his voice shaking. “He was a real sweet guy.”

Rest In Peace Raymond Taavel and thank you for all you did.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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