Hundreds are mourning the death of
Raymond Taavel, the 49-year-old gay rights activist who was found
murdered outside a gay bar on Tuesday.
Taavel was beaten to death trying to
break up a fight between two men outside Menz, a gay bar located in
downtown Halifax, Canada. Police arrived at the scene at about
2:40AM and found Taavel lying in the street.
Police used dogs to track down Andre
Noel Denny to a nearby alley.
The 32-year-old Denny has been charged
with second degree murder, the National
Post reported. According to court documents, the suspect has
a history of schizophrenia and violence. Police would neither
confirm nor deny that Taavel's murder was a hate crime.
Toronto Sun reported that roughly 500 people attended a vigil
in honor of Taavel's memory on Tuesday night.
A giant pride flag was unfurled in the
middle of the street and mourners sang Amazing Grace before
people took turns paying tribute to Taavel, a former chair of the
city's Gay Pride Week and former editor of Wayves, a magazine
devoted to the LGBT community.
“The crowd is over 500 strong now,”
wrote Simon Thibault at gay weekly Xtra.
“People are crying, quietly. Heads are down. More speakers come.
They tell stories of Raymond. How he loves to dance. How he makes
people smile. How he pisses them off and how they can never be mad
at him for very long. How compassionate he is. How kind he is.
None of the speakers used the past tense in taking about him. Not
one,” Thibault wrote.