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Ken Zeller
(5 June 1945 - 22 June 1985) Canada

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Kenneth Roy Wesley Zeller was a teacher and librarian at Williamson Road Public School as well as a teacher at Western Technical-Commercial School in Toronto, Ontario. He was loved by the students there and was incredibly kind and supportive, helping his students struggle with literacy. At the end of June in 1985, after celebrating the end of the school year with some colleagues, he went to High Park, a park notorious for anonymous encounters, to cruise for sex.

He was beaten to death by five high school students who were celebrating the end of the school year in a much different fashion. They didn't see him as a human being, loved by so many, but instead, simply as a gay man and for that not deserving of his life. For some reason, in these young men's minds Zeller's sexuality was enough to justify attacking him. He was kicked to death.

Evidence at trial revealed that the five teenagers, earlier in the evening, had agreed to go to the park with the express purpose of attacking gay men - to "beat up a faggot". The trial caused a furor at the time because four of the five accused were considered upstanding young men with no previous record of violence. All five were later convicted, but none served his full sentence.

Soon after Zeller's grisly murder, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre produced a play about the incident (Steel Kiss). The incident also spurred the Toronto District School Board into implementing a program designed to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation.


Source: http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/

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