Court proceedings are underway for Ethan Stables, the 20-year-old neo-Nazi arrested by police before he could carry out his planned deadly machete attack at a Pride event in an English gay bar. Part of the trial has concentrated on Stable’s anti-gay motives — in Facebook chats, he promised to “slaughter every one of the gay bastards.” But Stables is disavowing his homophobic intent with the startling claim that he’s actually bisexual. Is Ethan Stables bisexual, and should it matter?
Metro.com reports that Stables recently told the court that “he had previously been too scared to reveal his sexuality because his parents ‘would be disgusted’ saying he was ‘utterly ashamed’… He said that he had had sexual experiences with men, but only revealed it after his trial had started.”
His godfather, a gay man named Phillip Loveless, also testified that his godson had given him no reason to think that he was homophobic.
Stables’ claim of bisexuality may raise an eyebrow. After all, it sounds eerily similar to Elliot Morales, the man who gunned down a gay man in Manhattan in 2013 only to later claim in court that he wasn’t anti-gay and was in fact bisexual and had a decade-long sexual relationship with transgender woman. Jurors in that case still convicted Morales of a hate crime and found him guilty on all counts.
James Howell, the Indiana native arrested in 2016 after police found weapons in his car en route to the gay pride parade in West Hollywood, also claimed bisexuality in court, though it’s unclear if his arrest in that case ever led to any related charges.
Is Ethan Stables bisexual?
It’s entirely possible that Stables is actually bisexual and that his internalized queerphobia and self-hatred, combined with peer pressure from neo-Nazis to hate LGBTQ people, drove him to his actions.
“He also sounds like he has mental health issues,” says bisexual activist Gregory Ward, founder of Fluid Array Foundation., a U.S. bi/pan/fluid+ organization, “which isn’t uncommon among closeted bi men, who have no outlet to express their queerness.”
Even if Stables is bisexual, it’s no legal cover for carrying out a hate-based attack. The jury should decide on his actions, not his sexuality.