Bruce McArthur; A Homophobic Serial Killer Who Went Unnoticed

Bruce McArthur was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for twenty-five years. He brutally murdered and dismembered 8 gay men from 2010 to 2017, and it was acknowledged that the authorities didn’t take the concerns of Toronto’s gay community seriously when they thought they were being targeted by a serial killer. He specifically targeted men he didn’t think would be missed in order to be hidden; some of these men were closeted to their families, were facing deportation, or were even homeless or facing drug problems. He even mocked them after their deaths by taking pictures of them in a fur coat along with props. His cruel and blatantly homophobic crimes blatantly underline the discrimination that members of the LGBT community still face as well.

Currently, only 21 states have laws that ban discrimination against employees, meaning that in more than half of the country, somebody can be denied employment just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Not only that, but the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has reported that 14% of hate crimes reported are against LGBT people, and because of the stigma that leads to such violence, LGBT people are more likely than non-LGBT people to face mental health problems. 60% of these individuals felt so sad and hopeless that they gave up most of their activities, and around 40% of transgender individuals have attempted suicide.

Image from

The targeted and horrendous attacks against the gay men of this Toronto community have affected others as well, given how it blatantly highlighted the discrimination LGBT people still face. The Coachella Valley is home to many LGBT individuals, particularly Palm Springs (a survey of LGBT people’s health in the Coachella Valley conducted by the Desert Healthcare District found that 57% of its respondents lived in Palm Springs), due to its pro-LGBT front. Many students here at RMHS identify as LGBT, and some have even faced the discrimination that this brutal story has brought to the forefront. Ariel Resendiz, an LGBT student here at RMHS, talked about how this case in particular affected her, stating, “The actions of Bruce McArthur have affected my perspective on progressive nations like Canada where this happened.

For a brief amount of time, I thought some countries were safer for the LGBT community, but there are still people who are hateful and violent against other humans. That was a reminder to me there are still horrid acts being done to people. I also think these attacks highlight an extreme part of the prejudice LGBT individuals face, which is something that people think was in the past or in a different part of the world. The has been a lot done in recent history for LGBT issues but not nearly enough. Unfortunately, now I’m afraid the world may be taking steps back slowly. More needs to be done, not even just politically, but in the community as well.”

The staggering statistics presented by the HRC, and Bruce MacArthur’s actions have brought the discrimination LGBT people still face to the forefront. It has become blatantly apparent that when a group of people, specifically a vulnerable group, ask for assistance from an authority, that authority shouldn’t ignore them like the Toronto Police Force did in regard to the Toronto Gay Community’s outcry. The prosecution of Bruce and a police officer who ignored an earlier victim of Bruce’s helps show that such crimes should not be tolerated and that such actions need to be fully investigated in order to prevent horrendous crimes like this from happening less frequently.