ON February 12th the Religion of Antinous commemorates the brief life and tragic death of Saint Lawrence "Larry" King, the 15-year-old California schoolboy who was shot to death by a classmate after Larry had asked him to be his Valentine.
Two days before Valentine's Day 2008, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney sat down at a desk behind Larry in science class at a junior high school in Oxnard, California. Without saying a word, Brandon pulled out a .22-caliber revolver and shot Larry in the back.
As Larry slumped to the floor amid screams from horrified students, Brandon quietly stood up and fired a "coup de grace" shot to the back of Larry's head, killing him.
Brandon had teased and taunted Larry for months, ridiculing Larry's sissified mannerisms. He attempted to enlist other boys to beat up Larry. When that failed for lack of interest, he decided to kill Larry and repeatedly vowed to "get a gun and shoot" him.
After weeks and months of teasing by Brandon and other male students who called him "faggot," Larry had started to retaliate by flaunting his sexuality. He wore make-up to school and taunted Brandon by making verbal passes at him.
The day before the shooting, the two boys were bickering during class. When Larry left, a student heard Brandon mutter, "I'm going to shoot him."
Just after that class, another student heard Larry say "I love you" to Brandon as they passed in a hallway. The same student then heard Brandon say he was "going to get a gun and shoot" Larry.
A few minutes later, Brandon told one of Larry's friends: "Say goodbye to your friend Larry because you're never going to see him again."
Larry's death struck a chord with parents, teachers, students and gay-rights advocates concerned that Brandon's bullying of him had been minimized by school authorities.
Since Larry's death, teachers have sought training in how to identify gay and lesbian students who might be struggling with their sexual identity. Teachers also have asked for resources to help students who have already come out or who may be experiencing bullying.
One of the many roles that Antinous the Gay God plays is the role of patron and protector of Troubled Gay Boys and also of Boys in Trouble for Gay-related things.
Larry lost his life because he dared to wear eye makeup and to ask another boy to be his Valentine. And Brandon McInerney faces up to half a century in prison for murdering Larry.