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Was Jeffrey Dahmer A Gay and Did Sexual Orientation Had Anything To Do With His Crimes?

Many of Jeffery’s later murders involved acts such as cannibalism, necrophilia and permanent preservation of body parts, typically all or part of the skeletonNetflix’s new series “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” provides a detailed look into the gruesome crimes of America’s most notorious serial killer.

Between 1978 to 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer managed to kill 17 innocent men and boys, brutally murdering and dismembering them. On one hand, Jeffrey’s case has reopened a wound for the LGBTQ+ community, on the other, many are asking the question if Jeffrey was gay. Read on to explore more about his sexual orientation.

Was Jeffrey Dahmer A Gay?

Yes, Jeffrey Dahmer was a gay serial killer, who infamously came to be known as the ‘Milwaukee Cannibal’ or ‘Milwaukee Monster’. The sex offender murdered and dismembered 17 men and boys, many of whom were gay and men of colour. If you’ve followed Jeffrey’s case closely, you may be aware that before killing his victims, Jeffrey clicked their nude pictures and even photographed each process of their dismemberment.

During the investigation, police found several human body parts, including preserved penises, two human hearts, and an entire torso amongst others in his apartment. Many of Jeffery’s later murders involved acts such as cannibalism, necrophilia and permanent preservation of body parts, typically all or part of the skeleton.

Milwaukee’s LGBT community was shaken by this incident. B.J Daniels, a drag performer, recalled the incident by saying, “I feel like it fetishizes this whole horrible moment in Milwaukee history. it shouldn’t be looked at it that way, it just feels completely wrong.” After Dahmer’s arrest, the subject of “interracial gay desire” became a topic of debate.

If you’re not aware, Jeffrey’s gayness was hardly mentioned during his trial. A research paper “The Racialization of Sexuality: The Queer Case of Jeffrey Dahmer“, revealed how “homosexual overkill” was dropped from the reports of the case. It stated:

“Media coverage of the Dahmer case was imbricated in a sustained and complex logic of homophobia at the same time that it actively disavowed any homophobic intentions and effects. Initial references to the Dahmer murders as “homosexual overkill” by public officials and the mainstream press were vigorously protested by lesbian and gay activists in Milwaukee and elsewhere, who pointed out that Dahmer’s actions were no more representatively homosexual than a heterosexual serial killer’s killings would be representatively heterosexual, but that those who used the phrase “homosexual overkill” would never have used the term “hetero- 70 Ian Barnard sexual overkill” to characterize a heterosexual mass murderer.

The phrase “homosexual overkill” was thus, once more, naturalizing heterosexuality and pathologizing homosexuality. Members of the media responded to the protests surprisingly quickly, and the term “homosexual overkill” was soon dropped from reports on the case. In fact, the media seemed to become so concerned that their reports did not appear homophobic, that all references to Dahmer’s sexual orientation also disappeared from most coverage of the case. Dahmer’s gayness was also hardly mentioned at his trial. This change was by those espousing a liberal politics of assimilation. Dahmer’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with his becoming a serial killer.”

How Did Jeffrey’s Family React?

Jeffrey Dahmer first came out as gay in 1989 when he was convicted of sexual assault and enticing a child for immoral purposes. This is mentioned in Don Davis’ 1992 biography The Milwaukee Murders: Nightmare in Apartment 213: the Twisted True Story of the “Real-life Hannibal Lecter.” The book states that he revealed his orientation to seek a much lenient sentence.

The next time he came out as gay was when he drugged Konerak Sinthasomphone, a 14-year-old boy, who was later killed by him. Instead of arresting him, the arresting officer John Balcerzak let Jeffrey take Konerak with him. John even cracked “homophobic jokes” with this fellow officer instead of rescuing the child.

Another question which keeps striking the minds of the readers is about Jeffrey’s parents’ stand on his sexual orientation. Dahmer’s father Lionel was not tolerant of his sexuality, however, his mother Joyce Flint, supported his gayness. In a book, “Milwaukee Massacre: Jeffrey Dahmer and the Milwaukee Murders”, it is reported that Lionel, a fundamentalist Christian, often made negative comments about gay men and lesbians throughout Dahmer’s childhood and remained against homosexuality even after Dahmer’s trial.

Jeffrey was finally arrested in July 1991 and was sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment, as Wisconsin abolished the death penalty in 1853. However, Jeffrey was killed by a fellow-inmate Christopher Scarver, after serving only two years in prison. Sometimes, justice is found beyond the realm of law. Isn’t it?

I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.


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