WILMINGTON -- More than 40 states in the country have legal protection for gays and lesbians when it comes to hate crimes. North Carolina is not one of these states. A movement is evolving around a murder that happened 18 years ago in Wilmington. Talana Kreeger was an open lesbian. On February 21, 1990 a man named Ronald Thomas, whom she had just met, got into an argument with Kreeger about homosexuality, then brutally beat her. He then left her in woods off Shipyard Boulevard and Carolina Beach Road where she died from a loss of blood. Thomas was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Kreeger's murder was not considered a hate crime because gays and lesbians are not a protected group -- unlike race, religion, or gender. To try and change that Tab Ballis has started making a documentary about Kreeger's murder. Ballis said, "My hope would certainly be that the lawmakers of our state and our nation would recognize that everyone who pays taxes deserves a similar level of protection under the law." Ballis already has the backing of state Rep. Catherine McCall. Ballis will be showing excerpts from his documentary Friday night starting at seven o'clock at St. Jude Metropolitan Community Church of 26th Street in Wilmington. Other advocates for protection for gays and lesbians will be speaking at the event, including Rep. McCall.
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