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Bisexual Vermont Clerk Receives Death Threat Over Sexual Orientation

[MONTPELIER, VT] -- Ilene Kanoff, a town clerk and a feature reporter for St. Johnsbury's Caledonian Record newspaper, has acknowledged that she has been harrassed for her bisexuality.

On August 31, 1998, Kanoff said, she found a picture of herself defaced so that there was a bullet hole in her head and her throat was cut; it was captioned, "Death to Queers." The photo had been taken from a newspaper story about Kanoff getting a motorcycle license.

Kanoff says this was the culmination of a long seige of harassment, including the defacement of town signs that referred to her position of town clerk, in which the word "clerk" had been replaced with the word "queer."

"There is an implicit line between harassing and threatening," Kanoff said, referring to the Aug. 31 incident. She added that she knew of five people of the town's only 50 full-time residents who might be responsible for the photo, one of whom refers to her out of earshot as "queer."

"It seemed to me that when I initially moved in here it wasn't so much of an issue that I was gay," Kanoff said in an article about the harassment. "It doesn't just happen overnight. More than one person must have been thinking about it for awhile... it's a question of it coming to the forefront." Kanoff says she's thought about leaving, but is waiting for police to conclude their investigation.

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