My heart hurts. I don’t say this because it’s what is being said… I say this because those people who died in that club in Orlando? Those are my people. (I didn’t know them, but those were still my people – both LGBT and Latinx)
There were nearly two more attacks on Pride events this weekend – stopped, and not nearly talked about because both the attackers are white. It’s so easy to focus the attention on what may have been an extremist Muslim (though his own family were quick to say he wasn’t religious, he was just homophobic), when this was an act of terror because it was designed to make the LGBT community afraid.
I’ve been afraid. Afraid for the transgender community, who are misunderstood and have been targeted for decades – but the refusal by some parties to understand them in the last year or so has been aggravating. Afraid for the asexual/aromantic/agender community, who are continually told that they are wrong or broken (you aren’t, I promise). Afraid for queer youth who were told it gets better, and see everywhere that it isn’t better… the hate is just different. The hate comes in different ways. There are fewer people being beaten for being gay, but it’s still obvious that if you’re LGBTQA – people think you’re less. You are an other.
Sure you can have your same sex marriage now, but states will tell you that employers can decide whether or not you get health care. Or if you can adopt. Or whether or not, you retain parental rights if you divorce your same-sex spouse.
It used to be that Westboro was the extent of obvious hate. We could laugh at the God Hates Fags signs because the hate was so extreme. But it’s everywhere. I can’t drive through town without seeing at least one asshole with a Leviticus bumper sticker. Someone who hates gays so much they’ll casually put it on their car.
And allies sit by. Some question why we’re upset when people try to make the A in LGBTQA stand for allies instead of asexual/aromantic/agender (heck some people in the LGBTQA community would rather protect allies than others in the community), rather than focus on more important things – like keeping safe spaces safe. Like fighting for legal rights and basic human rights. I’m not saying that ALL allies aren’t helping – but I see a lot of people who say they’re allies that let comments slide. Who don’t understand what things are slurs and aren’t. Who don’t understand microaggressions based on sexuality or gender identity. Or support celebrities and charities that aren’t trans-friendly, who are biphobic.
Hate doesn’t spring from nowhere. It’s cultivated from a small seed of hate. Some small, seemingly benign thing – like a word. A stereotype. And accepting it normalizes the small behavior so that something bigger doesn’t seem so offensive. Then that becomes acceptable, until the extreme makes sense.
If we say or do nothing, that’s when things like this happen.
I could write about guns. I hate them. It makes no sense to me why we can’t at the very least make it harder for people to own them without proving that they’re responsible humans. Why we can’t admit that there’s no reason for someone to own an assault rifle. Those aren’t extreme suggestions. They’re reasonable. 100% reasonable.
We make people take driver’s tests – to test both mental competency and physical competency. We require people to re-test to maintain their license. Why don’t we do the same with guns?
I’m just tired. I’m tired and angry. I’m angry that we’ve reached this point, and there is no reasonable discussion in the media. That it’s all so focused on hyping up the tenuous threads of ISIS involvement (same as what happened with the San Bernardino shooting). I’m tired of having to reassure my children that there are good people who are full of love.
Do your part. Teach your children to be empathetic. Teach them to love. Educate people. Denounce hatred. Be better. As a community, we’re doing all we can – but we can’t get there if the rest of the population doesn’t step up to help.
And for fuck’s sake, vote out people who aren’t motivated to make your town, state or country better.