Monday, February 03, 2014

[Stop. Please, Just Stop. Your Words Can Be Poison and Have the Power to Kill]

So often in the comments sections of articles and blog posts, I read comments from people who claim that "talking about [LGBTQI* rights and homophobia] is annoying/pointless/etc." As a straight ally, there is only so much I can say--the story is not mine to tell, as the struggles I feel are sympathetic, not empathetic. But this is not a topic we can afford to leave alone. People die every day because of their sexual orientations or identifications. Then on top of that, our society creates these false dichotomies of feminism/masculinity, equating men and boys who show compassion, a love for music and/or art, and gentleness with being weak, as if gentleness or being a woman is shameful. Here's something to think about: I never chose to be straight. I just am. And think about this: when being LGBTQI* means potentially being isolated, oppressed, beaten, or even killed, who the hell would actually choose that? It's not something most people choose, and I'd dare say that those who do are probably (I know, assumption, but hear me out), by nature, bisexual, somewhere along the spectrum, and it's not as much choice as they claim.

Look. I get it. After awhile, it seems like it's one discussion after another. It becomes a cacophony of voices and debates. But here's the thing: the reason it matters... the reason we can't stop talking about it is because that which changes people's understanding of the "other" is getting to know the "other." By dialoging more openly as we have been in the past two or three decades, the amount of homophobia that pervades our culture has declined. But it's still there, and it still harmful and even deadly. It's got to stop. Bullying, homophobia, false definitions of gender, stereotyping, etc.

I broke down in tears this morning as I read Michael's story:

11-yr-old Boy Bullied for Being A Brony Fighting for Life After Suicide Attempt; How You Can Help
“But now,” Suttle said quietly, “I wonder about why he wanted to come home instead of being with the other kids.  He said to us that the other kids were telling him he was gay for loving Pinkie Pie and they were trying to make him feel ashamed for being gay.  We said that we didn’t care if he was gay or straight; he was our son and we would love him.”
On Thursday, January 23, Michael had another rough day at school.  That night, he attempted suicide by hanging himself.
Michael is in the pediatric intensive care unit in a North Carolina hospital.   He has damage to his brain, his heart, and his lungs and has not yet fully awakened.  There is healing potential, but the extent of that potential is unknown.  His family is holding vigil, praying that the swelling in his brain will go down and the child will become coherent.  A tracheotomy is scheduled for this week.

So let me say this: I don't give a fuck (there, I said the word in writing, in public, for probably the first time in my life) if it's supposed to be a sin or not, even as a Christian. It. Does. Not. Matter. People are hurt and killed, and they did not choose this path for themselves. Even those who are straight but deviate from the feminine/masculine "standards" face this hate. If you think it's more important to declare loving someone of one's same gender a sin than it is to love them as they are, you are wrong, and you are perpetuating hate whether you feel hate in your heart or not. Period. As any writer or writing teacher can tell you--your intention when writing (or speaking) does not matter--what matters is what your words say and the connotations they carry. So please, if you feel the urge to tell people they're sinning for loving someone, for once in your life, shut the hell up and just listen. Be a friend, show grace and compassion.

Look, it's not that clear, anyway, what the Bible says on the topic, due to translation issues and context, so it's not your place to declare something that does not harm anyone else a sin. Your walk with God is yours alone. Mine is mine alone. As long as what we do harms no one else nor robs them of their rights to life and peace, it's not either of our places to place limits on them. No, homosexual relationships are not a slippery slope to bestiality or pedophilia. There is a hell of a world of difference between consensual sex between two adults and forced sex (by physical or psychological force) of one person in a position of power with one who cannot fully give or deny consent. So don't give me the slippery slope as an argument--it's complete and utter bullshit. In another phrase, it's comparing apples and oranges. They're not alike.

Love. Just love. It's not your place to condemn or convict. Michael's story is not alone. Enough is enough.

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