wlotus: (Eyes Wide Open)
[personal profile] wlotus
LGBT and suspected LGBT young people have been completing suicide in astounding numbers in the past few weeks. They were driven to that extreme step after being systematically bullied, humiliated, and assaulted by their peers. Where did their peers learn it was okay to bully people based on their (actual or perceived) sexual orientation? There are a few answers to that question.

They learned it from you family members and friends of family they heard mocking LGBT people.

They learned it from you ministers who claim being LGBT is "sinful" or "an abomination".

They learned it from you politicians and community organizers who successfully pass discriminatory legislation that denies same-sex couples the right to legally marry.

They learned it from you federal legislators who do not recognize sexual orientation as a protected status in laws against hate crimes.

They learned it from you military people who force LGBT women and men to choose between openly acknowledging the person they love and serving and protecting the country they love.

You may not mean for your participation in any of these activities to be taken as a license to humiliate, assault, and murder LGBT people. You may say you do not have a problem with the LGBT person as a fellow human being, just with their sexual orientation being "sinful", "an abomination", or "unnatural". But the kids who bullied, humiliated, and assaulted their peers are not able to make that distinction. They hear you say those things, pass those laws, and preach those sermons, and they feel validated in bullying, humiliating, and assaulting whatever peers they perceive as LGBT. In their minds, if who the LGBT person is warrants your words and actions, who the LGBT person is warrants their abuse. They know their behavior is nothing more than the physical manifestation of your words and laws.

Why don't you?

Those mocking statements, those sermons, those laws, those federal silences all have nurtured an environment where LGBT youth are not safe to live their lives in peace and with all of the respect due to a fellow human being.

So, what are you going to do to put to rest the monster you created?

I'll tell you what I've done. Because, I am ashamed to say, I helped create that monster in years past, too.

I repented of the many times in my youth when I participated in mocking conversations about my fellow human beings who were or were thought to be LGBT.

I no longer affiliate myself with organizations, religious or otherwise, that are not open and affirming to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.

I support marriage equality for same-sex couples.

I support the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, so all military personnel and their families can have their humanity AND their dedication to our country acknowledged and respected.

I respectfully speak up when I hear people mock and use slurs in reference to LGBT people.

Whenever possible, I support organizations such as GLSEN: the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (www.glsen.org), to affect positive change in schools.

Your turn.

Date: 2010-10-01 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] acoustics1220.livejournal.com
Thank you for posting this. If it's okay with you, I might like to copy the 1st half (or so) on my own LJ. Though I'm not out to many (if any) in my real life circle of friends and family - their words have a tremendous negative effect on me. I am so sad to hear of suicides at all, but knowing that bullying of those that are different and known to be part of the LGBT community is a heartbreaking thought.

Date: 2010-10-01 06:14 pm (UTC)
ext_35267: (Peaceful)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
Feel free to spread it far and wide. *hugs*

Date: 2010-10-01 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rockbirthedme.livejournal.com
In that case, I'm going to link with a partial quote, because you've expressed it better than I can.

Date: 2010-10-02 04:39 am (UTC)
ext_35267: (Peaceful)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
You are more than welcome. This came out of my anguish this afternoon. I hope someone who needs this message takes it to heart.

Awareness

Date: 2010-10-01 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pingback-bot.livejournal.com
User [livejournal.com profile] acoustics1220 referenced to your post from Awareness (http://acoustics1220.livejournal.com/232759.html) saying: [...] quoted from , entry [...]

Date: 2010-10-02 03:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mage-girl.livejournal.com
Yeah!!!

THIS is what *I* am talking about!!!

Preach it, Sistah! Sing it to the heavens!

Can I have an AMEN and a Halleluia??!!


*Fierce Love*


K.

Date: 2010-10-02 04:38 am (UTC)
ext_35267: (Princess)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
You can have a few hallelujahs on this one! LOL! *hugs* Thanks, sis.

Date: 2010-10-02 05:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] queenlyzard.livejournal.com
Yes, this.

Date: 2010-10-02 07:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verucas-chaos.livejournal.com
It is all so sad.

Date: 2010-10-02 08:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saffronrose.livejournal.com
Go you!

Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, supports an LGBT teens program to help reduce suicide among them. I'd love to hear why he chose to be active with them--sense of injustice, personal friend or relative, what?

Date: 2010-10-02 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] muse.livejournal.com
I like what you said here, however, you alienate your reader with the use of the word you and the demand "Your turn." Someone who is homophobic or even borderline homophobic would read this and roll his eyes. Someone who is an activist and practicing these beliefs might feel wrongly addressed. You'd reach a greater audience without the rhetorical use of the word you.

Date: 2010-10-02 07:53 pm (UTC)
ext_35267: (Princess)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
As a matter of fact, I changed to the 'you who' on purpose, because I wanted the point to be hard-hitting, rolled eyes or not. An advocate is not likely to see themselves in the 'you who' (though some may), because they aren't doing the things I specifically name.

Part of the problem with getting the progressive message out is that we are not confrontational enough. Conservatives have no qualms about confronting liberals, and that is what makes it so difficult for us to ignore them. It is time we hit just as hard, or they will continue to wave us off like a light, ineffectual breeze.

Date: 2010-10-02 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] muse.livejournal.com
I believe in confrontation. I don't believe in judgment to convey a message. We're going to have to disagree on this one. I've never been able to get a message across in published writing by accusing my listener of being a part of the problem I'm trying to address. No one is implying you should sugar-coat your views; however, I take exception to being told "your turn." If I read it from a blind writer, I'd be like, "Fuck you. I took my turn." That's the confrontational nature in me, though. I don't like being told what to do. Most people don't. Your anger should be sharpened to convey your message, but not wielded on an unwitting listener. "You military people," etc. is incendiary and unnecessary.

Date: 2010-10-02 11:03 pm (UTC)
ext_35267: (Princess)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
If the shoe fits, the reader is strongly encouraged to wear it. That is the whole point of this piece: I am plainly addressing the people who are part of the problem, just like I used to be part of the problem. The message certainly hasn't gotten across to them by tiptoeing around their part in the tragedy. They have ignored it, because few progressive people plainly say, "This is what YOU do, and this is why it is a problem." (Or when we do, we get accused of being too harsh.) Saying the generic, "PEOPLE do this," allows them to brush it off as not talking to them.

If you read it and say, "Fuck you. I took my turn," that is good, because you are not the person I am writing to. You are not engaging in the activities I listed. Keep taking your turn. If they read it and respond the same way, I have struck a nerve, and that is my intent. They won't be able to brush it off so blithely.

Date: 2010-10-04 06:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saladempire.livejournal.com
Thank you for that. As a bi person I can appriciate what it feels like to be tormented because of what society says.

Date: 2010-10-11 08:00 pm (UTC)
ext_35267: (Rainbow Heart)
From: [identity profile] wlotus.livejournal.com
You are very welcome. No one deserves to be tormented for their sexual orientation or gender expression. It's just a cruel as tormenting someone for their race and should not be tolerated.

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