Hey, kittens. It’s Throwback Thursday and in light of recent events, I’m reminded of something from June of 2012. A woman faked a hate crime in Lincoln, NE. It was profoundly disappointing to find out we’d been lied to but it was amazing to see so many people come together for justice. While I IN NO WAY want to imply the current Philly hate crime is anything but real, I want to re-post this article I wrote back then to talk about how, through passive homophobia and institutions that want us to “love the sinner, hate the sin,” we can add fuel to the flame of the insane bigots who perpetrate violence. Anything less than advocating for equal rights is contributing to a system of hatred.
“On Sunday morning July 22nd a good friend and proud member of Lincoln’s LBGT community was brutally assaulted in a vicious hate crime. Three people broke into her home, tied her up and carved the words “Cunt” “Fag” and “Dyke” onto her face and body, then tried to set her house on fire. “
In the year 2012, there is no intellectually honest rationale for being against LGBT rights.
If you want to talk Biblical precedent, you will get schooled by even the most tepidly literate. If you think marriage is historically an institution of one man and one woman, then you don’t put even the most cursory effort into learning history. If you have any reason for saying gays aren’t equal citizens, then you’re the kind of caveman-like throwback that future generations will viciously mock, akin to Flat Earth-ers.
And you will deserve it. Because your prejudice is a requisite part of the savage and sociopathic violence that is committed against innocent human beings in the name of traditional values.
These movements don’t operate on crazy fringe alone. They need main-streamers to validate their nonsense. To give the pretty, nicely-clothed face to their blind, stupid hatred. They need Chick Fil-A to say it’s part of real family values to deny rights to gays. They need the Boy Scouts to say that gays can’t be around kids. They need your apathy and rationalization to feed their craven sadism.
But what prevents the kind of abjectly inhuman atrocities that were committed on this Lincoln woman? Anything. Any word that reinforces to people that talking shit on gays is douchery, any action that demonstrates your commitment to equal rights. Calling out your friends, co-workers, family members, representatives and Facebook friends on their bullshit.
Because the people who commit these horrifying acts are not a separate species. They are part of our society: people who live and walk among us. And they have mental problems, obviously. But they also have people in their ears telling them who the source of society’s problems are and waxing philosophical about traditional values. And in some moment of limited frontal lobe activity, they act out, fueled by the speeches given in churches, the conversations had in passing and the institutionalized discrimination of our government.
And the only way to stop them is to stop saying stupid shit.
Many of us are just waiting for the majority of homophobes to hurry up and die. But we don’t wish your death, we wish your realization that this is the weakest, most ignorant battle in the world to wage. That the dating choices of other grown ups do not affect you. That the fair and equitable recognition of a same-sex union is no threat to opposite-sex unions. That only someone with a serious personal problem is so singularly focused on the private lives of other adults.
If you’re not chilled to the core by this hate crime, it’s debatable whether you’re wired properly. If you can read about this hate crime and think that there’s nothing you can do, you’re mistaken. You have no idea how much power your voice can have.
UPDATES: This crime was later revealed to be a hoax, perpetrated by the supposed victim, both as part of a plan to burn her house for insurance money and a symptom of a mental snap that happened after a break up. She has been sentenced to jail. This incident should in no way be taken to indicate MOST crimes against LGBT persons are fake, as they are still disproportionately targeted for violence, especially trans women of color and most states lack hate crime protection.