It seems, at least on the surface, that homphobia has begun to dwindle in this country due to an increase in progressive legislation, an increase in LGBTQQI (Lesbian, Gay, BiSexual, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning & Intersexed) people coming out and thus eliminating our community's former and crippling invisibility and also with homosexuality being seen and talked about more openly on television, on the news, in schools etc. More and more people are realizing that the only thing seperating homosexuals from heterosexuals is sexual orientation, and in that realization many stereotypes have begun to crumble; there is no "gay agenda", it is not a choice, homosexuals are no more promiscous than heterosexuals, we can't nor do we wish to recruit your kids to increase the numbers of our armies (no we don't have armies), and we don't all love Cher (she scares the shit out of me, I think item number five in her dialy beauty regiment in "Drink the blood of virgins" seriously she's like 90 Botox isn't that powerful).
As a gay man I have been very pleased with the changes in the world in regard to homosexuality. I didn't live through the previous decades wherein homosexuals had little to no rights at all, so I know I can't appreciate it as well as others but growing up as a homosexual in a very conservative, Christian family in a very redneck Bible-thumpin', NRA-lovin' area like South Western PA can make you appreciate it a bit more. With the Matthew Shepard Act being passed, which finally granted federal hate crime law protection to LGBTQQI people, and the overturning of Don't Ask Don't Tell, a discriminatory policy of the United States military which forbid homosexuals from being out in the military, the penalty of which resulted in a dishonorable discharge the world looked a little more promising and a little more welcoming.
Recently however these progressive items of legislation have met vehement opposition from the Christian right-shock! In the wake of the 9/11 attacks Jerry Falwell, a well-known televangelist and avid promoter of anything anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-progressive, anti-Telletubbies (that's not a joke, he said the purple one was queer) claimed that not only did he feel that homosexuals, feminists and abortion caused God to punish the US on 9/11 but that God Himself told him so. I cannot express with written word how deeply I anticiapte the day when claims such as these are met with universal disapproval, and an all expenses paid trip to a fully equiped mental health facility. While, Falwell made this outrageous claim his fellow evangelical whack-job, who according to his sermons also has Jesus on his speed-dial, Pat Robertson whole-heartedly agreed. To read the transcript of their actual quotes please click here.
Religious hate is nothing new to homosexuals and it sadly almost expected to happen. Falwell, Robertson and their ilke have always demostrated their willingness to embrace exclusion, bigotry and refusal at any attempt to dialogue with any gay rights group but it was another religious figure that recently recieved a good bit of backlash for a claim which demonized homosexuals. Pope Benedict XVI, the pontiff and leader of the Catholic Church (don't see them at too many Pride parades) recently said that he was both proud and happy with numerous Catholics who've made it their mission to fight against legislation that would grant homosexuals the right to marry, he claimed that these efforts to combat gay marriage "help respond to some of the most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good today", a message of love so profound, Pat Robertson told me that Jesus actually had to cover his face and walk away shaking his head, I guess cause he was so moved.
I don't think people fully understand the results of such venomous claims. When straight children are taught by their parents, trusted adult authorities, and leaders of their church that homosexuals are sick and evil, threats to the common good and their mere existence can bring down the thunderous, fiery wrath of God how do you think they will treat a homosexual when first they meet one? Maybe like this? Or this? It is disturbing the number and frequency of cases reported homophobic violence and even murder today. Due to the hate-filled rhetoric spewed by these fat, multimillionare "men of god" and the all-too-real possibilty that one day their sick, evil lives will be cut short by some maniac attribites to the fact that gay teens are more than four times likley to attempt to end their lives than their heterosexual counterparts. For a link to a page on the dangers and realities of gay teen suicide as well as a list of related links click here . It is also estimated that every 5hours a gay teen attempts to kill themself. The dangers of hate-speech and violence are very real and are not going away, evil never goes away quietly. Both the attackers and those who were attacked are, to a degree, victims. The assailants were taught to hate by the lies and cruelty of their religions and were thus brainwashed, even as young as 14 years old they have been taught to hate so strongly that they are willing to take a life. Meanwhile, gay teens the world over are contimplating taking their own lives. Today, it is virtually guaranteed that about five gay teens will try to cut their lives short by their own hands; some will succeed. Something is very wrong with this and no one seems to notice or to care, its like everyone's just walking around in a daze. I urge you to fight for inclusion, and love and acceptance everyday. There are local groups that you can join if you wish to lend a hand in the struggle for equality, there will be links posted at the bottom of the page. Also, SHU does have a Gay Straight Alliance, if you would like to help make the SHU community more accepting, more inclusive by joining the network of LGBTQQI students and their straight allies please email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org I'm the president. Changes need to be made, lives need to be saved.