My posting intentions this week were seriously sidetracked late last night when I received a startling text message from a friend. The text message included an attached photo [inset] with the simple words: “I don’t know what to do. Should I call the police? I’m scared.”
I was floored. There seems to be a blatant increase of gay-bashing/LGBT-based hate crime incidents as of late and it is, in my opinion, not surprising considering the overall atmosphere that we are living in now. Hell I was the victim of a verbal assault twice over the past 2 weeks and I have heard others citing similar accounts all over this “great nation.”
Case 1. The reaffirmation of proposition 8 by the California Supreme Court (while in my personal opinion was the proper action—but open for future posting and debate) has unintentionally created an atmosphere that perpetuates the dehumanization of queers the state, country and world over. A (nation-)state that does not [and refuses to] fully extend legal rights and privileges to all of its citizens is a (nation-)state that condones said hate crimes and promotes heterosexist agendas even though it is a set of actions not dictated by the regime in power.
Case 2. President Obama’s prompting of the Supreme Court to refuse to hear a case against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) further supports heterosexists for their homophobic actions. While Obama did not “promise” to endorse gay marriage (in fact, quite the opposite), he did say that he would work to overturn DADT—this is not sounding very likely.
While these two cases are small in scope, they are quite damaging in play. In contradictory news: Obama is expected to extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. One might rightfully wonder, aren’t members of the military also federal employees? Will said benefit expansion(s) include those who are LGBT and actively serving in the military? Will this violate DADT? Is this an intentional move on Obama’s part to show the ridiculousness of DADT or is it another act of political pandering seeking to calm queers that are currently at the brunt of many hate-filled, homophobic lashings all over this country. Many queers are angry, scared, and confused right now. And rightfully so.
When many of us voted for Obama we were looking for a leader and an administration that would stand up for us—for once. He was the first president to ever mention us (queers) in his acceptance speech, he was the first to say that he would repeal Clinton’s DADT policy and he remains the man capable of making changes to our current situation. Meanwhile, we are waiting mister president for you to step up to the plate—we are tired of the gap between you and our rights.
While there appears to be growing congressional support for the Matthew Shepard Bill—a move that would add sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability to the list of federally protected classes. While we wait for Obama to finally step up to the metaphoric plate and help us all out, conservative groups and politicians are already working to dismantle not only this hate crime bill but also outlaw ALL HATE CRIME LEGISLATION (This includes protections to women seeking abortions)! Now is the time to make YOUR move. Find your senator and urge them to make this bill an immediate priority. Find your congressional representative and do the same.
Who knows. Perhaps legislation like this on the federal level will, by default, make DADT a part of our sordid history. In the meantime, we have a long road a head of us. We must keep our heads held high, and we must stick together. And we must not be afraid to report every incident of hate that is coming (y)our way. As of now, most hate crimes go unreported which shows a lack of need for hate crime legislation—we all know that that is just wrong.
For now, I’m going to join my friend while we wait for the cops to show up.
Stop the hate. Start the love.