Thursday, September 30, 2010

Words do hurt: living and dying while gay in America (updated)

Grandmere Mimi has been keeping grim count of the horrible spate of suicides of gay youth recently. Writer and Activist Dan Savage is trying to provide hope for gay youth, especially those who may lack real-life role models, with his It gets better project.

Responding to the suicide of musician and college student Tyler Clementi, whose roommate filmed him having sex with another man and then streamed it on the internet, John Aravosis writes:
Gay civil rights isn't a "social issue." It's our lives. A lot of us, myself included, grew up thinking we'd never see the age of 30 because we'd have to kill ourselves once people found out we were gay. A lot of people have no idea how hard it is to grow up being gay. To grow up thinking God made you wrong. Thinking you will never find love. Thinking your own family and friends will disown you once they know who you really are. And hearing the President of the United States - one of the "good" guys - say that you don't deserve the right to marry the person you love.


This brought to my mind the damage that the haters do.

You may recall our discussion of evangelical Andrew Marin, and his Marin Foundation. He claims to be a friend to gay people, and got noticed by apologizing at a gay pride parade. This is what Andrew Marin says when his audience is other evangelicals:
Because you have to understand, you have to think big picture. And the funny thing is if you bring up --- because I'll tell you, a lot of fifteen year olds don't think about what their life is going to be like when it's thirty-five. Especially for a kid who's like, 'hey I'm fifteen and I'm a gay Christian' -- I don't think that quite resonates with what that's going to be when you're thirty-five years old and you can't be married and you can't have kids and, you know, it's a lot different of a life than at that point fifteen year olds can grasp, you know? And so, even if you throw something like that out there, about, well this is for the long haul and you have to think about the big picture and thirty-five and you know with all of this other stuff happening, the great part is, if they're willing to come to you and say something like that, you can provide that hope in Christ [and] take away the whole sexuality issue. Take it away, you know?
You see, Marin (who claims he loves gay people) works by trying to create hopelessness and fear in the young. That's bad. That's dangerous.

As an op ed writer said in the Houston Chronicle, in response to the suicide of Asher Brown,
[T]here’s an even broader and more insidious force at work in our country when it comes to gay teen suicide. Granted, gay rights may be inching slowly forward in the court system, but that progress has contributed greatly to unprecedented levels of self-esteem battering rhetoric in the media and from the pulpit. ....

Yes, the bullies and their despicable behavior are responsible for Asher’s death. But so is the toxic, virulently anti-gay environment that continues to swirl around all of our children.
NOM, Andrew Marin, the "intrinsic disorder" preached by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the anti-gay pro-bully policies of the Focus on the Family....all of them contribute to facilitate an environment of fear and despair. It's long past time for people to stand up against that environment, and to remind everyone that every life is precious, and a child most of all.


Update:

4 comments:

JCF said...

when you're thirty-five years old and you can't be married and you can't have kids

...which is why I want to hear Andrew Marin supports SSM (and same-sex adoption rights) or else he can STFU! >:-(
[Got yer Queer Hug *right here* Andrew...]

IT said...

i think the perps who drove Tyler to this are stupid kids. I think they are casual bullies, concerned with being cool.

I also think they can be redeemed.

If you go to the NY Daily News that broke this story, the comments are vile and vicious. Not about Tyler, but about the stupid, crass, and thoughtless kids who did it. One is (east) Indian-American, one is Asian-American. The comments are horribly racist.

These perps should be punished. They should be held accountable.

They should also be redeemed. They too are kids. Stupid, thoughtless, unaware kids.

Tyler's life was worth saving. So are their lives.

What was that about forgiveness?

F. Harry Stowe said...

Amen IT, but I don't see either appropriate punishment (what would that even be?) or useful efforts at redemption in the offing. Prayers for the kids and Tyler's family and every kid in danger of this sort.

JCF said...

Great vid by Ellen.