in solidarity against hate crimes

people aren’t born hating gays; they have to get it from someone, somewhere. whether it’s parents, peers, the education system, religion, whatever: these influences are accessories to the crimes of hate, torture, and murder.

i think back to the vicious treatment by peers and teachers of anyone different in junior high and high school, decades ago, in an upscale, ‘respectable’ town and school system. you didn’t even have to be gay to be persecuted, ridiculed, and excluded. even back then, suicidal tendencies were not so unusual. when i remember the cruelty and damage done to many of us back then, and then flash forward to now, i see that this trend has only proliferated and become more intense and targeted.

you can’t even stereotype or single out a demographic segment of society committing these current atrocities. it ranges from gang members to elite college students, and everything in between. it’s pervasive throughout our society and system. it’s almost like somewhere in the collective psyche, another level of self-restraint has been torn down and a lower bar is tolerated. it’s even encouraged by the indifference and prejudice of those who are in role model positions.

parents hand down their own bigoted views by attitude and behavior. peers reinforce infantile intolerance through pressure to conform and bullying. schools drill compliance and docility and groupthink into masses of kids. churches model hatred and violence in the name of love and peace. politicians issue contradictory, hypocritical messages to win votes. and online forums inadvertently send out harmful memetic messages in ripples. the kids who commit hate crimes are just the final stage of the process that our system propagates.

i don’t care if you’re not gay, religiously anti-gay, or indifferent: nothing justifies or condones spewing hatred or encouraging brutality in the name of g-d or personal preference. you are an accessory to injustice if you influence others to commit hate crimes or human rights abuses. don’t imagine that history can’t or won’t repeat itself. as moral and progressive as some of us like to think we are, recent events reveal the potential for regressing to savage behavior.

i don’t claim to be an idealist. i’m under no illusions about human nature. but some things are just wrong, by any standard. if we say nothing, it’s like accepting this as the new normal. if enough people see the red flags, perhaps a future tragic beating or death can be averted.

One thought on “in solidarity against hate crimes

  1. 100% agreed. There’s no call for this BS.I will say this: attempting to take a longer view, I think what we see now are really the growing pains of progress. Consider that just 50 years ago, Alan Turing the war hero was convicted, banned from doing more work, and chemically castrated for being gay BY HIS OWN GOVERNMENT. He later committed suicide. That government (the UK) has now issued a public apology and today would protect him rather than persecuting him.Our laws, while less progressive than Britains, at least protect against persecution (albeit not when it comes to marriage rights). But at least we live in an age now where the rights of gays to live unmolested are widely recognized in the public sphere. Even fundamentalists are forced to use language like “hate the sin, love the sinner” and “I have gay friends” in public, where in the past saying “gays are an abomination” in a public sermon would have been considered perfectly normal and natural. Progress, even if slow.

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