Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This makes me fucking angry!



I had hoped that we had moved beyond this sort of tragedy. I guess to a large degree we have, but still this happens.

Kids killing themselves. Kids being harassed and bullied by other kids because these other kids know, or think, their victim is gay.

Where in hell do you think these kids get the idea that this sort of thing is permitted?

I'll tell you where they get it. They hear mom and dad talking about faggots. They listen to their preachers pulling out Bible verses about how those who do such things "are worthy of death."

They listen to Right-wing loudmouths droning on about the evil gay agenda and how those horrible gay people "are after the children."

Over and over and over the message is drummed into their pea brains that gay people are evil, that gay people are a threat, that gay people should just vanish -- go back into their closet, or better yet, be sent someplace to be reeducated and changed "through the power of Christ."

Who killed these kids? Yes, they took their own lives, driven to despair because little fucked-up bullies, parroting the hate that they hear from the Religious Right and Republicans, constantly harass them. Day after day these kids hear from their peers that they worthless, that they are pieces of shit, that God hates them. These kids turn on television and see people all across the country campaigning to keep them second class citizens under the law. The message is drummed into their heads that they really are better off dead.

Don't tell me that the evangelical churches aren't responsible. I was in those churches. I heard these messages constantly preached from the pulpits by "God's man." My school principal was the one who said: "I know how you feel about these faggots. You want to get in your car and run them down." I debated a fundamentalist minister, an official from Falwell's old Moral Majority, and had him on tape saying that God would support killing gay people. And my principal was considered by many as the father of the Christian school movement——by Christian they meant fundamentalists only.

I can't forget what Bobby Griffith wrote in the diary he kept before his own suicide:

I can't every let anyone find out that I'm not straight. It would be so humiliating. My friends would hate me. They might even want to beat me up. And my family? I've overheard them... They've said they hate gays, and even God hates gays, too. Gays are bad, and God sends bad people to hell. It really scares me when they talk that way because now they are talking about me.

These things don't happen out of thin air. These kids are pushed into desperate acts by a constant mental torture, the constant message of hate that is drummed into their heads, sometimes with the help of a fist.

The unstopping dehumanization of gay people that is pushed by the Religious Right encourages these sorts of tragedies. The road to death is paved with millions of small, cutting remarks

I can not help but think of what lead to the Holocaust. People did not simply awake one day with an irrational desire to murder Jews. They heard from their priests and pastors, that Jews were "Christ killers." Marx and many of his fellow communists said the Jew was behind the exploitation of capitalism. Circulated throughout Europe were tracts like The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which fantasized a Jewish world conspiracy. Der Stürmer warned parents that Jews were out to seduce children and destroy the Christian family.

Bigoted remark built upon bigoted remark until entire anti-Semitic movements were created. Soon the Christ-killers were depicted in propaganda films as rats infecting the community with a deadly virus. Once dehumanized, once seen as rats, the desire to exterminate them arose.

Anytime a people, or a large group of people, are dehumanized by concerted campaigns legal oppression follows. I do believe that what we are witnessing in America is not the rebirth of bigotry but the dying breaths of a hateful movement to eradicate "queers." Fundamentalist Christianity is dying in this country and along with the petty bigotries that it encouraged are diminishing.

But still we witness the monstrous values of these people in incidents like this. True, the small cuts that start the torture are just cruel and vicious words. And words are not a crime, they don't violate rights and are not the proper object of state control but the actions that these words encourage are utterly evil. If words encourage evil acts then those words are themselves evil. They may not be sufficiently evil to warrant legal sanction since they are not the carrying out of acts which do violate rights. But they must be recognized for what they: the embryonic stage of actions.

Each decent person must pledge to speak out when they hear these bigoted remarks. I don't care if the victims are gays, Jews, blacks, Mexicans, aliens or Muslims. As I see anyone who attacks these people attacks me: for they, like me, are humans. They are merely the other, and we are "others" to someone.

Below is another report, another dead kid. Thank you bigots. You're getting what you want: dead faggots. But they could be your children. Did you ever think of that?


video

UPDATE: This report on the vigil held by students who knew Billy.



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