After the massacre in Orlando in which 50 patrons of an LGBTQ Nightclub were killed and at least another 53 injured I’ve seen a lot of ‘but…’s today in response to people speaking out about the culture of homophobia in America. A lot of it is reference to the shooter’s supposed following of Islam, people pointing out that other countries put LGBTQ individuals to death.
We do that here too.
It’s just that our politicians have found that’s it’s a lot easier to oppose Marriage Equality, to oppose non-discrimination ordinances, to oppose anti-bullying legislation, to support abusive reparative “therapy”, to oppose support for trans individuals, and in doing so to create such an unwelcome environment that LGBTQ individuals kill themselves. It’s a lot cleaner that way.
The worst part of it is, well-meaning neutral and even supportive parties take up the bill. They synonimize ‘feminine’ or ‘queer’ with bad and post images like the one above where a male athlete is ridiculed for something that isn’t traditionally masculine. (Note: transphobia and misogyny also apply.)
It matters. It matters to see an aspect of yourself, a part of who you are, constantly used as a poster child for weak or unwanted or undesirable. It matters when LGBTQ individuals see themselves, on TV, in sports portrayed in a positive manner outside a story-line that is merely ‘that LGBTQ tragedy.’ It matters when LGBTQ opinions are invalidated or ignored, or when they’re treated like they don’t exist.
It matters when LGBTQ individuals do find safe spaces and positive role models because these things are still so few and far between. So yes, condemn violence, speak out against injustice, but also foster the positive, create safe spaces and welcoming communities.