October 16, 2010

This gay bashing has to stop

We have seen a rash of suicides around the country--or perhaps are just more aware of them. Here in Norman, the city council decided to declare October "GLBT History Month." A non-binding declaration like so many. Yet it brought out the anger on the other side. Anger is actually and understatement. Our local police chief was ‘disgusted’ by meeting comments:
"Cotten, who attended the Sept. 28 council meeting, said that even as the son of a “conservative Southern Baptist” minister, he knew many of the comments, including one that described the GLBT community as disease-ridden, weren’t right.

“It was totally uncalled for and mean-spirited,” he said of comments made by some members of the audience. “I was totally disgusted.”

Cotten said some of the audience members’ behaviors were so over-the-line that he “probably should’ve removed a few people.” He said he didn’t because Mayor Cindy Rosenthal never directed him to do so.

“I mean, I’m as straight a guy as there is and it was awful,” he said."

Cotten responded to the meeting because a local gay man went home and killed himself. Seems like every day we read of another gay youth who decides that they must be too damaged (since that is what they hear) that they might as well end it. Teenage years are so freaking tough anyway, and the sexual part of this is so damn complicated and hard to manage in the best of situations. Throw in some good old-fashioned homophobia, and it is even worse.

Which is why it was nice to see Cotten speak up, and nice to see (as Smitty noted at ATK the following video of a Fort Worth council member speaking out to young gay people who might be thinking of ending their lives. I know that my blogger template often cuts off videos, so if you can't see it on my page, watch it on Smitty's or here at Youtube. Moving speech.

As Smitty said, we need more of these kinds of speeches, and less of the kind of stuff that Tony Perkins is saying about how this is the fault of the gay kids themselves. Well, not quite, but pretty damn close. After all, since he likes to quote that gay people are more prone to mental illness, and mental illness contributes to suicide, what these gay kids need to do is not be gay.

Of course, as Joel Burns noted in his speech in Fort Worth, it isn't just gay kids, but those more effeminate or butch kids who are thought to be, or accused of being gay. I will pass on Tony Perkins' version of "Christian compassion." It looks a lot like hatred.

This gay bashing needs to stop.