Commentary

Call the Orlando massacre what it was: Queer bashing

Whenever hate mongers like the Westboro Baptist Church threaten to picket and protest the funerals of LGBT people and people who have died of HIV, that’s queer bashing.

Whenever the political and theocratic right produce newspaper and television ads that promise “conversion” and “escape” from the so-called “homosexual lifestyle” in the guise of Christian love and understanding, that’s queer bashing.

Whenever politicians like former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott proclaim in the media that homosexuality is a disease in the categories of kleptomania and alcoholism, that’s queer bashing.

Whenever the U.S. Senate and other legislative bodies refuse to confirm a nominee for public service, like James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg, simply on account of their sexual or gender identity alone and not on their actual qualifications, that’s queer bashing.

Whenever so-called religious leaders like Pat Robertson blame natural disasters on city governments that have enacted laws protecting the rights of LGBT people, that’s queer bashing.

Whenever parents or guardians toss out young people onto the streets for their sexual or gender identities, that’s queer bashing.

Whenever any person is ridiculed, isolated, confronted, or attacked for not conforming to rigid constructions of gender expression, that’s queer bashing.

Whenever hate crimes legislation is drafted without including the documentation of violence directed against LGBT people, branding this as nothing more than the granting of “special rights,” that’s queer bashing.

Whenever professors in our universities and teachers in our schools exclude the stories of our lives, our experiences, and our accomplishments in the classroom, that’s queer bashing.

Whenever any one of us is taught to hate ourselves each one of us is demeaned, and that certainly is queer bashing, and we have a right, or rather an obligation, to speak up, to fight back with all the energy, with all the unity, and with all the love of which we are capable.

Today we still live in a society that proclaims we don’t have a right to exist, but exist we do, everywhere, in all walks of life.

For as we all know, we are the students, professors, teachers, guidance counselors, day care workers, parents — and still some people and groups attempt to prevent us from having contact with the young people of our nation. And because of their insensitivity and fear, the queer bashing continues.

We are the social workers, psychiatrists, workers at homeless shelters and rape crisis centers — and still some people and groups blame us for the break-up of what they call the “traditional family.” And the queer bashing continues.

The reality is that we are holding up this culture. If all the lesbians, bisexuals, gay males, and trans people suddenly left our jobs and communities, this country would literally crumble.

Right wing nut unspools latest Orlando conspiracy theory: Obama knew

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