Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wayne Besen on Rash of Suicides of Gay Youth: Target Homosexuality, and You Target Real People

Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out on the rash of suicides of gay youngsters now occurring in the U.S.:

When you target homosexuality, the result is persecution and punishment of LGBT people, and in many cases it leads to gay bashing or suicides.

I find Wayne Besen's analysis here powerful.  You can't target an abstraction--homosexuality--without targeting a reality--gay and lesbian human beings.

When you claim to be working against the abstraction of homosexuality on religious grounds, while claiming you embody the compassion of various world religions, you completely undercut any claim you might wish to make to compassion.  Because hateful approaches to an abstraction, even or especially in the name of God, inevitably target real flesh and blood human beings.

And among those, young people struggling to understand and accept themselves are particularly susceptible to the harm done by crusades against abstractions that happen to coincide with the difficult-to-appropriate reality those youngsters are sensing in their own developing psyches. 

Are Americans aware of the savage, cruel, and unsafe place we are becoming, as a nation, for gay young people?  Are the mainstream media informing citizens at large that in this month alone, 13-year old Seth Walsh in Bakersfield, California, 13-year old Asher Brown in Houston, and 15-year old Billy Lucas in Greensburg, Indiana, killed themselves due to anti-gay taunts of classmates?  For that matter, do people know that 18-year old Rutgers student Tyler Clementi has just committed suicide after two fellow students secretly filmed him having sex with another male and uploaded the clip to the internet?

The fact that all of this is happening after a Democratic president came into office making strong promises to end discrimination against gays and lesbians in the American military, to promote federal laws to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace, and to protect and defend the civil rights of gays and lesbians, is remarkable.  One has to wonder whether the lack of moral principle demonstrated by the current Democratic administration and the Democratic majority in Congress is somehow directly related to the growing climate of hostility to real-life gay and lesbian people in the nation as a whole.

When people who purport to be decent and moral fail to exhibit moral backbone, is it any wonder that the worst among us step up their immoral behavior, knowing that they can do so with impunity?

For the hate which continues to go unchallenged by supposedly progressive political and religious figures, the most vulnerable among us, young people, are paying the heaviest price of all right now.

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