Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gay Youth as the Canary in the Mine: Toxic Homophobia in American Culture

And so, in short, the point I'm taking from some of the statements to which I've been linking about the current epidemic of suicides of teens who are gay or perceived to be gay: gay or gender-questioning teens are now the canary in the coal mine, when it comes to ascertaining how toxic homophobia is in our society at present.

Homophobia in American society is reaching toxic levels.  And young people are dying at alarming rates as a result.

And what has changed in recent years is not the vicious, brutal response of the political and religious right to those who are gay.  That remains as vicious and brutal as it has ever been.  The only thing that has changed on that front now is that the viciousness and brutality are even more out in the open, because the current administration of "fierce advocates" for gay people and gay rights keep giving signals to these brutal and vicious folks that no one will stand up to them as they exercise vicious brutality.

What has changed in recent years is quite specifically this: the American people elected a new Democratic federal administration in 2008 which promised to abolish DADT, to enact legislation making attacks on those who are gay and because they are gay hate crimes, to defend the civil rights of gays and lesbians including the right to civil unions if not marriages, and so forth.

At the same time, the American people placed a Democratic majority in Congress.

And not only have these promises gone unfulfilled, the current administration--the Democratic federal administration and the Democratic majority in Congress--appears utterly unashamed about the fact that it has lied blatantly to a vulnerable minority.  That it has used a vulnerable group of citizens as objects in a political game.  That it has caved in to right-wing pressure groups whose agenda when it comes to the gay community is all about hate.

In what way have Messrs. Obama, Emanuel, Gibbs, et al. embodied hope for gay young folks?

Not in any way that I can see.  And gay youth are dying as a result.

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