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dsc's Journal - Archives
Posted by dsc in GLBT
Mon Sep 18th 2006, 07:09 PM
On December 1st Matthew Shepard would have turned 30. It is hard to believe that this man would be 30 today.



One has to wonder what his life would be like if he had lived. Would he be the diplomat he had hoped to be? Would he be with a guy and maybe even have adopted a child? Clearly had he been straight he would be alive today. Maybe he would be married with kids. A world with literally infinite possibilities snuffed out.



Many gays and lesbians thought that Matthew Shepard would be our version of the Birmingham bombing. The killing of the four little girls in Birmingham brought in stark relief the choice that moderate whites had infront of them. Either support the butchers of those little girls or support the Civil Rights movement. In droves, white moderates supported the Civil Rights movement. The true, honest, cruelty of the enemies of Civil Rights were brought to bear in that one bombing. From that moment on it was all over but the signing.

Matthew with his boyish features and almost naive sweetness was to be our symbol of the viscious cruelty of the supposedly religious people who hate us. A boy beaten to death by men who pretended to be gay and then tortured him to death. If there ever were an exhibit A for the hatred we face, this was it.

There are very few gays or lesbians who are more than one degree of seperation from having been beaten up as an adult for being gay. In other words, most of us who haven't been beaten up ourselves know a person who has. We all know where we were when we heard about Matthew. We know because we said to ourselves "but for the grace of God". Far from being cynical we were being real when we told the country that Matthew represented us. So why wasn't Matthew our Birmingham bombing.

He wasn't perfect, that's why. First we heard he had AIDS. Then he supposedly harrassed some straight men. Then, Disney, in their first foray into fantasy masquarading as news, told us that "Oh no, it wasn't the fact he was gay it was a drug deal gone bad". So instead of hearing about the real evils of anti gay bigots hiding behind the holiest book ever written we heard about the imaginary sins of Matthew Shepard.

Thus in the wake of now nearly 8 years since his death we have seen no hate crime laws passed. Indeed we elected as President a man who refused to sign a hate crimes bill soley due to the fact it would have included gays and lesbians. The intervening years have seen hate crimes against gays and lesbian increase in every single year to the point that gays and lesbians are now the second most likely victims of hate crimes in the entire country. Only Muslims are more likely to be victims of those crimes.

While gays and lesbians have seen some tremendous gains in the last 8 years we have also seen a major backlash in the wake of the 2004 election. We still haven't shown our enemies to be the evil people they are. I have no idea what our galvanizing moment will be. Mark my words, there will be another Matthew Shepard, likely another several. Eventually society won't make excuses anymore. Eventually the great moderate straight world will see they have two choices either support us or support people willing to murder the lies of Matthew Shepard. Just like after Birmingham there will be no middle ground.

No amount of made up news can change that.
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Posted by dsc in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Mon Jun 05th 2006, 04:59 PM
I was so excited. I was sure it would be the day I was praying for. In health class the year before we studied homosexuality and the teacher told us that it was a phase and would go away by the time a boy was 17. So I circled that day on my calander. I was sure my prayers would be answered. I didn't want a car. I didn't want new clothes. I wanted one thing for that birthday. I wanted to be normal. Of course it didn't happen. It also didn't happen a few months later when I was on a harrowing trip from NYC to West Point (don't ask) and I promised I would swear off men forever if I only didn't get killed.

I went so far as to look into an ex gay treatment center but my parent's insurance wouldn't pay. They called it quackery. Decades later I am an adult who is comfortable with myself. It took a very, very long time and I took a side trip down many a bottle getting there.

Let me be blunt here. What is happening today is odious. A group of citizens are being used for political fodder, and folks, if it can happen to us don't think it can't happen to you. Turning marriage from a right to a priviledge is frought with danger not just for us, but for you. Someone, somewhere, at some point in time hated you. Don't be so sure it won't happen again.

Maybe we will eventually win this war. Maybe we won't. I honestly don't know. But this isn't just our battle no matter how much some of you might wish it to be. The people behind this have other rules too. They don't like divorce. They don't like marriages where the woman is an equal partner. They don't like sex that isn't linked to procreation. Do you honestly think that they will be sated by throwing us under the bus? I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

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Posted by dsc in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Mar 28th 2006, 04:48 PM
A pro LGBT group ran an add with that tagline shortly after he was killed and got bullied into taking it down. At the time I felt the ad might have been a bit over the top. Now, though, I honestly don't.

Being an ex gay isn't fun. The typical treatment includes aversion therapy which usually involves shocking the subject or causing him/her to vomit upon seeing images of homosexual sex. On top of being painful, it is costly. A typical treatment cost over $10000 back in the late 1980's so one can only imagine what it costs now.

Yet, thousands of gays and lesbians voluntarily enter such programs each year. Why would someone voluntarily do this to themselves and pay for it to boot? Simple, because their lives are so miserable they feel they have no other choice.

That, and only that, leads these people to oppose any and all things which might make the lives of gays and lesbians more pleasant. If it were really about the sanctity of marriage the amendments wouldn't target civil unions and contracts between gays and lesbians. If it were really about the sanctity of marriage it would explicitly target adulterers and fornicators, not simply gays and lesbians. If it were really about the children they wouldn't oppose adoption by gays and lesbians. If it were really about the children they wouldn't oppose anti bullying legislation. If it were really about the children they wouldn't target our school clubs.

It is about making our lives so miserable that we choose to take their voodoo cures. In the course of making our lives that miserable they often go to far. They empower the bullies who humiliate us in school, they empower the bashers who attack us in the streets, and they decimate our self image to the point that we kill ourselves rather than face our true natures. In a very real sense every gay man or lesbian woman who kills themselves are the ultimate ex gays. In a very real sense every gay man and lesbian who gets bullied in school is on that first stop to becoming the ultimate ex gay. In a very real sense every gay man and lesbian who gets bashed is an ultimate ex gay.

These people can't claim to love us and hate the sin when they behave like they have been. They can't claim to love us with one face, and make our lives a living hell with the other. They didn't directly kill Matthew, but they did create the climate that killed him. They don't directly kill the thousands of gays and lesbians who kill themselves each year, but they create the climate that makes them so miserable that they feel they have no choice. They can't profit from our misery and then take no credit for making us miserable.
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Posted by dsc in GLBT
Tue Jan 17th 2006, 08:11 AM
Brokeback Mountain tells an uncomfortable story. For those, like me, too young to directly remember, it is jarring to see an era in which gay men routinely married women and had kids. For those who grew up in an age of gay straight alliences and corporate diversity programs, Jack and Ennis must appear as alien as a Martian. But like any good fiction, this story represents real people. People who grew up in an era of virtually no choices for LGBT people.

America in 1963 had no gay actors, doctors, teachers, or clergy. At least not openly gay versions of those. Moral clauses kept gays and lesbians out of those fields. There were no such things as non discrimination policies or laws. McCarthy, now remembered as an anti communist bully was also a homophobic one. Homosexuals were seen as security risks and perverts. In that America, the notion that two cowboys would ride into the sunset in each others arms was simply crazy talk.

Gays and lesbians tend to be horrible about having a sense of history. We honor Stonewall but forget about the Machete Society. The stories of the real life Jacks and Ennises are often lost to today's gay and lesbian. But it was the injustice and frustration of those people which led some to take those tenative steps toward equality that directly led to the world we live in now. A world, that for all its flaws, sees 3 of the largest 6 states with gay rights laws, an entire region with them, and four states with either full civil unions protection or outright same sex marriage. A world, that for all its faults, where the vast majority of corporations include gays and lesbians in their diversity training and protections. A world, that for all its faults, sees openly gay teachers and gay straight alliences in many of our high schools.

Jack and Ennis are, like it or not, a very real part of our history. People who felt forced to comply with society's dictates and marry and have kids were our first out parents when they eventually tired of the lies. The spouses involved in those marriages often became our allies due to the direct knowledge of how that pressure had ended up hurting them. Without the real life Brokeback Mountains, there would have been no Stonewalls. Without the real life Brokeback Mountains there would have been no custody cases.

This movie, even if it wins the Oscar it is now favored to win, won't solve the problems of the world. It also won't open closed minds. But it will, if we let it, give us a sense of history that many of us sorely lack. Instead of condeming the Jack and Ennises of the world we ought to thank our lucky stars we were born in a world that is alien to theirs. We should bow down to those brave few who helped changed that world. Thanks to those people, we can only guess if we would have behaved differently than they did. I, for one, am happy not to know what I would have done faced with that world.
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