Saturday, October 16, 2010

trembling with rage

I am home early from an event. A political fundraiser. Cheap, over-cooked spaghetti dinner and silent auction of items I didn't want and didn't bid on. Seated with a group of people from my old church - the one I left last spring, we talked politics and disagreed immediately. Let's just say we have very different understandings of what "liberal" means. I mean "liberal." They mean "centrist."

Then Mr. Political Big Shot walks into the room.

Mr. REALLY BADLY CLOSETED Political Big Shot. The one who votes for glbt people all the time, but who never has come out himself. Only I remember his early days, back before he was as big of a big shot as he is now, when he was casual about his gayness, when it was nobody's BIG SHAMEFUL SECRET and when I kinda respected him.

But then he got to be a kind of big shot in local stuff, and he ducked into the closet a little. Then he ran for bigger offices, and kept going further and further back into the closet until now, when NOBODY will talk about the BIG SECRET.

He's gay.

And that's great. I am too. Whoopee.

I am glad when people are happy with their orientations and identities and all. I am happy when people adjust and change their expressions as they grow and evolve, and I do my best to be supportive of all types of those expressions. Even if I don't get it, so long as nobody's being hurt and everybody's consenting, I won't much squawk.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, and just plain different kids are being bullied to the point where they think the only way to get out of that kind of horrific pain and loneliness is to kill themselves.

Kids are dying. Children as young as 12 and 13. Young adults of 19 and 20.

They are dying of SHAME.

That shame is something they are taught by us adults. We, as society, tell them that sex -- particularly non-straight sex -- is shameful and should be hidden. We tell them that being gay is not OK when we lie about who we are and whom we love.

To remain closeted in this time, when kids are dying, is to put one's own comfort, one's own personal motives -- whatever they may be -- over the lives of our kids. KIDS. CHILDREN.

We are grown-ups. IT IS OUR JOB TO LEAD. It is our job to SET A GOOD EXAMPLE. Not to reinforce all those shameful messages the kids are getting from too many other sources.

Dante said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, stand idly by and DO NOTHING.

This is about protecting our children. I remember what it was like to be bullied and have nobody step up to protect me. At school it happened, and at home it happened.

And nobody spoke for me. It is a wonder I lived. It is a wonder I am as high-functioning as I am. I am lucky.

I won't out him. But I'll be damned if I'll shake his hand, either, or stay in a room where he is.

And you know what? I won't vote for his opponent, but I sure as hell won't vote for him, either.

Kids are dying. It's time to get over yourself. Come out! Kids are dying.

The next dead kid is on your hands, Mister Big Shot.

5 comments:

MRMacrum said...

Hmm. Kind of harsh in my view. Especially when one tries to understand the root causes for sexual bigotry. Seems to me if you are going to hold this closeted gay accountable for the next youthful suicide, then maybe you should also point a finger at organized religion for advocating and installing this mindset in our culture in the first place.

Blame for the next youngster who suicides out of shame should be born by the collective shoulders of the community they lived in. Communities create the the hate. Only communities can change it.

msladydeborah said...

Wow.

This is a from the heart and gut post. I feel you on the tragedy of feeling shameful enough to end your life. No one should ever be made to feel this way about who they are as a person. There is a way to have a civil discourse without creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear. Unfortunately for our society, the people who are capable of this level of discussion is often not in the position to reach the masses. Hopefully, there are enought people who think globally and work locally to sow awareness, tolerance and respect.

unmitigated me said...

Did you have this conversation at seminary? Seems like a good place to turn the rage into something constructive. Not that the rage isn't justified, maybe just too narrowly focused. Talk to Mr. Political Big SHot about doing one of those "It gets better" videos. What better way to garner votes than to save the lives of some kids?

Tina-cious.com said...

I couldn't agree more. Well said.

Andy said...

you know my feelings on this.

He can come out when he wants, at his own pace, or not at all. He gets to make the decisions about his life.

And don't you damn well try to tell me that I don't care about LGBTQ youth because I am one, I work with them, and I fight for them, locally, state wide, and nationally.