Monday, October 11, 2010

Gays/Homosexuals: An Acceptable 21st Century Target for Genocide?

Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace (1986) once said:
Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must -- at that moment-- become the center of the universe.

I would hope that Elie Wiesel would also include "sexual orientation" in that list of endangered persecuted individuals worthy of intervention.

It never ceases to amaze me how hateful humans can be to one another. I am compelled to write this post on the heels of the slew of suicides by gay teenagers in the last month (September 2010) and the rise in anti-gay sentiment most recently expressed in the Gay Pride March in Serbia last weekend, and the chilling story of torture in the Bronx involving nine attackers (16-23 years old) and 3 gay men (See NYT's article 8 October 2010 "Lured into a Trap, Then Tortured for Being Gay").

How does an individual's sexual orientation justify torture, teasing, taunting, bullying, discrimination or hatred? What is wrong with humanity?! Have we not learned anything from the past or are we simply destined to hate everyone who is different from what the majority considers "normal"?

Some say, as long as they (gays) don't flaunt it -- shove it in our faces -- they can exist -- but if they expect others to accept their behavior -- that's when they cross the line and deserve anything they get. Sound familiar?

The problem, is that people don't want to believe that gay people are gay because of their genetic makeup -- but just ask anyone who is gay -- who would "choose" to undergo societal discrimination or exclusion? Day to day life is hard enough for everyone -- imagine having to hide deep-seated emotions that you feel despite how hard you try to overcome them? Now imagine that you are in Middle School -- the worst time for so many dealing with the growing pains of adolescence -- and you are gay or you think that you may be gay?

This should be a wake-up call for our legislators. Those who are fighting to uphold discriminatory policies against gays are no better than the Hutu extremists that used the radio waves during Rwanda's chilling genocide to call for the massacre of Tutus. They may not have pulled the trigger -- but they convinced others that it was perfectly okay to hate (and kill) the Tutus because of who they were by birth. And for those legislators and others who refuse to address the issue and cower behind the scenes -- afraid perhaps that it will hurt their popularity at the polls -- the lives of those gay school children are also on your conscience. By not doing anything, you are just as culpable -- the message that is being sent to our gay children everywhere is that there is something wrong with them -- that they are less than human. Shame on you and shame on our society for being so intolerant and hateful.

So, instead of just going on and criticizing those in power, I am suggesting that if you are fed up with the intolerance and hatred -- write, call, or email your congressman or congresswoman -- write a letter to the President -- and demand that they start treating all Americans as equal citizens -- it is time that gay Americans stop being treated as second-class citizens -- and that our children can live a normal, fear-free childhood -- whether they are gay, straight or anything else!

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