Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy National Coming Out Day

Yeah, I'm straight, but I've long sympathized with the LGBTQIA community, even back when it was just called "gay people." I feel for their inability to change who they are, and that society will tell them they're defective for it. Did you know that you can still be fired from your job in 29 states for being lesbian, gay or bisexual and in 38 states for being transgender? This is 2010, people.

Twelve years ago I spent a morning washing off hateful graffiti from our college campus. That day was the only day in my four years there that our daily Chapel service was canceled. Instead, we had an anti-hate rally. Not pro-gay, not anti-anti-gay, just anti all forms of hate. I was so impressed with my little, conservative, religious Midwestern university.

What I was not prepared for? Was the number of people I thought I knew, liked, and respected that declined to participate. They couldn't condone that, they said. Someone very important to me at the time stated he couldn't get behind that, and besides, he was junior faculty, he couldn't be seen at something like this. Two hours later I was standing on the lawn holding hands with my physics professor - even more junior faculty - singing We Shall Overcome. I learned a lot about some people that day that I would have rather not known.

Meanwhile, now, over a decade later, in 20-fucking-10, there's a growing epidemic of suicides among GLBT teens and young adults. There's still so far to go, my friends.

We shall overcome. Someday.

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