Some of us know these stories too well. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people are constantly facing the argument from people who are, truly, our supporters: have patience, wait a little, and your turn will come. What's the hurry? Isn't it just a difference of opinion when someone is against gay rights vs. when someone is for it?
No, it's not, and here's what the hurry
is about. On August 2, a gunman came into a center LGBT teenagers in Tel Aviv, Israel, and started shooting indiscriminately. Two young, vibrant, promising lives were taken away. Have we thought about the potentials of these lives? Have we put ourselves in the shoes of their families and the devastation they are experiencing? Have we taken stock that when we have global rhetoric against gay people, the frequency of these hate crimes go up? These two lives were not lost as a rare crime, by any means. Those came in the context of the well known killing of Gwen Araujo in California, of Matthew Sheppard, and multiple untold acts of violence committed against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people across the United States and the world. This comes in the context of countries like Iran that do not even recognize the existence of homosexuals. These Extremism, you explain. People who are motivated by hate cannot be stopped by simply legalizing equality. I agree. But denying legal equality to all sends a clear signal that some people are not equally human under the law. The denial of legal equality helps perpetuate the dehumanization of those of us who fall in love with someone of our own sex, or thoese of us who defy traditional gender expectations. The fact that homophobia and transphobia are rarely responded to with strong voices knocking them down helps spread those phobias. Some even celebrate this bigotry as "religious freedom" and "free speech." Hate speech is certainly free speech, but hate speech against the LGBT community seem to more often be celebrated as free speech than condemned as hate speech.
Unless we have full equality, our law will continue to subsidize these behaviors. I refuse to accept the explanation that "people have a right to their own opinions" when children are dying as a victim of hate crimes. Everyone may have the right to their own opinion, but not all opinions are equally valid. We cannot continue to (at best) dismiss or (at worst) celebrate gay bashing as a form of "freedom." You want to know why we are so mad that our rights and our status as human beings are constantly under attack? Because the world we live in today is killing our children.