tisiphone: (Default)
Tyler Clementi.
Seth Walsh.
Justin Aaberg.
Raymond Chase.
Asher Brown.
Billy Lucas.

The six most recent entries on the poll of the dead, the ones causing the most outrage right now. How, we ask ourselves, in this enlightened age, is it that young gay men still kill themselves in despair? How can they believe they won't be accepted by society! How is bullying still so bad in the schools, which have officially outlawed it? How is this still happening?

I don't know. How could it still happen?

The problem is not just six isolated children making it a trend. It's sixty children, or six hundred, or uncounted numbers who took their lives silently, either deliberately and rapidly or in a prolonged spiral of self-destruction and pain, without ever making it clear what was wrong, because even in death the shame of gayness was too much to bear. It is every alienated child, every outcast, everyone who kicks someone else in the face or taunts them or passes laws against them while secretly desiring their own freedom, everyone who accepts a less than perfect life or a life without love because they don't see a way forward. It's every adult that's still in the closet because the world doesn't accept gay bankers, gay politicians, gay mechanics or accountants. It's my friend Thom, who knew so little about AIDS in 1992 that he killed himself in fear that a cold would suddenly spiral into Kaposi's sarcoma, herpes in the brainstem, madness and death. By seeing only the most recent six, we unfairly focus - it's not them, goddamn it. Not six unfortunate children in bad circumstances. It's all of us.

We are all poorer for systemic homophobia. We all suffer. Please, by all means, remember Tyler, Seth, Justin, Raymond, Asher and Billy on Spirit Day. But don't forget the rest. Don't forget the living, and the nameless dead, and everyone who suffers under this terrible system and the individual things that we do to perpetuate it. Don't let it be about just these six named children.
tisiphone: (Default)
Tyler Clementi.
Seth Walsh.
Justin Aaberg.
Raymond Chase.
Asher Brown.
Billy Lucas.

The six most recent entries on the poll of the dead, the ones causing the most outrage right now. How, we ask ourselves, in this enlightened age, is it that young gay men still kill themselves in despair? How can they believe they won't be accepted by society! How is bullying still so bad in the schools, which have officially outlawed it? How is this still happening?

I don't know. How could it still happen?

The problem is not just six isolated children making it a trend. It's sixty children, or six hundred, or uncounted numbers who took their lives silently, either deliberately and rapidly or in a prolonged spiral of self-destruction and pain, without ever making it clear what was wrong, because even in death the shame of gayness was too much to bear. It is every alienated child, every outcast, everyone who kicks someone else in the face or taunts them or passes laws against them while secretly desiring their own freedom, everyone who accepts a less than perfect life or a life without love because they don't see a way forward. It's every adult that's still in the closet because the world doesn't accept gay bankers, gay politicians, gay mechanics or accountants. It's my friend Thom, who knew so little about AIDS in 1992 that he killed himself in fear that a cold would suddenly spiral into Kaposi's sarcoma, herpes in the brainstem, madness and death. By seeing only the most recent six, we unfairly focus - it's not them, goddamn it. Not six unfortunate children in bad circumstances. It's all of us.

We are all poorer for systemic homophobia. We all suffer. Please, by all means, remember Tyler, Seth, Justin, Raymond, Asher and Billy on Spirit Day. But don't forget the rest. Don't forget the living, and the nameless dead, and everyone who suffers under this terrible system and the individual things that we do to perpetuate it. Don't let it be about just these six named children.

April 2017

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