Sorry about the lack of updates. Two weeks ago, I was sexually assaulted on a date and it has taken me some time to get back into the swing of things. I’m doing much better and working on counselling.
Orlando was horrible, and worse, there are people who think more people should die. There is so much I want to say about what happened, so much that I really don’t know where to start. It would be easy to blame it on Islam, far too easy. Easy answers are usually wrong. While a radical form of Islam likely played a role, there was much that went into why he felt the need to kill gay people. Radical Christianity comes to my mind, as does loose gun laws. Modern American culture, of which he was a product, bears a fair bit of blame. American culture is not kind to those who are different and often sees violence against those who are different as being the fault of the victims of that violence. And I’ll bet this only scratches the surface of the influences that led to this disaster.
Even if we were willing and able to fully investigate the reasons why this person decided to kill so many people, I doubt we have the courage to make changes. I doubt that any of the changes would be all that drastic, tweaks here and there and maybe a few things more substantial than that. Our culture lacks the will to make change. We’d rather watch everything get worse than rise up to meet the challenge of making things better. Except in those communities actively being persecuted. I think that it is because these groups have no choice, their very survival depends on them being able to make change happen.
The minority groups fighting for survival in country are hampered by two big problems. The first is that none of them want to work with other groups. We have to do it alone. I’ll bet this is a part of this culture’s toxic individualism. If we can’t do it by ourselves, we are weak and not deserving. As someone who is fighting mental illness, I know this feeling all too well. Just as I need to ask for help and not be told, even by myself, that I’m not deserving, our communities need to do the same. The second big problem is that we like to divide people into two neat groups, our friends and our enemies. We will not take any time to try to understand our enemies, nor will we ever attempt to reach out to them. Instead, we demonize them and heap scorn upon them.
I think this problem, the one where we are unwilling to reach across a chasm and build bridges, is going to sink LGBT rights until we get over ourselves and start to extend respect to those who are different from us. We need to get over our hate and start acting like the people we want others to be. If we cannot respect them, they are not going to bother to respect us. Does this mean we let them walk all over us? Only if you perceive respect that way. Respect means we hold people accountable for their actions. And that is what we need to do.
Back to Orlando. If the shooter had respect for life, if he had respect for the LGBT community, do you think he could have killed so many? Why did he not respect us? Because our culture doesn’t respect us. Because we cringe every time we hear about an LGBT character on television; we know they will simply play to stereotypes and jokes that stopped being funny. Nothing will change until we work together and with love and respect to change this awful culture.