Most of my friends are fairly progressive in their belief systems. Most of my friends are not only "tolerant" of gays and lesbians, but, in fact, believe that gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual and transgender people are, above all else, people. People who deserve the same rights as currently held by heterosexual people.
So it has been a horrible reminder nearly each morning when I open up my newspaper & read yet another example of people being hurt, physically & emotionally, simply because of their sexual orientation. The rage and hate that is being expressed by the perpetrators is shocking because these people completely forget that they are attacking another human being. They no longer recognize the humanity in their victim, & truly, in themselves.
I am not so naive as to think that some day everyone, across the planet, will live in total peace and harmony. There will always be forces in place in our societies that create feelings of envy, fear, oppression & inequality. Just as bullying occurs within a microcosm society, such as school, in part as a result of feeling a lack of control over one's life/experiences within that society, bigotry & oppression occurs when one feels a need to blame someone else for the troubles in one's life.
And they feel justified: How dare those gays make me feel uncomfortable! How dare they want to marry, raise children, kiss in public, work next to me, teach children, fight wars, play sports - normalizing their lifestyle & spreading their gay agenda!
I don't understand their fear. I don't understand their anger. And I absolutely don't understand their raging attacks. Where did they learn to hate? How did they get to this place where attacking others is OK? Why do they think teasing, bullying & mocking people is normal, but the person they are targeting is not normal.
I want to believe that society is changing - that attitudes about sexual behavior between consenting adults is no longer a trigger for hate crimes. I want to believe that the people I care about won't be hurt by someone else just because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual or transgendered. I want to believe that the people I don't even know won't be hurt by someone else just because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual or transgendered.
Before you judge a person for their sexual orientation, please remember: they are a person. They are someone's child, sibling, cousin, parent, spouse, loved one, friend, neighbor, co-worker. They are as worthy of love & respect as you.
Stop the hate.