Thursday, September 14, 2006

America's Ultimate Hate Crime

There is an extremely powerful essay on PageOneQ called AMERICA'S ULTIMATE HATE CRIME. This article discusses the sheer hell that gay and lesbian children go through when they have religious fanatics for parents:

Every once in a while I allow myself to consider the nightmare existence of a queer child growing up with religious fundamentalist parents. The thought of it is so painful that I need to keep it mostly compartmentalized and in the back of my mental and emotional closet.

It's an aspect of the world of homophobia and fundamentalist religion that we very much ignore. For many reasons, it's the forgotten stepchild of gay activism, child care services and the mental health profession.

The author goes on to say:

I can think of few other situations that have the potential to engender such a relentless and pervasive environment of psychological and possibly even physical child abuse. Generally speaking we do not do a good job of handling child abuse in this nation but when it come to gay kids the picture is even bleaker. The ratio of gay kids to straight kids among runaways, child prostitutes and suicides, well documented by the CDC, makes this painfully clear.

And the seeds for these children’s nightmare are planted early and carefully nurtured, long before the child is even aware of his/her own sexual orientation:

Long before a child develops self-awareness of his or her own sexual orientation, he is trained to believe that homosexuality is an abomination and a perversion that is a threat to the American way of life.

In a fundamentalist religious environment, he is told that homosexuality threatens the American family and the sacred institution of marriage. He is told that homosexual activists and their agenda are leading the charge in a war against Christianity. The homosexuals are the enemy.

This young and impressionable child learns that the Bible, the absolute word of god and truth, clearly states that homosexuals are an abomination and that their sin is punishable by death.

And then, worst of all, he learns that homosexuality is a choice made by sick and evil people and that to make this choice is a very bad and wicked thing. But then nature takes its course and at some point the gay child realizes that he's "chosen" homosexuality. He doesn't remember being asked. He doesn't remember checking off that particular choice on any application. And he searches through the mail for the recruitment brochure, but it isn't to be found.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, he has made this monumental, life-changing and life-shattering choice, against his will and against the will of god.

The author then goes on to describe the long and tortuous battle that so many of these children spend their whole childhood fighting and ultimately losing. And before it is all said and done, it is not just the battle they have lost, but the innocent and carefree childhood as well:

It's an exhausting and soul-crushing childhood. While other children are looking to the future with hope, he lives in a world of despair, pain and fear. While other children are considering ballerina, doctor, astronaut or fire fighter, the gay child's energies are focused on hiding his or her true self. The boy dreads his first fake sexual encounter: will he be able to perform? The girl worries less, she will just turn away and cry and wait until it's over.

And he rightfully puts the blame squarely where it belongs – on the fundamentalists and a society that allows it to go on under the banner of religious freedom:

Protected by a very misguided notion of religious freedom, fundamentalists of all sorts are allowed by our society to engage in the ultimate hate crime, a pervasive and monstrous form of child abuse that will one day be seen by social historians and anthropologists as a very barbaric and grotesque aspect of the American civilization.

Sexual orientation is not a choice, but our society's willingness to tolerate this terrible treatment of children is a choice and a choice that should make us all ashamed. We will be judged harshly by future generations as we are already judged by more evolved societies on the other side of the Atlantic.

It is an essay that should be read in full. We are a society that goes out of its way to pat ourselves on the back for being so civilized, but our ability to pass off some pretty heinous and abusive behavior as good Christian Values is anything but civilized or Christian. Share

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