Orlando ShooterI know. You’d really like to be.

Is it because so many have already quickly labeled what the Orlando shooter did as Islamic terrorism? That way you (as in, the general “yous” of the world) can comfortably set yourself apart from the fact that you have also been the perpetuator of hate crimes? Hateful language? Disparaging rhetoric that always flaunts the American “majority” and demonizes the LGBTQ community?

Orlando ShooterAnd before someone gets too enraged, no. I am not stating that someone’s cruel comments are the same physical act of someone else shooting up a nightclub and killing half a hundred people. However, know this: The constant pull against those who want their equal rights in your country through marriage and non-discrimination laws causes death. Don’t think so? How many suicides in the LGBTQ community do you think have happened because of the constant hatred, the constant demand for them to be “normal”? More than you want to admit. In fact, after one religion’s recent proclamation against the LGBTQ people, 32 people died of suicide just because of that. Want to know how many of those were in Utah?

Twenty-six.

Twenty-fucking-six.

So raging against your president because he refuses to make it more comfortable for you by labeling the man’s hate crime as “Islamic terrorism” isn’t going to change what has already been done. The muttering about “them gays” and bathrooms and “stupid liberals” isn’t going to fix the problem, it is the problem.

Our sometimes warped sense of humanity

A dear friend and fellow writer, Sydnie, wrote on Sunday, “Humans are amazing. Incredible. We accomplish feats of ingenuity and constantly strive for what is just out of reach, trying to make our world that much better. Humans are also incredibly destructive, hateful creatures that try to hold others down, like crabs in a barrel, because they want everyone to look, sound, feel, and think like them.”

Orlando Shooter

And I get it. So many religions, so many organizations, not only validate the feeling of “we won’t ever be like them” but even reward it. Because the majority is safe and better and can retain its rights in a way the minority can never seem to, no matter how hard it tries.

But so many of us are the minority. The simple fact is that the LGBTQ “minority” is all around you, hearing your words, seeing your glares, your turning away in self-righteous disgust because we are not like you.

And even more terrifying, too many in the minority paid the ultimate price early Sunday morning. Not only did they lose their lives, they had to spend their last moments, their last precious seconds, in abject terror.

The Orlando shooter hated the LGBTQ community

Because he saw two men kissing. Other reports suggest not. Turns out this horrible man, the Orlando shooter, saw two men kissing all the time, in this club. All these newer facts point to a man who was filled with hatred at his own desires. He (I refuse to use his name and give him post-death glamorization that is so not deserved) has been taught, along with the rest of us, that homosexuality is one of the most ultimate sins. The act of engaging in sex with someone of your own sex is worthy of eternal damnation and, often, death.

No. I am not excusing him. He had no right to take anyone else’s life because of his own struggles. He is evil.

Unfortunately, the term “evil” has also been used frequently to describe LGBTQ.

Orlando ShooterAnd just because the Orlando shooter appears to have been homosexual does not mean that he wasn’t also homophobic.

And what about James Wesley Howell? This young man was found outside of West Hollywood Sunday morning headed to a pride parade and was found with an arsenal in his vehicle that included three assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, ammunition, and a five-gallon bucket with chemicals that could have been used to create an explosive device. Howell admitted to wanting to “cause harm.” Still, the “majority” isn’t furious that Howell isn’t being called an Islamic terrorist. Because Islam isn’t his problem — or the Orlando shooter’s. The problem is hatred for LGBTQ.

You don’t have to hate the LGBTQ people to contribute to the problem. You don’t have to be a Muslim terrorist. You don’t even have to own a weapon. Words, your words, can be horrible weapons. Even, “I love the sinner, just not the sin,” is still calling that person’s identity, their actual physical and chemical makeup a “sin” because a religion or personal beliefs say so.

“I love people with blue eyes,” someone could just as well be saying, “just not the blue eyes themselves. Everyone has their own trials that they must overcome for the Lord, I guess.”

Orlando ShooterIt is pure fact that even just the comments that will show up on this article will spew the hate and ignorance that I mention here. Why is it that in 2016 we still feel the “irresistible” urge to put someone below ourselves? To make ourselves above another, in order to feel good enough?

Please. Please recognize the words that you are using often have deep, devastating repercussions that you are not even aware of. Stop claiming that you love them but you just “don’t agree with them.” You are condemning a part of them that is as irreversible as your own genetic makeup. The LGBTQ community doesn’t want your love “in spite” of who they are; they want it because of who they are. Just like you do.

“Words cut more deeply than knives and fester there until the mind cannot take it any longer,” Sydnie wrote. “Our world is better for our differences, not in spite of it.”

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Elaine Wilson grew up in the middle of the Utah desert where she taught herself high school and spent most of her time writing both novels and music. In later years, as a mother of four, she attended Dixie State University and became the first creative writing graduate in the school’s history. She completed two semesters of Carlow University’s Creative Writing Masters of Fine Arts program, which included intense writing training in Dublin, Ireland, and recently graduated with her Master’s degree in Educational Psychology through the University of Utah.

1 COMMENT

  1. You found the root of the problem. A lot of states are with the times and understand unconditional love. Judgement toward the lgbt community is because there is fear from insecurities within the people judging. Utah really needs you Josh. You have such a pure perspective that is lacking in this town. Maybe your next article should be “What does “Good ol boys” really mean?

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