If you came here to read about fantasy literature and want to keep the political views of your authors separate from that, you should skip this post. Also if repeated uses of profanity offend you, you should go visit someplace else for a little while.
Because I’m pissed, and this is my website, so I get to say whatever the fuck I want while I’m here. I had this whole piece mostly written about my gay friends and the pain they’ve been through just for being gay and how upsetting it is to me that gay rights is still something that we even question in this country. I had a whole reasoned response to Rick Perry’s asinine campaign ad about the “war on religion” and gays in the military, but that went out the window this morning.
Because I read this. Go ahead, click the link. I’ll wait.If you want to skip my diatribe and do something about it, just scroll to the bottom. I get a little bitchy for the next few paragraphs. But I think I mentioned that I was pissed off.
Short answer, a teen in Tennessee killed himself this week because his classmates made his life miserable over being gay. Honestly, the article doesn’t say whether or not Jacob Rogers was gay, and it doesn’t matter. Even is he was straight, somebody decided he was a fag, so they made his life a living hell. They forced him to drop out of school, and eventually they convinced him that his life wasn’t worth living.
Of course he was wrong. We all know that. At least, those of us who have survived the hormonal maelstrom that is high school (and a goodly chunk of college) know that. But a seventeen-year-old boy in the backwoods of Tennessee doesn’t know that. And now we’ll never know what he would have grown up to be. He might have been a doctor, lawyer, actor, athlete, factory worker, father, husband or minister.
But now he won’t. Because he’s dead. Because he decided that it hurt too much to keep going. Because one night, he forgot that It Gets Better. Or maybe he didn’t know about the Trevor Project. Or maybe he just didn’t believe that it would get better. Maybe he looked around and saw people campaigning for President that want to keep him be a second-class citizen, despite the history our nation has of establishing freedoms, not taking them away. Maybe he heard one time too many that he was going to Hell for his sexuality, despite there being NO POINT IN THE GOSPEL where Jesus condemns homosexuality. NONE. Not one.
So yeah, I posted on Facebook that I think Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann should pay for this boy’s funeral. Because I do believe that they indirectly contributed to his death. Their rhetoric of hatred and fear made it all right for people to condemn this child. Their rhetoric contributed to the climate of fear that he had to live in, that ultimately killed him. Because when you work to remove basic human rights from a group of people, you’re actively working to dehumanize those people. And when you take away someone’s humanity, you can do whatever you want to them. That’s what this debate has morphed into. It’s not about marriage, an institution that obviously has no fucking sanctity given the enormous divorce rate in our country. It’s not about family values, which are as different from family to family as shoe sizes. It’s just another fucking sound bite to pigeonhole a section of the electorate.
Until somebody ends up dead. Again.
Here’s your part. And mine. There are several organizations that work very hard to keep shit like this from happening, and a couple of them I support with all my heart. And my wallet. This year for Christmas, I’ll be supporting The Trevor Project and The It Gets Better Project. Both of these are initiatives I believe in very strongly, and I’ll put my money where my mouth is. I’ll be donating to each of these charities, and for every $1 that you donate, I’ll give you one entry to win one of the two Kindle Fires that I’m giving away this month. Just email me a copy of your donation receipt, and you’ll be entered into the drawing. Email me at Johnhartness AT gmail DOT com. And for a $30 donation to It Gets Better, they’ll send you a t-shirt and you’ll get a bunch of entries.
Don’t let this continue. Work to fight hatred and prejudice in your community. Give to these two charities to help on a national level. Save a kid. You might have been them once.