Day 26 Question 26
What are your thoughts on homosexuality/hate crimes?
I want to first start this blog entry off by dedicating it to all of those individuals and their family members who have been subjected to hate crimes. A great deal of saddens has taken over my heart thinking about those that have been tortured or murdered just for being who they are. I wish hatred like this did not exist.
I have watched 2 documentaries in the last couple of days (yes I am on a documentary kick). One is called FagBug and the other is A Dream in Doubt (Please check them both out—I enjoyed both very much and they were both gave me a big dose of perspective). In both documentaries people were victimized just for being who they are. Why is this country (yes, I know it happens all over the world-but I am focusing on the country I live in) like this? How can people have that much hatred in themselves to brutally assault or kill someone based on their sexual orientation or their ethnic heritage? I seriously cannot wrap my brain around it. We live in this country/world that has been so overtaken by stereotypes. I admit that I have stereotyped people myself. This is a difficult thing to say but after 9/11 it was hard to see Muslims walking around and not make an assumption that they were tied to terrorism in some way. But I also knew this was extreme ignorance on my part. I have stereotyped other cultures as well and I am embarrassed to admit it but I will admit it. I have stereotyped Mexican men and assumed they all look at women like sex objects. I have gone as far as to say I would not want to be stuck in a dark alley with a Mexican. How ignorant was that thinking? A lot has changed though. I currently work at a restaurant that is owned by an Indonesian woman. She has staff members that are from Indonesia, Thailand, Honduras and Mexico. Her manager is a gay white male. Her restaurant is a bullseye for discrimination. I have learned more than I could ever imagine while working here. Our cook is from Guatemala and he is one of the kindest most loving people I have ever met. I love going to work and meandering into the kitchen and seeing his face light up with excitement because I am there. I am so proud to call him my friend. He is nothing like the stereotype of Mexicans that unfortunately I had held onto for longer than I should have. Yes, there are Mexican men out there that treat women like sex objects but there are American, Asian and black men that do the same thing. Working at this restaurant has been this amazing opportunity to see culture outside of my own. I would sit in the back of the restaurant on slow nights and talk to one of the chefs that was from Indonesia. He has worked on cruise lines and has been to many parts of the world. I listened to him tell me stories and through his words and facial expressions he would show so much pride in his country. He loved being in the United States because of the opportunities and he had family and friend connections but he was so proud of his heritage. He loved having the opportunity to experience both of these things. He is a Muslim. Not ever could I look at him and think he could possibly be a terrorist. He has more love in his heart for people (of any cultural background) that most people I know have. He was one of the most endearing and caring people anyone would ever meet. He would give up all he has to help someone else and their race of religion would not even be a consideration in the matter. This restaurant is a big cultural melting pot that is filled with some of the most unique, beautiful people there are. We are truly a family and I find that to be so fulfilling in my life. I feel lucky to have been exposed to people of such different backgrounds and to learn more about cultures that I knew very little. I wish more people had this opportunity so they could potentially erase their prejudices and hatred. I believe people are ignorant and hold these prejudices because they choose not to expose themselves to other cultures. To be honest, I think some people fear that they are going to actually like or enjoy spending time with people of other cultures or sexual orientation and they do not want this to happen because it goes against what they have been taught and what they have known all of their lives. Bill O’Reilly was on The View one day and said, “Muslims are responsible for 9/11.” How could this “political role-model” say something so outlandish. Yes, the EXTREMISTS that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were Muslims but how can you blame an entire race for that? I guarantee that the Muslim people I work with would NEVER support these kind of actions and that is because their love is strong for humankind. They don’t see race, religion, sexual-orientation, etc. His statement was one of the most ignorant things I have ever heard in my life and he should hang his head in absolute shame for saying such a thing. I want to scream at the top of my lungs that PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE!!! I do not understand how we live in a country called the UNITED Stated and are so divided. We have this great opportunity to embrace all of these different cultures and lifestyles and learn so much more about the world outside of ourselves and we reject it. I don’t understand that. We have this beautiful classroom called life and we sit in our corner never asking questions or raising our hands. We live in a world full of violence and hate and are losing focus of love. In my opinion, love should be the only answer. Maybe that sounds like a “hippie” way of thinking but it is how I feel. I know I can’t change the world all by myself but I can change myself. I can bring awareness to my own ignorance and prejudices and choose to educate myself and expose myself to things outside of my norm. How many times have you made a snap judgment about someone based on their race, religion or sexual orientation and after spending time with them you found out how wrong your judgment was? It is natural to judge but it is unnatural to keep that judgment if we don’t choose to learn about someone or something. Don’t keep judging and be ignorant all at the same time.
In the documentary FagBug a female college student, who just happens to be gay, has the word Fag spray painted on her car. After strong contemplation she decides to take a stand and use her voice. She does not get the words cleaned off her car but instead drives her car across the country to raise awareness and hate crimes. The story is a beautiful one because you see so many people brought together and she made this HUGE impact from one small idea. Just trust me on this and check it out. I have stated before that I believe people are born gay. There is so much controversy on this issue and the question of whether this is the case is always on the table. Whether it is or not people have the choice to be who they feel most comfortable with being. I hear so many people say, “I don’t want to see it.” Well I don’t want to see extreme displays of public affection by ANYONE. I don’t care if they are gay, straight, black, white, purple or green. If you feel like dry humping then take it behind closed doors, I don’t care what sexual orientation you are. ;0) Love is love though. Not one person should be denied their rights to love who they love or to marry that person if that is what they want. I know many would disagree with me and say that marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman. I have yet to hear a GOOD reason as to why and if you know me, you know I don’t want to hear because the Bible says so. The Bible says a lot of things that people pick and choose what to adhere to. Just because you say you follow Christ doesn’t mean you are a Christian. People say one thing and do another all of the time. I will say again that I am unsure of my religious/spiritual beliefs but I do have a hard time believing that if God really did exist that he would want people to spew hatred or harm others. Serious hatred seems so unnatural to me and I wish it did to others as well. I understand annoyance and anger when things do not go a certain way but I just do not understand hating someone so much that you would wish bad things to happen to them or possibly inflict the harm yourself. In the documentary FagBug there is reference to a young man named Ryan Skipper that was brutally killed (stabbed 19 times and had his throat slashed) and the 2 men that did this stole his car and road around town bragging that they killed a fag. I seriously cannot understand hatred like that. Do they truly feel that way or is it learned behavior? How can people hurt, harm or murder someone they do not even know just based on part of their character. My manager at the restaurant is gay and he is one of my nearest and dearest friends. He is my family. We have a long running joke that we are going to get married because he is the only man I would be able to put up with. My mom even said she wishes he wasn’t gay so we could be together. That is how amazing he really is. His homosexuality has absolutely nothing to do with his kind, giving nature. I swear that sometimes he is the male version of me. We think very similarly and have many of the same points of view. We tend to see the world in very similar ways. The only thing I want for him is happiness. Each and every day I hope he experiences way more happiness than sadness or pain. I would be absolutely destroyed and devastated if anything were to ever happen to him. This is a person that is WAY more than just his sexuality. I keep saying it over and over again but I just don’t understand hatred. I don’t understand how people can take it to a level that they are willing to take a person’s life. I feel like people have really become confused as to what pride really is. I am proud to be an American. I am proud to be a woman. I am proud to be a daughter. I am proud to be a friend. I am proud to be me in any and all forms. This does not make me better than ANYONE. I am proud that I accept others and embrace others. I believe this is what pride is really about. Being able to love yourself but also love and embrace those around you. Why stay in your bubble day in and day out? Ask yourself if you have hatred for someone or some group whether that hatred is based on your true and honest beliefs or whether you are hating because someone else told you that is what you are supposed to be doing. Are you trying to impress someone? I know I have been a follower before. I don’t like being a follower because that means I don’t really have a voice. That makes me someone’s puppet. Ask yourself (and I mean really think about it), are you someone’s puppet? You don’t have to be. Ask yourself, am I hating someone else because I do not love myself or because I actually hate myself? I will always recommend people to use tact and discretion. Choose your words wisely so you don’t hurt others but let your voices be heard and take a stand. People really don’t need to be so hateful. To hate is a choice. I wanted to leave you with some links of websites that I found that I thought would open your mind a little bit. I am just asking for all of my readers (and please pass this along to everyone you know-yes I want more blog followers but it is the message that is most important to me) to take the time out to love instead of hate. When you feel the anger balling up inside of you take a deep breath and ask if it is really worth it or ask what benefit there is to harming or hurting someone else even if it is with just words. Love the people around you. I believe love is contagious. Don’t stoop to the level of hatred because nothing good ever comes from hatred. So much good comes from love, respect and kindness. There are opportunities around you each and every day to learn. Although you may not agree with where others comes from you still get the chance to see life from a different perspective. Don’t reject that. Embrace that. To all of my readers, I love you very much…yes I say that without even knowing some of you. Love yourself and it will make it that much easier to love others. I hope your day is filled with overwhelming happiness.
Woah there! You sure know how to make long posts! 😀
Certainly, we all are prejudiced against something, even when we say we are not. For example, some time ago I couldn’t help but think that girls/boys who were… good-looking, were stupid and shallow. Since then, I have met people that proved me wrong, and I’m very glad for it.
However, I would make a difference between “stereotypes” and “prejudices”. Stereotypes don’t have to be necessarily bad, because they have been useful for us to reach our actual state of development. They allow us to group things/people/whatever and make our comprehension of the world easier. On the other hand, prejudices are the worst form of stereotypes. They mean you’re so narrow-minded that you can’t take over the so-called stereotypes and see people/things/whatever as they really are. I don’t know if I have explained it well or I only confused things more…
Nice to read you 🙂
I’m a transgender man and was subject to 8 years of hell at my old home where the young people of the neighbourhood thought it was acceptable to call me faggot and poofter every time I left the house, beat up my teenage step-son, repeatedly broke into our home, threw rocks on our roof and broke our windows. A word with their parents only resulted in the harassment getting worse (presumably because the parents agreed their behaviour was appropriate). The police told us to ‘put up or ship out’. But we were stuck there for 8 years until I graduated from university. Then we sold (and made a packet in profit) and moved to a neighbourhood where the average house prices were much higher (to get away from losers like our old neighbours).
So I can understand how people are homophobic etc.
I don’t usually experience discrimination but have had “friends” tell me they don’t want to know about my personal life and that I should just identify as a man so that they can stay comfortable in their binary gendered view of the world. They tell me they don’t want to see me kiss my partner in public after they know I’m transgender. It was okay before when they thought I was a bio man but once they know I’m transgender it’s somehow a problem. Needless to say they aren’t in my life anymore because they’re not real friends. These people always say “but I’m not homophobic; I don’t throw my sexuality in your face so you shouldn’t throw yours in mine”. But all I’m doing is kissing my partner or holding her hand just like those people kiss their partners or hold their hands (we’re talking tasteful public kissing not full-on snogging). I tell them “you are homophobic and transphobic, and I choose not to have you in my life”. Because I can choose who is and isn’t in my life.
Andrew-Thank you so much for your response :0) This writing journal has made me itch to travel all over and meet people. I now want to meet you :0) I agree with you. I don’t mind people showing affectionate..gay, straight, bi, transgender, etc. I don’t want to see ANYONE full on practically humping anywhere. I am sorry you had to go through hell for as long as you did in your past neighborhood. I wish ignorance like that did not exist. I wish people were able to embrace what others have to offer. I do not know you personally but I know your life has been a journey and you have something, if not many things, you can teach people. It is sad that some people are just not willing to learn. I hope we continue to keep in contact :0)
sadly, I think all horrific crimes are hate crimes…but what makes me the saddest is that we have to make a law to protect people because they have a different sexual orientation or race. Our society seems to have a deep chasm that needs healing and I am not sure it will ever heal in our lifetime.
‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’
I believe that all prejudice stems from personal insecurity combined with a heavy dose of ignorance. it is far easier to “hate” someone for whatever manufactured reason than it is to amend their own lives. Those who have the largest rock piles amassed for the stone-throwing process probably don’t realize that their own houses are covered with very fragile glass – and there may be something about them which will serve to ignite the next target for someone else.
I came to this window/hole with so many thoughts and i’ve lost many threads, sooo many great points and beautifully written. Much respect to you for admitting your past judgements. I am with you, I do not understand how someone could do this, it just goes over my head, but, that maybe comes from being at 2 ends of the spectrum, haters and peace seekers. But I do totally understand the many many complex reasons why people end up thinking in this way, but the ACT is beyond me now. Cultures are so pervasive and I grew up in a lot of racial and criminal/violent surroundings, and by age 5, I saw that the first step to overcoming this for me, was to never succumb to treating people a certain way because of anything. I wish there was an easy answer, but i feel that peoples ignorance(ssss) can only be fixed if an open mind is in there somewhere. I was a violent teenager (not proud) and my sole reason for this was anger. The spark could be as small as a dodgy look, and I lost control. I think alot of mental health and deep seeted emotional damage causes people to go down this road. I hope someone with a small mind comes across this lovely post. You may wanna browse at my similar yet different take on blame! If so, here be the link, ramble ramble sorry, over and oooot! 😉 Dawny http://littlebeut333.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/think-before-you-jump-on-the-blame-trains/