8.19.10 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshotFollowing the news lately has been an emotional roller coaster. We have the amazing ruling in California that overturned Proposition 8, clearing the way (hopefully) for same-sex couples to get legally married in the nation’s most populous state. We also have our own Florida politicians, who are once again using the LGBT community as a wedge issue.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum is so worried about his chances to secure his party’s nomination that he attacked the LGBT community by saying that not only does he support the state’s ban on gay men and lesbians adopting children, but that he would consider creating a similar ban on the state’s foster parenting laws.

The recent tour of the National Organization of Marriage in our state and throughout the country preaching the “dangers” of same-sex marriage brought out the best and the worst in people—including our community’s successful counter-protests and one woman’s poster eluding that hanging gays is better than allowing them to celebrate their love legally.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but what so many anti-LGBT people fail to see is the serious harm they bring to people they have never met.

Recently I was on Facebook (again) and was chatting with a person in Kentucky whom I have never had the pleasure of meeting in person. In fact, the conversation I had with him that weekend was maybe the third time we had ever exchanged pleasantries. But the conversation itself was anything but pleasant.

My Facebook friend, who I’ll call “Tim,” told me he was depressed because he couldn’t find a boyfriend. After some light sentences about me hooking him up with a single pal or two, he changed his tone dramatically and told me about his plans to end his life with a shotgun.

Here was a person I had never met who was telling me he was planning on ending his life that very afternoon. He said he had the gun loaded, had planned out his note and that he was confident that no one would miss him.

He had put me in a situation that no one wants to be in. I could very possibly be the last person he “spoke” with before he died. He told me that he wasn’t close with his family and that his mother wouldn’t be too disappointed to see that he had gone.

I typed frantically to convince him that there were many people who undoubtedly cared for him. I found a Kentucky-based help hotline for him to call and I also told him about a close friend of mine who committed a similar act not too long ago and how I am still upset with that person for following through.

But mostly, I found myself getting angry. I was angry at this man whom I knew so little about for putting me in the role of counselor; I was angry at myself for getting sucked into the conversation; and I was angry at society for still making it so difficult for LGBT people to simply be who we are.

Despite the values that many candidates and people of faith profess to invoke, the anti-LGBT mouthpieces are still convincing LGBT people that they are not worthy of love—and therefore not worthy of life. Murderous acts come in many forms, and it’s not always at the hands of a weapon-wielding enemy. It can come simply by actions or words.

Protests, boycotts and Facebook groups are all starting points in the fight for equality, but in that fight we can’t forget the sometimes irreparable harm so many in our community endure.

After I logged off my profile that weekend I went about my day and enjoyed my evening, but the conversation stayed in my head. It made me wonder how so much hate against us can still exist and how those without support systems can survive.

Fortunately, a few days later, I received an e-mail from “Tim” telling me that he didn’t have the courage to go through with his plan. I just hope that even though he doesn’t know me personally, he sees the positive things coming for our community in the future—and that he holds on long enough to see them come true.

Equality is inevitable.

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