There was a catastrophic hate crime committed in my state this weekend, as I'm sure many of you heard. Some guy shot dozens of people at a gay club and approximately fifty people died. Even though some talking heads are suggesting this is just another senseless act of Muslim terrorism, it's evident that it is a targeted, specific act of homophobia, and that plenty of people violently hate our community.
Here's a collection of tweets in which people shamelessly celebrate that gay people were the targets.
The "gays" are considered guilty here. I mean, I guess if you're a homophobic jackass who believes being gay is a sin, you believe they're committing crimes just because they love who they want to love. Oh, and in the spirit of Christian love, the "guilty" should be gunned down and killed without trial--not a process they believe should apply to "guilty" people in other contexts--and they're actively gloating and feeling justified at seeing so many people dead. Some of the people at that link above, predictably, ramble on about how this is obviously God's judgment. (Somehow when tragedies happen in their communities or to one of their own, it doesn't suggest God wants them to change anything. It's transparently hypocritical, but they don't care.)
This reminds me of the time the Hunger Games trailers came out and people were upset that the character Rue was cast as a little black girl. The fact that she was explicitly described as black in the book didn't seem to hit home with these people, because this character was also described as innocent, reminiscent of the protagonist's little sister, and in need of protection. It was a tragedy in the story when she died--one of the most moving events of the trilogy--but when the trailers came out, a whole mess of people ran to Twitter to announce that they did not like black Rue and that it messed with their sense that she was "innocent."
Innocent, to them, was a little white girl. Little black girls are automatically not "innocent" and cannot invoke the angelic image this character carries.
And they had absolutely no problem saying so publicly.
"Innocent" is such a disgusting word when used this way, because its counterpart is "guilty" and guilty = "deserved it." People are unashamed of applauding this murderer and labeling the victims as having had such a death coming to them. Because they were gay, or at least they were at a gay club. Execution. Death. Because this person does not personally accept gay people, and because he lives in a society where many, many people see their lives as a crime.
This is one of the many reasons why I hate the tendency our society has toward claiming we've achieved equality when the laws finally reflect common sense. In these folks' opinion, women became equal when they could vote, black people became equal when they were no longer slaves, and gay people stopped being oppressed when they could get married. What more do you want? they say. Your "issue" is solved. You are equal now. Your further dedication to awareness, pride, and activism is just about getting attention and shaming the rest of us, and all this political correctness is intolerable.
We did not need another shooting to remind us that oppression isn't over, though such sensationalistic, violent happenings do tend to wake people up when they refuse to look at the smaller things our community deals with. The microaggressions. The "tolerance." The awful representation in media. The fact that every tragedy is painted over with people blaming the shooters' supposed mental illness or religion and refusing to acknowledge this is an extreme manifestation of homophobia. The fact that people publicly crow about your well-deserved murder without fear of reprisal, because they believe it's self-evident that you shouldn't be alive and shouldn't be free. These are not just individual wingnuts. When one person is willing to open fire on a crowd of your people, it's partly because people taught that person to hate you. Taught them it's natural to hate you. Taught them the answer to hating someone is to destroy them. The people who won't go that far are still feeding into the violence. Every time someone tweets "thank God more gays are dead," they're creating fuel for the next fire.