On January 11, a man left a Dunkin Donuts in Edgewater, Illinois heading to the nearby L station when he was attacked by a stranger who had also been in the store. The victim was hoping police would catch the man who broke his shoulder. The only reason he could figure for the assault was that he was gay.
One could assume that this was an isolated incident, of some random stranger, attacking someone for such a benign reason, but sadly, being a member of the LGBT community puts one at risk from attacks by a bigoted segment of the public. Since the beginning of the year, 12 men have been assaulted, most resulting in severe injuries for being or suspected of being gay. Vandalism to property has been reported, and four members of the LGBT community have been murdered – all in the first month of the new year.
While there is growing and solid support for our LGBT friends, coworkers, acquaintances and family members, there is a growing hatred for this segment of our population by people who have no qualms at using any tool at their disposal to oppress, legislate or destroy those they have targeted. It is this vocal and sometimes vicious minority that make it dangerous for people to live in peace and safety. No one should have to live in fear, just because they exist, but that is a reality for too many.
What makes this trend to legitimize hatred and violence so horrible, is seen in the actions in state governments, as state after state introduces legislation intended to strip away human rights, dignity and freedoms from the LGBT community. Several of these bills fall under the so-called religious freedom category, which is merely code-speak for giving someone the freedom to use their religion as a legal excuse to treat another human being horribly.
Then we look at the White House and see it’s no better there. Three key figures, Mike Pence, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway all are on the record as anti-LGBT bigots as are most of Trump’s cabinet picks. The Bigot-In-Chief hasn’t shown anything but contempt for the American people, so any support from him is as likely as his giving away his riches and joining a nudist colony.
Bigotry, is a blight on our society, that won’t be going away soon. The GOP has been given too much power and control to those who want to promote and foster this kind of hatred, not caring how many lives it destroys. We can’t let them do that to our neighbors – any of our neighbors.