Cultural Environment in Bible Belt promotes Gay Hate Crimes

Another obvious hate crime occurs in Tulsa, Oklahoma. These kinds of attacks are starting to get the attention and recognition from the local media that they deserve, but we have a long way to go before we are treated the same way as other suspect classes when they are attacked simply for being who they are.

Actually, a straight friend of mine was the one who notified me of this particular attack. He wanted to relay his experience at his day labor job site where he was working. He was disturbed that his coworkers, who consisted of four blue collar types, were not the least bit ashamed to laugh and make fun of the victim, during the segment on the local television news, while proclaiming, “Hahaha! That is what those f*ggots get for being there!” My friend felt compelled to tell me their reaction because he knows I’m active in civil rights for the LGBT community. If our government is serious about sending any message to our LGBT youth that “It gets better,” then they need to follow through on the promises made to our community that we will no longer be treated as second class citizens, and subject to state sanctioned discrimination and even violent assaults simply for being gay.

There is a pervasive cultural attitude by certain segments of society, especially in the southern United States, that LGBT people deserve to be attacked. There was a time when African Americans experienced this treatment and was completely ignored by the state. Imagine what would happen on a job site had an African American been assaulted and the workers taunted the victim by saying, “The (n-word) deserved what he got for being there!” Yes, less than sixty years ago those words would have been tolerated, embraced and even celebrated as part of the Southern culture. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now, even though they’ve simply chosen the LGBT community as their acceptable state sanctioned scapegoat.

Maybe next Thanksgiving we will be able to celebrate being more full and equal citizens of our own country? This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for the resolve to never give up and keep fighting until we have every single right all other Americans enjoy.

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