Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What He Didn't Say

[TW: violence, hate crimes, homobigotry]

Our anti-equality friend Playful Walrus recently wrote about the violent murder of gay teenager Lawrence King.

As sincere as he may have been, his post was *clears throat* kinda "problematic." Not only because I thought it cheap and tacky for him to play gotcha about alleged hypocrisy on "the Left" within an article that was supposedly about expressing sympathy for a death, but also because I found Playful Walrus' post to be incredibly... empty.

He is a Christian man who writes a lot about his faith, indeed some might say he "flaunts it," and yet all he had to offer was a post that, at best, could be most aptly by his statement: "Unless King was coming to school dressed in weaponry or explosives, there was no reason to kill him."

A noble statement but, like, also a no-brainer. You're not supposed to think it's okay to kill LGBT people! You are awarded no cookies, medals, or special points for agreeing to that.

I mean, is it really a huge gigantic olive branch to extend for opponents of equality to tell us they don't believe we should die just for being gay? In all that one could draw on from the Christian faith about compassion, kindness, and suffering this post was the best he could do?

When Melissa McEwan, at Shakesville, wrote of the violent, racist hate crime perpetrated upon James Craig Anderson, what Walrus didn't say about Lawrence King really stood out to me.

For one, he didn't extend sincere condolences, or even any condolences, to the family of Lawrence King. Instead, he shamed both King and his family by stating that King's "mental issues [regarding being gay and cross-dressing] were accomodated," implying that King and his family were partly responsible for his death.

He didn't express his sympathies to LGBT and other gender-nonconforming people, especially schoolchildren, who might feel a little less safe because of King's murder.

He didn't acknowledge how society and individuals might have failed Lawrence King (and his killer) by communicating the idea that it's wrong to hate and inflict violence upon others solely because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender presentation. Instead, he backs up with his hands in the air and hyperdefensively insisted that "religious or conservative disapproval of homosexual behavior or public cross-dressing" should not be blamed for the violence.

He failed to examine explanations for King's murder, instead treating the incident as though it was a completely isolated incident that sprung forth from the aether.

He didn't acknowledge that homophobia is not yet over in the US or recognize that fear of violence is a pervasive concern for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Instead, he wrote a gotcha post merely noting that it's wrong to kill the gays but people like him aren't at all to blame. In fact, enough about Lawrence King and anti-gay hate crimes, let's talk about how Christian anti-equality opponents have entirely clean hands because the people who actually go out and kill LGBT people are the real bigots and haters. Meanwhile, the people like Walrus, we are to believe, are just "good, clean, regular everyday folk."

The whole narrative is a great example of what privilege looks like. And, I note Walrus' post only because it's such a common sentiment to think that not actually engaging in physical violence is somehow "enough" to place oneself completely outside cycles of violence and aggression.

Well, newsflash, it's not.

Related: Narratives in the Lawrence King Case

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