Friday, July 6, 2012
When I read recently, about the young lesbian couple who had been shot in the head in Texas, I was taken aback. But what really struck me were the comments left by readers of the article.
There seemed to be a general consensus that the journalist (written by MSNBC) was sensationalizing the story by pointing out that the girls were lesbians, and thus turning it into an issue.
The thing is, I wanted to agree with them. But I couldn't.
I wanted to agree because I wanted to believe we live in a world where a person's sexuality isn't something that could get them killed. I wanted to believe we lived in a world where race and gender and ethnicity are non-factors in how we view each other.
But I know that we don't live in that world. Not yet.
As a writer, I make deliberate choices about the characters in my books. I try to present the world as I see it. A world with gay people and black people and Jewish people and Asian people and mean people and nice people. Some of the people I know are many of those things at the same time. And when I write about them, I try not to make those characteristics an issue. Because in my world, they're not.
The truth, though, is that as long as we continue to see these characteristics in other people, it will continue to be an issue. I'd like to live in a world where a journalist wouldn't need to point out the sexuality of two murder victims (hell, I'd like to live in a world where I don't have to read about people being killed at all!), but it's not the journalist who is turning their sexuality into an issue. It's the people that hurt them. The racists, the homophobes, the judgmental assholes who think that their religion or skin color or place of birth makes them superior to everyone else...they're the ones who have made these things an issue.
And the best thing we can do, is continue to shine a light in the dark places so that these twisted deeds don't go unpunished, and so that the lives of their victims are never forgotten.