My heart is broken.
Tuesday night a 37 year-old black man was shot by 2 white officers. Alton Sterling was shot at close range while on his back in a parking lot, with both officers holding him down.
This morning a young black man was fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota, while his girlfriend and her 4 year-old girl watched helplessly.
Tonight during a peaceful protest in Dallas, (due to these two and I assume many other shootings) 11 police officers have been shot and 4 are dead. Reportedly shot by snipers from an elevated position. (this is information being shared live on CBSDFW.com)
I sit in disbelief. Stunned. What has our country come to? Seriously…I do not understand the hate.
I understand why black Americans are angry.
I understand why black Americans are afraid.
I also understand why our police officers are fearful.
I do not understand how Americans can continue to open fire on fellow citizens.
I believe black lives matter
I believe brown lives matter
I believe in backing the blue
I believe LGBTQ lives matter
I believe white lives matter
I believe Asian lives matter
I believe Muslim lives matter
I believe Jewish lives matter
I believe ALL lives matter
My heart truly hurts…
So many news stories and so many theories and so many questions. The hardest question and the one everyone seems to be trying to answer is…why?
I guess my answer is, “Does it matter why a terrible person chose to walk into a bar and take 49 lives…innocent lives?”
Does it matter if he was a terrorist? Does it matter if he was homophobic? No matter the answer, those young men and women are still dead and no matter the answer that reality is not going to change.
Now I do think there is one possible answer to the question (Why?) that would disturb me more than any other. If this disturbed man took the lives of vibrant members of the LGBTQ community because he feared his own feelings of homosexuality. This answer would cause me to be horribly disturbed.
The reality is self loathing homophobia is not unusual. Sadly many children have been raised by well intentioned parents to hate themselves. Parents that believe their hateful words towards the gay community will teach their children to avoid making the “choice” to “join” the LGBTQ community. When in fact what their words do is force their child to internalize hate.
When our preachers, rabbis and imams stand before their congregations and preach hatred toward LGBTQ people what they are teaching the gay boy or lesbian girl, sitting before them, is that God hates them.
Our society, our families and our churches teach young LGBTQ people they are not worthy of love. It wasn’t that long ago that we rallied around the young people in our community and told them not to kill themselves, it will get better. Now I hear news outlets questioning if this young man hated himself enough to kill total strangers.
A few years ago I got into a debate with a woman on Facebook. A woman I did not know. I felt a need to reason with her, explain to her why her homophobic words could be hurtful to her son and daughter. I tried to tell her if by some chance one of her children happened to be gay and all they heard throughout their childhood was hateful words about gays, then their immediate assumption will be that she hates them..even if she gave birth to them.
I do not mean to jump to conclusions about “why” the shooter took the lives of the innocent men and women at the Pulse nightclub. But earlier today, when news outlets started sharing information that indicated he might have visited more than one gay club and he may have used a gay app….it dawned on me how much of our society is truly to blame. If this is true then we not only get to blame the Muslims, we also get to blame the Christians that teach gays to hate themselves. I realize there are good parents that love their children whether they are gay or straight. I also realize there are many Muslims, Jews and Christians that love their LGBTQ neighbors. But those who do preach hatred and those that feel people in the LGBTQ community deserve death must step up and accept their role in this recent tragedy.
Have you ever been afraid to go to the bathroom?
Weird question huh?
I am uncomfortable going to the bathroom each and every time I use a public facility.
I worry each time I walk into a women’s restroom that someone will look at me with “that” look and tell me I am in the wrong restroom.
I am a masculine woman, I’m tall, I have short hair and I wear masculine clothes…but I am a woman. I have no desire to be a man. I certainly have no desire to use the men’s restroom!
The reason I bring this up is because I’ve heard one too many news reports about yet another state passing a law that will focus on who is allowed to use which restroom.
When did my country become so petty that our local and state governments felt they needed to dictate toilet usage?
I keep hearing….you have to use the bathroom that coincides with your birth certificate. Must we begin carrying our birth certificate?
My gender actually does coincide with my birth certificate….yet I am regularly challenged by other women that assume I don’t know which bathroom to use.
For the most part I can handle myself. I use non-gender specific restrooms, I know every restaurant that has single toilet bathrooms and as my friends will tell you…they are forced to accompany me to the bathroom when out in public.
However, my concern falls to the young men that have realized they are truly female. Please…..please….please….think about how absolutely frightening it would be for a young transgender woman that will be forced to use the mens room. Do we really think she will be safe? Does it matter to the fear-mongers that a transgender woman could be raped? Beaten up? Possibly even killed? I suspect they think she deserves it.
You may be asking how this fits into a year of gratitude. I guess if I were you I would be asking the same question. The reality is, the people who are passing these laws are in the minority. I believe most people are educated and socially aware enough to realize the fears we are being fed are ridiculous.
It is you, the people reading this. The people that choose not to judge others. The people that understand not everyone fits the typical male/female role. It’s you that I am thankful for. You are appreciated by me and every other person that needs to know there are people in this country and in this world that are not afraid of our differences and even embrace our uniqueness. Thank you….i am grateful for you.
I had a conversation today that disturbed me.
I was talking with one of my clients and his aunt. The aunt was telling me about some of the new experiences the client was enjoying. She then told me about her nephew’s desire to ride the city bus downtown by himself and eat lunch.
She explained that he had learned to ride the bus and she would let him go, but she wasn’t ready to let him go alone. My immediate thought was she worried about him getting lost or robbed, her actual fear never dawned on me.
The client is a young black man with autism. To see him walking down the street people would not immediately recognize his disability.
She began explaining her concern. If her nephew is stopped by a police officer it is possible that he will become nervous and when he becomes nervous he starts waving his arms and talking in circles. The officer could easily misunderstand his reaction and react negatively in return.
I looked at the young man sitting next to me. I felt powerless. I felt fear for this young man. He is such a kind and gentle guy and I instantly understood her fear.
Not only was I upset at the fear I felt for this young man I was also angry that people have to worry about protecting their children from the very people that are paid to protect all of us.
There was a time when I would advice my clients to seek out an officer for help. Now I have to second guess whether that is a good idea.