October 2010 Archives

The Silver Lining of All the Hate

| No Comments

Cross-posted with Equal Writes*TRIGGER WARNING*

by Elizabeth Cooper

I feel like I'm "supposed" to feel one way or another about major LGBT news stories - generally some variation of happy or sad and/or mad. Let's complicate that original impulse. All of the stories Brenda mentioned are objectively, very sad. And the momentary win for same-sex marriage in California this summer was very happy and exciting. But there are other, perhaps unexpected, impacts of both stories.

Today, I went to a lunch about Bisexual Health, sponsored by Health Professions Advising, the LGBT Center, University Health Services, and Women's Center. One comment noted that in light of the general positive trend towards acceptance (exemplified by support for same-sex marriage), people have been expressing hate that much more vehemently. The presenter pointed out that while LGBT people already firm in their identity can brush off hateful words, these words can deeply hurt those still questioning their identities. The youth that are currently being highlighted in the media as victims and survivors of anti-gay sentiment are among those most vulnerable.

But there is a silver lining. In the wake of these heartbreaking deaths, we as a country are forced to take homophobia and transphobia seriously. LGBT youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterparts. These incidents have started a dialogue on what we as policy makers, teachers, students, etc. can do to help what is clearly still a problem.