Tragedy has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in people.

There seems to have been two major responses to the recent gay teen suicides. Some members of the community have really stepped up and made attempts to reach out to these tormented youths with the Trevor Project and It Gets Better created by Dan Savage. I’ve watched through a few of the It Gets Better videos, and one of the videos that has really stayed with me the most is Dave Holmes’

Some of the  parts that really resonated with me:

“I felt that I had somehow chosen to be different…and I had chosen wrong.”
“People that I looked up to…when they would talk about somebody who they perceived as gay, that’s all that person was…That scared me to death, because I felt like a real person and I wanted to be perceived as a real person.”

On the other hand, influential people, such as Boyd K. Packer, a leader in the Mormon church have suddenly become very outspoken in their beliefs against homosexuality.

The not-so-influential populace has also had a strong response to the suicides, which has resulted in a number of hate crimes. The one that has impacted me the most was the “gang” beating in New York. Nine young male squatters lured 3 gay men into their house and tortured and beat them for hours.

Obsessing about this event got me wondering, as an advocate for human rights, how do you begin to combat such acts? I am of the mindset that this specific instance stemmed from both a deep-seeded fear of their own sexuality, as well as the age old story of fighting minority groups. Combating something like that would involve changing the mind of a culture–No, changing the mind of multiple cultures, as homosexuals are currently the scapegoats in just about every minority culture, right now.

If you’re looking for some large answer to this question, I don’t have it, but I do think the first step is changing our laws. If a group of people is not recognized as people by the government, then what hope do we have to change the minds of its citizens? While trickle down effect may not work with the economy, it sure as hell seems to work socially. Just look at the Civil Rights movement. People’s minds change slowly, but ultimately, they seems to follow the laws of their country (at least in America).

When a person or a group of people perceive themselves as “different” they naturally attack those who they perceive as “more different.” That  means we must make homosexuality a normal and natural part of our culture in order for these horrific events to decrease in number. That’s a long road to haul from where we currently stand.

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