Tyler Clementi and Unexplainable Hate

Unless you’re living at the bottom of a mineshaft, you’ve heard this tragic story. A college student jumps to his death after an intimate encounter with another man is secretly videotaped and broadcast via the internet.

On NPR this morning there was a panel discussion about the lack of support groups for LGBT students on college campuses. This is tragic for two reasons. The first reason is obvious. The second is that there is a need for any kind of support system at all, as if they had cancer, or were alcoholics; as if there was something WRONG with them. Why do we still live in a society where people can be made to feel that they are “other” because of something which is now known to be a matter of biology?  (For that matter, of a different religion, a different color, a different country?)

We should all be better than that.

There are a lot of people and organizations that can be “blamed” for this, including religious organizations which insist that they are an “abomination” and misinformed people (way, way too many of those around, btw, and not just on this topic) who think that it’s “contagious” or something.

Let’s state the obvious: most people who are gay have been born to and raised by heterosexuals. Many many gay couples raise children, children who are loved and nurtured and respected, who grow up to be “straight.”

Let’s consider the argument that this is a “choice”: Most people who are gay struggle against this realization, and often risk familial and/or social ostracization if they reveal their true nature. Does anyone still believe that this is some kind of rebellion, enacted to seek revenge on their parents or to try to undermine the institution of marriage? For that matter, how does the fact of two people, of any gender, committing to a life together undermine MY marriage? Would it be better if they were single, promiscuous?

We’re not even really talking about an issue of “tolerance” here; what am I “tolerating”? The right of someone to correctly identify their own nature and live a life free of prejudice and hate?

This is merely an issue of respect. No one should be secretly videotaping anyone’s intimate encounters; no one should be posting these videotapes without the videotapee’s permission; no one should be made to feel that he or she did something wrong based on the disrespectful, heinous acts of others.

We should all be better than that.

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