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Why focus on the LGBT community?

Updated on June 16, 2016
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.

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People are people!

Here's the deal. I've never liked labels, but I understand why we have them.

Labels help us ensure that we know the difference between a bottle of water and a bottle of vinegar, for instance. Why do we need them for humans? Why can't we just look at someone and say, "How's it going?"

Labels on people require us to make a judgment in order to put people into a box we feel they best fit in. We spend our lives as parents encouraging our children to be who they want to be, to chase every dream, and to support those they care about as they go through life. We don't tell them to stick with "their kind" and we forget, sometimes, that other people are going through traumatic experiences all on their own.

Self-involved, we human beings are.

I was talking with someone about the Orlando shooting and about the various facets of the horrific tragedy that are currently being discussed by the courts of public opinion. He finally blew out a breath and said, basically, "Why are we looking so much at the LGBT community? They only make up a small part of the population."

In the 1940s, there was a lot of focus on the Jewish community, thanks to Hitler and his megalomaniacal pursuit of the perfect race. In the 1950s and the 1960s, it was African Americans, because the civil rights movement was in full swing and desegregation was rapidly sweeping across the United States. Since the 1990s, the LGBT population has gotten increasingly greater scrutiny.

It seems that with every new generation, we need to put a particular group under the microscope. At least for now, it appears that the LGBT community are in the uncomfortable position of being the ones under the microscope. Particularly now, just days after the massacre that took 49 lives, this should happen; the Orlando shooter deliberately took aim at an LGBT nightclub, whether it was for his own internalized (or externalized) homophobia, or because he was a self-radicalized terrorist of sorts, no one seems clear, but the urge is there to tear apart the situation to understand.

In the media, there have been reports that the shooter's father believes his son became enraged at seeing two men kiss. Certainly, he would not have been the first to react at the sight of two men kissing, but he is a man who exploded and attempted to destroy a community.

I simply don't understand why people can't just be happy that people are in love, and forget that it's two guys or two girls. What the hell does it matter? Why can't we just look at someone, give them the thumbs up that they are happy and in love and move on with our days? People have been embracing the LGBT community and rightfully so.

My problem is that people don't appear to understand why the LGBT community is bearing so much scrutiny. Few other groups in history have borne the brunt of so much hatred, and to be sure, the LGBT community is now one that is experiencing a great deal of hate-related crime, Orlando notwithstanding. Their supporters are also being targeted, simply because they have this crazy notion that there should not be any restrictions placed on who you fall in love with.

Bigotry takes all forms and it is sickening. The LGBT community deserves our respect, our empathy and our support, just as we all do, but there are still far too many groups and individuals who look at people who might represent as part of that spectrum as beyond the norm and therefore not worthy to take part in society. That is completely unacceptable, and we need to band together to ensure that we focus on what we can do to elevate everyone rather than harm each other.

Why do we focus on the LGBT community? Because they are victims of some of the biggest hate crimes and one of the biggest is a crime that I thought had been phased out when the last vestiges of segregation had been left safely in America's past. We focus on the LGBT community because, in spite of all our enlightened talk, we don't deliver. There are still too many people who deny the basic right of being able to hold their partner's hand without judgment, the ability to kiss each other without having to look around to see who's watching. If these rights had been denied to the hetero community, there would have been rioting in the streets, yet when the LGBT community still feels the need to look over their shoulder to ensure they can kiss or hug their partner without fear of reprisal, there's a distinct issue.

Let people just be, and the rest will fall into place.

People are People

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