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Friday, May 28, 2010

A Heavy Post

  This man is Peter Karlsson and to date he is the only professional hockey player to come out as gay during his career. 15 years ago he was playing in his 11th pro season in Sweden and was a pretty popular player. While walking home from a post-game night on the town, the Orebo defenseman was attacked and killed by a skinhead. The hate-filled young man used the "gay panic" defense, and despite Peter Karlsson being stabbed 64 times, Miitri Lehto was sentenced to a mere 8 years in prison and is now a neo-nazi icon. Karlsson's teammates organized benefit games and protest marches after the verdict, but Peter Karlsson is still dead simply because someone hated him for who he was.

  How is this relevant to today? Well, simple. As the debate rages in the United States related to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", far-right wingnuts are pulling out all of the stops to make sure everyone knows how much they hate gays. From fraudulently representing Hitler as a homo to promoting the old preconception of recruit, all is fair according to the newest incarnation of the Klansman. Gays are being portrayed as cross-dressing, violent, AIDS-infected rapists by politicians who just want to see anything related to that dark looking dude fail. But this vitriolic spew gives ammunition to people who rape, maim, and murder homosexuals. Just like Peter Karlsson, all of my friends who have died due to the caustic mindset of another have names. Two of my friends had their brains blown out on my 20th birthday by an "everyday" guy who thought he was doing the work of God. Others have been stabbed, shot, and beaten to death. My homeboy Rahim was thrown from the balcony of his 22nd-floor apartment. Junior, Deanna, Joe, and all the others are gone because someone believed filthy, divisive rhetoric.

  When people are seen as a group or a label by another, as opposed to distinct living beings, rights become distorted. If the scum-spewers are forced to view those they preach against as human beings with names and faces they may be inclined to let them be. It was indeed the nazis who viewed humans as collectives, as labels, in order to convince their flock to view others as inferior. When people lose their individuality and form cultish factions they also view others in the same way. Individuals become melted into a plastinated, dehumanized compendium. And it makes it easy, almost trendy, to hate.

  We need to become aware of the fact that when one group is subjugated with ease, others follow. When they are done with the Mexicans and the gays they will need a new target. And when the neo-cons are done with foreigners, gays, jews, blacks and others they see as inferior, they might just decide that YOU are next. And there will be nobody left to stand up in your defense.

Think twice before you decide that you are better than any other man simply because of the way you were born.

Be well.

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