If there is one thing that has been trending in the news lately, it is all of the horrendous anti-gay laws being passed or talked about in Russia and other countries that attempt to dehumanize or criminalize people for being born gay. In Russia, an anti-gay law was put in place to prevent “propaganda” by the LGBT community living there, in attempts to keep homosexuality from “harming” supposedly traditional relationships and to keep children from being exposed to it. What it has resulted in is people of the LGBT community being beaten, hunted down, kidnapped, and tortured in broad daylight, with the Russian police doing little, or nothing, to help, and the perpetrators facing almost no consequences for their actions. To top it off, Russia has also stopped allowing adoptions to America (and some other countries) because they don’t want the children going to gay couples. They are also attempting to pass a law that could remove children from the custody of their natural homosexual parents, or gay parents who had adopted children in the past.
Alexei Zhuravlyov of the United Russia ruling party stated “Homosexuals should not bring up children, it brings more harm than an orphanage.” Doing a quick Google search for “Russian Orphanages” will show how blatantly hateful and ignorant this statement is. A TIME magazine article states:
“Nearly all Russian children adopted by American parents have come from orphanages, where children 3 and under lose one IQ point for every month spent inside, researchers say. Russian orphans are more likely to have fetal alcohol spectrum disorder than those adopted from elsewhere. They are also, on average, older than adoptees from other countries and have spent more time institutionalized — the factor that most impedes adjustment to life in an adoptive home. (Doctors and agency workers who have visited the worst of these facilities in Russia have described zombie-like toddlers who sit alone, rocking back and forth, staring blankly or banging their head against walls.)”
“In most orphanages, children are bathed together with no hot water available. They dine on porridge and bits of chicken with no fresh fruits, vegetables or red meat available. They sleep in wards of typically 12 children on old mattresses with ragged blankets. Many of these facilities are under heated and toys or other tools to stimulate a child’s mind are scarce. Many of these orphans suffer from weakened immune systems and, thus, all manner of illness. Their mental, emotional and physical development often seriously stunted.”
Yeah… Those conditions sound much better than living in a warm, stable, home with parents who just happen to be the same gender. (I sincerely hope my sarcasm is noted…) But Russia doesn’t have a monopoly on evil anti-gay laws. Places like Uganda, and many Arab countries, make (or are attempting to make) being gay punishable by death.
I’m sure at this point, many people will breath a sigh of relief, resting in the belief that we live in America, where such horrible and blatant human rights violations don’t occur. But America hasn’t yet become such a bastion of light for the members of the world’s LGBT community either. In a majority of our states, gays in loving, committed relationships still can’t marry, and there are politicians still attempting to pass ridiculous “anti-sodomy” laws that would essentially make being in a gay relationship illegal (or at least being intimate in one). We also see news stories (if you care to pay attention) about gay couples being brutally attacked, beaten, and sometimes killed in the streets by gangs of bigots who can’t stand to see anyone that is different from them, not to mention the plague of bullying so severe that gay kids are taking their lives. These aren’t rare occurrences either (links listed after this entry):
July 1, 2013: Two transgender women are attacked in Washington D.C. Attacks that were part of a continuing bout of violence against the transgender community that began in mid June.
June 23, 2013: 4 men were arrested in Long Island for attacking and beating a gay couple
August 5, 2013: A gay man in Seattle is attacked and beaten resulting in a broken nose and scratches to arms and knees
September 1, 2013: Jared Fox is attacked by an anti-gay mob in Cleveland
More Recently October 29, 2013: Ryan Langenegger, a straight man from Omaha Nebraska, is attacked and beaten for attempting to defend his gay friends
Let me be perfectly clear. These attacks are hateful and disgusting, the perpetrators are hateful and disgusting, those that condone these attacks as being “ok” or somehow “deserved” are hateful and disgusting people. People that would physically harm others simply for being different do not deserve to live in a civilized society with other people. We are all American’s and we should be better than this. The LGBT community isn’t seeking special privileges or extra rights, they want equal rights that are already afforded to everyone else. The right to marry the person you love in this country is a basic civil right, the right to walk down the street without fear of being attacked and beaten for being who you are is a basic civil right. I will go one step further and say that these are basic human rights that every person should be entitled to.
Some claim that their religion allows them the right to disagree, and that is absolutely fine. Disagree till the cows come home, let your flag of hatred fly, but the second you try to impose your will and your religion, whether it be by violence or by legal imposition, on other people is when it becomes discrimination, and in this country discrimination is not tolerated for long. All American’s who hold to the values of freedom and the belief that all are created equal should be horrified by these attacks. This sort of behavior isn’t what America is supposed to stand for, and it certainly is not what I want our country’s future to be. There is absolutely no reason we all can’t live in peace with each other.
Written By: James Garcia (10/30/13)