Call to stop violence toward LGBTQ people

Casey Richards

Every year, there are thousands of incidents of LGBTQ-related hate crimes that take place in the United States alone. Not all the cases are fatal or even violent. Yet even the smallest of these hate crimes can have long-term effects on the victims.
Each year, millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are subjected to different forms of physical, verbal and mental harassment. The number and severity of these crimes has increased dramatically over the years, and even in today’s “more accepting” society, we are still seeing an alarming amount of these crimes.
Hate crimes are “offenses involving actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability,” according to U.S. Code 249 — Hate crime acts.
Hate crimes against members of the LGBTQ community have increased in occurrence and brutality over the past several decades. According to the Political Research Associates, hate crimes against homosexuals almost tripled in number from 1995 to 2007.
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 2013 report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Hate Violence: The number of reported homicides tripled from 2001 to 2011, and, in 2013, there were a total of 18 confirmed anti-LGBTQ homicides. These ranged from fatal gunshots and stabbings to dismemberment and burning.
What is it exactly about the LGBTQ community that is so off-putting to so many people in our world? Why would people go out of their way just to hurt someone with a different sexual orientation?
Some people just find it unnatural. Some people just simply find it offensive. Perhaps the most highly debated reason, however, is that people say being gay is considered a sin.
The Bible does in fact say in Leviticus 18:22, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable,” but the Bible also says that lying, cheating, stealing, committing adultery, taking the Lord’s name in vain and countless other actions are sins as well.
According to James 2:10, all sin is equal in God’s eyes. The verse reads, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” Romans 3:23 addresses the fact that everyone sins and has sinned; the verse reads “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
With all of this in mind, one could
argue that the sins that the members of the LGBTQ community are committing are just the same as the sins normal people commit. Why would people, therefore, treat us any differently?
Sin is sin, according to “the big man upstairs.” Just because you sin differently, it doesn’t mean you are any better than those of us in the LGBTQ community. The Bible also talks about the way we should treat people. Mark 12:31 says: “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Matthew 7:12 says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  John 13:34-35 says: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus loves everyone equally and unconditionally, and that’s how he desires us to love other people.
Yes, gay people are different, but we’re still human like everybody else. We still have feelings and a self-esteem that can be hurt and upset.
Our lives are affected by the hurtful things you say and do to us, just as they would to anyone. We aren’t impenetrable to the hate you send our way on a sometimes seemingly endless basis, and sometimes it builds up to the point that we take matters into our own hands.
Jamey Rodemeyer was a bisexual 14-year-old boy. He’s struggled with bullying at school because of his sexual orientation and life choices. On the morning of Sept. 18, 2011, Jamey’s sister found him dead in his room after he hanged himself.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated that “as many as 30 percent of completed youth suicides each year” are performed by members of the LGBTQ community. This shows just how devastating the results of anti-LGBTQ acts can be.
Beautiful, caring, passionate and truly good people are losing their lives because of horrible treatment from their peers, family members and even complete strangers. If people would only take the time to evaluate us on the basis of our personality, morals and heart, they would see that we’re good people, too. Don’t judge us just on the fact that we’re “faggots” or “queers.”
LGBTQ people are different from cis-gendered heterosexuals, but everyone is a bit different. We are still worth something. We are still human with rights and feelings. People should treat us with the same respect with which they want to be treated.
Casey Richards is a sophomore psychology major from Dothan.

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