Today is National Coming Out Day. The need to speak out for the equality and basic humanity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people was underscored for me yesterday when I read in The New York Times about the most recent in a series of hate crimes against the LGBT community. Last week a gang of nine men kidnapped a 30-year-old man in New York and tortured him horrifically for hours simply because he was gay. Two gay 17-year-olds were also attacked.
My wife and I had the same first response to the story: “There are no words.” But as I reflected further, the word that emerged in response was outrage; that is, I felt anger that we live in a world in which such hate exists. At the same time, I felt resolve to speak out to help prevent such hate crimes in the future.
One of my friends said that the article sounded like a scene from the film Pulp Fiction. But rather than a demented figment of Quentin Tarantino’s imagination, this story is all too real. The Unfinished Lives Blog described the episode as a “Wolf-Like Gay-bashing Rampage.”
Comedian Sarah Silverman, speaking out on You Tube even before this latest outrage, said, “Dear America, when you tell gay Americans that they can’t serve their country openly or marry the person that they love, you’re telling that to kids too. So don’t be [expletive deleted] shocked and wonder where all these bullies are coming from that are torturing young kids and driving them to kill themselves because they’re different. They learned it from watching you.”
Today is a day for coming out of the closet: as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person — or simply as an advocate for the basic human rights of all people regardless of race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation.