Q-TIP that [email protected]#T!!!!
We live in a society that wants to label you with a color, sexuality, religion, or ethnicity. It divides us, but it also allows us to find pride in our identity. -Logan Browning
It was a disheartening January/February in 2019 when the Jussie Smollett “incident’ added to frictions in the Chicago Police Department and communities. I have beloved family members and friends who are part of the LGBTQ community. Smollett’s guilty verdict in December 2021 of felony disorderly conduct for staging a fake hate crime seemed to have set strides towards LGBTQ acceptance back 10 years hypothetically.
There are no words that could ever explain why he fabricated that story. My beloved uncle, who is like a father to me, is gay and has always explained to me it is not a choice. He was “born” that way. He knew as early as 8 years old that he liked the same sex. His words are clear today as there were years ago when I was 10, “Tii, think about it. Why would I willingly choose to be something the world hates? Why?” Even at 10 years old, that made perfect sense to me. He too was a victim of a hate crime in the 90’s. Four supposedly straight men broke his arm because he “appeared” to look gay.
Even after my uncle told the men to leave him and his friend alone, they followed them. My uncle was on his way home from a bar at 1:00 a.m. holding up his inebriated friend (they were not a couple) so they could walk down a crowded Morse Street in Chicago. A car full of “straight” men fixed their eyes on 2 “appear to be gay” men and FOLLOWED them. As they heckled my uncle and his friend, my uncle shouts back, "Y'all just mad because we don't want y'all!" That statement made them angry enough to provoke a fight by getting out of the car and walking up to my uncle and his friend. The men proceeded to punch them. Doesn’t seem like they could use the Gay/Trans panic defense but wait…. yeah, they could.
According to this law that has existed for decades, a person can use this as self-defense against unwanted advances, defense of provocation which means the victim’s unwanted advances drove the defendant to kill, or diminished capacity meaning the victim’s orientation and advances triggered a nervous breakdown.
The ban for this defense has been successful in California (2014), my hometown Illinois (2017), and Rhode Island (2018). It is amazing that 7 states still have pending bans that go back as far as 2014. As culturally conscientious as I think I am, I didn’t even know this existed.
Upon watching the The Daily Show with Trevor Noah one day, I learned about the Gay/Trans Panic Defense. It was presented by Jaboukie. The gay and trans “panic” defense is a legal strategy which asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction, including murder. (Please visit https://lgbtbar.org/programs/advocacy/gay-trans-panic-defense/ for more information.)
It was disturbing that someone could say, “I felt she/he was coming on to me, so I was obligated to kill them.” No, I don’t think anyone has the right to force themselves on anyone, whether they are LGBTQ or heterosexual. You can’t force yourself on anyone. But to say they did it and because they were gay, I have the right to kill them seems far-fetched. Straight women and men get hit on daily, around the clock, either in person or through social media. Yet, no one is choosing to "kill" someone because of it. There definitely isn't a law to protect anyone for choosing to commit such a horrible act.
We have come so far for some resemblance of equality, however not far enough. We have decades and miles to go. I just feel people are people and the problem in the world isn’t LGBTQ. It’s parents and cultures not educating their children effectively in their early childhood, 0–5 years of stages of life and teaching them coping mechanisms for their feelings. If unregulated, these children grow into adults who don’t think before they speak or react. They grow into insecure adults who have no grounding in their own masculinity or femininity. No acceptance of themselves. No understanding that they hate LGBTQ not for what it is but maybe because they are the “Q” and questioning their own sexuality hmmm…..
They don’t learn to love themselves and accept their failures as well as they accept their successes. So, what gives you the right to take a life because you can’t handle your sexual feelings. No woman or man that is indeed secure in their self-worth, purpose in life, and well-being has a problem with the LGBTQ community. Only cowards who would rather deflect their unresolved problems on others then to look in the mirror in the words of Mr. Rogers and say, “I like you just the way you are”. Quit taking it personal (Q-Tip), worry about your own sexuality or the lack thereof.