Last night I was driving in Cleveland. I passed a billboard for Kent State University. A wave of sadness and grief passed over me on the cold February night. And I thought to myself "...this is where the school shootings started, this was the first one..." I didn't even mention it to my companion. She was not quite 2 years old when it happened. I was a freshman in high school... 14 years old.
On May 4, 1970 the National Guard of the United States of America opened fire on students at Kent state killing 4 and wounding 9. Some of the students were protesting the invasion of Cambodia that had been announced by President Nixon a few days earlier. Some were just watching or walking by. The United States military opened fire on its own citizens... kids in school. Permission. If the US military can do it for a good reason, it must be ok.
This morning I awoke to the news of the senseless murder of Lawrence King, a 15 year old who didn't conform to the binary gender construct (boys should be boys and girls should be girls). His 14 year old classmate had been taught that it was OK to hate someone like Lawrence, that there was something wrong with him. Lawrence had recently "come out" as gay and had been enduring harrassment by some of his classmates, including the 14 year old who murdered him. Rightly the executive director of the Transgender Law Center, Masen Davis, observed that the youth who killed Lawrence is ..."just as much a victim as Lawrence...He's a victim of homophobia and hate."
I wept. Wasted lives. Lives of children. Lives not even yet begun in earnest. Wasted, wasted lives.
Lawrence liked to wear his high heeled boots, the NY Times article says. He didn't live with his parents and siblings. Wonder why?
He died on February 12. I read about it on the Integrity Canada list. No headlines I saw 12 days ago. Only news now to the queers and misfits whose "manner of life is a challenge to the wider church" as they say in the states.
This is why we have to keep talking about being gay, bi, trans, poly, queer, whatever..... So that kids like Lawrence, the courageous ones who know themselves and aren't afraid to let us know them can live in peace and freedom in the greatest country on the planet.
Mitt Romney liked to refer to the states as "the hope of the earth." If that's true for GLBTQ people, we're in deep trouble. God help us.