This is the incident that pushed me over the edge, so to speak, and had me start a blog, because I needed to stop people from doing this.
A little while ago, someone posted a video in a group on facebook. It was a video of an incident where two gay men were beaten to death. I don’t know any more details, because I didn’t follow the link and didn’t watch the video. I really don’t need to see any people being beaten to death.
I was going to ignore the link, when I saw a comment someone had made, saying that while they didn’t agree with “that lifestyle” they were not to judge and that the sexual orientation of a person was no reason to kill them. Something about this comment annoyed me very much, but at first I couldn’t tell what it was. Only after I read another comment did I understand my problem. This other person pointed out that homosexuality is not a “lifestyle”.
(Spoilers: If you think homosexuality can and should be judged morally in any way, you will probably not like the rest of this post.)
The original poster replied that anybody could think whatever they wanted and that for this person, homosexuality was wrong. The two of us then got into one of those terribly productive online arguments. Original Posters argument was: “Gay equals bad, but not bad enough to kill. What is your problem, it’s just my personal opinion.” (I think that’s what it was. It might have been much more reasonable and just escaped me. It is entirely likely that I’m not doing this poor person justice, but they might also be an invention and none of this ever really happened. But it did and their words made no sense!)
My line of argument was: “Saying ‘lifestyle’, implies choice and the possibility to change if you want to. A vegan, for example, can chose not to be a vegan. But I as a black man can not chose to not be black. It is what I am. And the same goes for homosexuality. (I simplified. There are, of course, differences between being black and not being a cisgendered heterosexual). It’s what you are, not what you decide to be. If you ignore that, you are partly blaming the two gay men killed in the video for getting themselves killed. Because if you can chose to be gay, why on earth would you do that if you lived in a country or, more accurately, on a planet, where that kind of behavior can get you killed? And even if you do not condone the killing of two gay men (Why haven’t they awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to you yet?), you are saying that they could and should be punished in some form. Because there is no other way to deal with people who do something wrong. Doing something wrong has to have some kind of consequences for society to work, be it education or therapy or incarceration. Killing gay people is just another step on this ladder of consequences. You might not agree with the severity, but you agree with the principle.”
And then it hit me. Deep down, I was not upset about this person calling homosexuality a lifestyle. That was just my mind trying to focus my anger onto something I could deal with and fight. What really upset me (and still does), was that there were two (and so many more) people killed and there was a video of it and the FIRST thing this person had to do was to create distance, show that they were not a part of that group and then judge their lives. Lives they had just lost! And nowhere any ever so small criticism of the murderers! (‘They shouldn’t be killed’ is not criticizing the murderers, it’s giving them a slightly disapproving look and then asking if they’ll be done soon.)
So, please, everybody. If you see a video of something terrible or an article on a tragedy and it is about a group of people you don’t like or understand, don’t comment on it, if you can not resist the urge to distance yourself from them or judge their way of life/culture/religion/history/hairstyle or clothing at the same time. Because, you know, that is not being sympathetic, that is being an a**hole.
EDIT: See, I’m not the only one who thinks so.