Thursday, January 27, 2011

Seriously? "I'm the One Getting Bludgeoned..."

After LGBT activist David Kato was beaten to death, for Evangelical leaders who've supported legislation in Uganda that would kill or imprison gays, this is by far the least appropriate thing one could say:

“I spoke to help people,” he said, “and I’m getting bludgeoned from one end to the other.”
(Blog Source and Newspaper as well... )

Especially after Tuscon the question of blame after violence seems to come up more in media narratives than the idea that words have consequences.  Once again a right-wing cry for direct action against a group has lead to targeted violence and in the immediate aftermath the response is claiming to be the victim. In 2008 when US right-wing leaders and Evangelicals started pushing anti-gay legislation this was an obvious risk. When publications posted pictures outing gay men with the caption of "Hang Them" this was an obvious risk. I'm not sure why anyone is surprised that it lead to an activist being brutally murdered...  It is tragic but expected. But for those who called for these action, the claim that they make calling themselves victims is unacceptable.

David Kato was considered the founding father of the gay rights movement in Uganda and his leadership is needed now more than ever. But leadership is also necessary here in the states given the amount of US leadership in escalating the targeted homophobia. Our LGBTQ citizens are certainly discriminated against, but we do have relative safety compared to those the right-wing has made all the more vulnerable, and as a movement we must consider not just the localized actions to secure our neighborhoods and states, but ensuring the safety of all those facing the same oppression. As Americans mourned the loss of one 9 year old in Arizona, the trial for the murder of another 9 year old in Arizona who also died in a political shooting is largely ignored. (Source) Except this time it was targeted by race. While I'm a fan of the idea of working together on issues that affect all Americans, we can't ignore the targeted attacks on minorities, those who call for them, or pretend such attacks are isolated incidents. Or that when internationally the same conclusions are reached after our right-wing activists work in collaboration with their governments, that it isn't tied to our own politics domestically. Whether it's Congresswoman Giffords or David Kato or 9 year old Brisenia Flores or any other of the many people who's suffered in hate crimes - the media narrative of shock must be abandoned. Only minimal research is needed to see warning signs in public speeches, published articles, active web forums spewing hate, and the accessibility of weapons to those who are being preached to or otherwise incited. I'm sad for the loss of David Kato, but I'm not surprised. And anyone who claims to be either has not been paying attention or is in denial, and both are unacceptable in our media.

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