Friday, October 01, 2010

Tyler Clementi

I had lunch with Yasmin yesterday and, as is usual for me, I had a hard time putting my arguments/feelings to coherent words. I'm the world's worst debater--it is a proven fact--and cannot be trusted to make a point "in the moment" if my life depended on it.

What I meant to say was: In this age where it seems boys & girls in general are more at ease with sexual orientation (more than they were when we were teens) I am shocked that kids are still killing themselves over being teased or outed.

And I do believe that things are better. I remember having a conversation with my ex before we were married, discussing how racism was slowly (slowly, slowly) working its way to eradication. We'd just been to Amarillo, Texas, and experienced a hateful moment of racism at the gas station, and his anger was complete and charged. Thanks, Amarillo, for forever being nothing but a RACIST hatefest in my memory, but this moment in time helped, at least for the moment, to stop and assess where we stood at that moment in time, race-relations speaking.

Let's get clear: Things are not perfect. Absolutely not. But we are progressing, and I do believe that. Kids today seem less impressed with gay. Certainly less so than when I was a teen. Don't misunderstand: there are still many, many kids out there torturing other kids for being different. I know that...I'm just saying that culturally it seems...less so.

This is not some justification for behaviours. NEVER. Honestly, this is my hope-filled dream. Because honestly, why the fuck are we still talking about this? I will never understand. If you are a man who loves a woman, a woman who loves a man, a man who loves a man, a woman who loves a's beyond me why this is still an issue. Love. Kiss. Fuck. Marry. Who fucking cares? This seems a stupid thing to keep judging and hating on.

This story is horrifying for two reasons: People are getting outed in worse and worse ways...people are still carrying burdens of identity that should be a benign and uninteresting as mint chocolate ice cream and city park planning. This is still a huge issue. This is still something that an individual must manage on his or her own. And apparently this is an aspect of identity that still causes so much misery and terror.

These two choads decided to out this kid via webcam for reasons...unknown. Was it just the sex? Probably not. It was most likely the kind of sex this kid was having. I'd like to believe that these choads did it because of the sex, just sex, but reality, and the ever evolving release of texts, tweets, and status updates, says it was the sex because it was GAY sex. Mark my words: There will come a day when Dateline or some other newswhore org will air an interview with the main roommate choad who will, no doubt, cry and claim he never, never meant to cause this kid's death. Because newsflash: he was an 18-year-old choad. He just DIDN'T UNDERSTAND.

I am heartened by the efforts made out there to make it clear that these claustrophobic worlds of junior high, high school, and even college are NOT what real life will be all about. I made the same point yesterday, awkwardly, to Yasmin, when we talked about how it would get better for everyone, not just the gay kids, weird kids, or generally unaccepted. It WILL be better for everyone! Sure, some of those old school jocks and cheerleaders will never learn (or care to) but if my reunion taught me anything, it is that people DO change. They live, have hardships, children, experiences, and they can get to a place where they understand where they are in the world, the galaxy, the universe. Human. In case you wondered.



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