Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hate crimes in Michigan up 133% in the last year

Yes, while some states creep forward (California, New York), others remain a dangerous place for gays and lesbians. Blogger Sara Whitman of Suburban Lesbian Housewife, gives some personal insight into the realities of life for LGBT families:

As a woman, I have been raised with a certain level of fear about my safety. Girls are always told to watch where they go, never walk alone, don’t dress too provocatively, and know that men basically only want one thing from you.

We are taught to be afraid, and to live accordingly.

I don’t want to raise my children to be afraid. I am tired of being afraid. But I am a mother and my first instinct is to protect. When I told my children about the California decision, my middle son Zachary said, 'Now we can live in California, too.'

Massachusetts and California. That’s it.

What a joy it was for me to be in Provincetown for a week, and be able to walk down the street holding my sweetie's hand. Sure, wherever we are we sometimes hold hands and hug, in public. But never, never without a lingering thought that we could be in danger of bodily harm for doing it. That's the fear. It embodies itself as a constant self-consciousness over who I am and what other people think of me. And an understanding of where I am safe -- and where I am not.

I can't imagine how hard that must be to see that in your children. But as Sara says, a mother protects her children, and whether you call it being afraid or respecting danger, this is the reality of the world we live in today. It's not right, and it's up to us to change it.
It’s not acceptable in our society to be violent against someone because they are different. It is not acceptable because violence is not acceptable. We have fundamental human rights.
Please read Sara's entire post at In addition to knowing where all the good restaurants are in Ptown, she's a damn good writer.


Mary Ellen said...

I can't tell you how sad I am that our society has become so hateful that the thought of raising children has become scary to think about. Members of the gay community have to worry about being harmed if they show the most natural of emotions, love, in public. Children are being used by people who claim to love God as tools to spread hate for the gay community. Those children will grow to teach their own children and others to hate, and we are left with generations of crimes against gays.

Great post, kiddo.

Sara said...

thanks, sue...

Sue J said...

mary ellen, thanks!

sara, you're welcome!

DCup said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Mary Ellen. I don't know why it's so impossible for people to teach live and let live and if you want to get involved in someone's life - do it to be helpful in a way that they would think is helpful, not so that you can force your ideals on to them.

MLC said...

As someone who lives in Michigan ...I heard this statistic. Living here it does not feel like intolerance is on the rise.

I question the statistics, not the existence of hate crimes but I am wondering if they were unreported in the past.

Statistics can be so misleading in how they are used -- more information about how they are gathered is usually needed.


Sara said...

Janet, I agree, I think statistics can be misleading- perhaps it is due to better avenues for reporting.

which... I guess... is good.

my point, though, was more to the reality of increased violence against LGBT people as we become more visable.

and how we must be more visable.

there was an anonymous voicemail left at Mass Equality's answering machine the other day. It was "just go back into the closet and shut up"


MLC said...

Sara - I understand and think your article touched on many important issues. Regarding increased violence don't know what to say their either -- is there more violence or more exposure/accurate reporting about the violence that is occurring.

I agree on continuing to be visible and normalize our lives as positive movements towards inclusion and tolerance.

The economy is very worrisome to me -- I think we are going to completely lose a middle class soon. People struggling to survive - eat, dress themselves, have health care and a house to live in can't spend a lot of time thinking about being tolerant.

And in that condition they begin to think about someone or something to blame...and from that place hate develops.