4 May 2012
While feminists are repeatedly accused of being man-haters, one-issue voters, and the wagers of false wars, we continue to support legislation that proves the exact opposite. Our support of the LGBT-protection provisions in the Violence Against Women Act is proof that we stand with our brothers AND with our sisters. We all have a right to equal protection under the law. Gender and sexual orientation are, in this case, absolutely irrelevant. We. Are. People.
Michelle Garcia at Advocate.com, citing Sharon Stapel of the Anti-Violence Project, states that “25%-35% of same-sex relationships are marred by domestic violence and abuse, which is about the same rate as other relationships.” I guess rage is an equal-opportunity emotion.
Garcia continues citing Stapel, stating that “LGBT domestic violence victims have few support services, and they often face discrimination when seeking help.” Not only do they face discrimination, they face authority figures (medical professionals, police officers) who are glad that they were victimized, who think they deserve what they got, who sometimes want to make the trauma even worse.
Does anyone remember the pathetic, broken young man in the film Boys Don’t Cry, who was forced by police to admit that his sometime-roommates raped him in his vagina? Does anyone remember that Boys Don’t Cry was based on a true story, and that after being gang-raped, the young man really WAS forced to admit to having a vagina, and to being vaginally raped by his supposed friends? Apparently, the police didn’t find rape to be enough punishment for a life of struggling with gender identity; apparently, the police needed to further humiliate this young person. Oh, and let’s don’t forget that the rapists tracked him down and murdered him not long after. It’s not just a movie….
And does anyone remember the child – naked, drugged, injured, and terrified – who ran from Jeffery Dahmer, begged for help, and was RETURNED to Dahmer by laughing police officers? Golly, they figured it was just a gay-boy sex game gone wrong. That was the last time that child ever ran – to a cop or to anyone else.
Those two examples received national and international attention. What of the examples that take place every minute of every day, in our neighborhoods, in the homes of our co-workers and even our friends?
This one is a paraphrase of what a lesbian told me over the phone: “I thought he was my best friend. When I came out to him, he freaked. He held me down. Yeah, he raped me. Don’t tell anyone it was me that happened to, OK?” [No worries. I won’t.]
This is a paraphrase of what a transgendered teen said while sobbing in my living room: “Why do they do this to me? They push me against a wall and stick their hands up my shirt and start feeling me and laughing. I want to DIE, right now, I want to DIE.” [This child left home and started a new life nearly 2000 miles away after high school graduation.]
This one haunted my family for years, no paraphrase, just what happened: One of my daughter’s handful of close friends came out to us the night before his 16th birthday and said he was coming out to his parents the next day. He asked if he could move in with us if the coming-out at home didn‘t go well. We said yes. The next day, he disappeared. His parents told us never to phone their house again. His guidance counselor had no idea where he was. And the police didn‘t care. Years later, this young man found us and told us what had happened to him – his father had beaten him, taken him to Los Angeles, and left him on a beach near the Santa Monica Pier.
Domestic violence takes place between spouses, roommates, lovers, friends, and family members. It includes – but is not limited to – hitting, kicking, pushing, punching, raping, and the sort of emotional abuse that causes a victim to be hyper-vigilant, to live in constant fear. It leaves victims with PTSD. Those victims are young, old, male, female, homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual; some of them aren’t sure what the hell they believe about their own gender and/or sexuality. And they all deserve equal protection under the law.
Again, I say: We. Are. People. Support the LGBT provisions in the Violence Against Women Act.