Posted by: Catherine Lugg | October 15, 2010

The Butcher’s Bill

In the war against Napoleon, the British Admiral Lord Nelson used to ask for the casualty counts [i.e., the numbers of dead and wounded] by asking, “What was today’s butcher bill?”

Well, it’s been an incredibly brutal 6 weeks for queer youth. Since the beginning of the school year, there have been 9 reported suicides of queer youth, most of whom were harassed and bullied literally to death. Last weekend brought news of the sadistic torture of 3 gay men in NYC. It’s election season, so we’ve had homophobic blurtings by incompetent and hate-filled politicians as well as ordinary citizens (see Carl Paladino, some of the residents of Norman, OK ). Finally, President Obama’s continues to defend of both “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” and “Defense of dysfunctional non-queers’ marriage act,” despite that lower federal courts have found both federal laws unconstitutional. So much for his campaign pledges of repeal, hope and change.

Clearly, the “Butcher’s Bill” this fall has been astronomical in terms of lives lost, physical and emotional pain inflicted and civil rights curtailed. Consequently, it’s been hard to stay focused on queer liberation–my reason for doing what I do (write, teach, coach, and serve). But, that’s the strategic point of homophobia: Kill and erase queers whenever possible and totally discourage, dishearten, and disillusion the survivors of queer oppression so that we slink back into our closets, cowed, silenced and terrified.

But I don’t have time to contemplate my navel–and neither do any self-respecting queers or our allies. As Arendt would observe, we must think, we must judge, and then we MUST act. And people of good will have acted across the US. Dan Savage’s “It gets better” is spot on. Below are links to three of my favorite postings.

Joel Burns, Fort Worth, TX councilperson.

And two posts that make my lapsed Episcopalian heart go pitter patter.

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Robinson, the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire.

Rev. Susan Russell, a Priest at All Saints Episcopal, Pasadena, CA.

Yet things don’t “get better” with dumb luck. Social conditions improve ONLY through the hard work of dedicated people. It’s time to get cracking people….


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