So today, I came across three totally different stories all linked because they deal with homosexuality in some way. Each story made me wonder about people’s attitudes when I read about a lesbian being attacked, Dolly Parton having to deny she’s a lesbian, and another man accusing Kevin Clash the voice of Elmo of underage sex.
Early this morning, I came across a the headline “Alabama Woman Suffers Multiple Skull Fractures After Alleged Anti-Gay Attack” on The Huffington Post. All I saw was the headline and small picture of a woman’s battered face. I decided not to open the link. It was as if not opening the link would undo what happened; and the bruises and dried blood would go away. Finally after hours of seeing the picture and quickly clicking “page down,” I opened the link. I hadn’t read half the story when I just started crying. I cried in a way I rarely do…Looking at that picture, I just wanted to hold this stranger, Mallory Owens, to my chest like you would to comfort a child. I wanted it all the go away.
What feeling is that—the feeling that would compel someone to cause “multiple skull fractures and crushed bones?” Something is clearly not right with people who are that incensed by other people’s sexuality. A study found “that homophobic attitudes are likely to be more pronounced among those who’ve experienced unacknowledged attraction towards members of the same sex.” So, I wonder if these folks are driven to be more demonstrative that they aren’t gay, even if that means harming people in the LGBT community?
The second article was about Dolly Parton clarifying that she’s not a lesbian. Ummm, huh?!?! I have no idea why multiple media outlets thought this was worth covering. Who’s the audience that ponders whether or not Dolly Parton is gay? Really, who are they? When I was little, I would watch Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers sing on t.v. As an adult, I watched “9 to 5” with my younger sisters. I love Dolly Parton, so one way or the other, my opinion about her isn’t going to change. And for the people who don’t care for her or her music, their opinion won’t change.
For the people, who might stop liking Dolly Parton’s music if she was a lesbian, they couldn’t have really been fans. That woman exudes an accepting and welcoming nature that attracts her fans. In interviews, Dolly Parton makes such an effort not to offend and deflect fans not because she’s trying to be politically correct, but in a truly genuine and open way. That’s why people love her! Okay, I’ve come out of my “I love me some Dolly Parton” closet!
Finally, I saw an article about a third person accusing Kevin Clash, the voice of Sesame Street’s Elmo, of underage sex. As this story stays in the news and accusers surface, I wonder if the story has legs because there may have been underage sex or because the sex was between two people of the same sex? I find it suspicious that according to two of the three accusers, they were 16 which is just a year younger than the age of consent in the state of New York. In Ohio, the age of consent is 16, so these relationships would have been legal.
Unfortunately, because there are people in the LGBT community who choose to keep their personal lives private, they are easy targets for people trying to blackmail them. Especially, when the person is a star of a popular children’s show and who’s character is on toy shelves for Christmas. According to an article in “The New York Times,” “the cutoff for bringing a criminal case [in New York] is age 23 for most serious sexual crimes,” so maybe that is why criminal charges weren’t sought, but I’m not sure why all the accusers are seeking substantial amounts of money. Would they be seeking thousands and millions of dollars if the person were middle class? Do the damages change depending on the wealth of the accused?
News commentators are always saying that America needs a conversation on race…well, add sexuality to the list of issues we need to talk about. Too much is made of people being gay! My dad used to always tell me that I didn’t have to like someone or be buddy buddy with them, but I did have to be “cordial” and treat them fairly.
Since we can’t change every homophobe’s mind, maybe we can all agree to be “cordial” and treat people fairly, so attitudes and news articles about the LGBT community won’t continue to be sensationalized. At least we could start there…