11 October 2010

True Life: When Hate Kills.

 From an overhead view, we might've looked like a high school youth group or a church choir getting out of an evening rehearsal.  A couple hundred high school sophomores standing around outside a downtown chapel wearing matching white t-shirts and rainbow-colored bracelets.

Zoom in on the scenario. Get a little closer than panorama, and you get the image of the first funeral I ever attended. You hear his best friend screaming in the background for Ricardo to wake up. You see her falling to her knees, heaving and doing her best to convince herself this was some sick sort of joke.

But, it wasn't funny.

Ricardo heard a lot of jokes in his brief 15 years.  He was often the punchline.  There were a lot of one-liners. 

Faggot. Queer. Homo. Loser. Devil-worshipper.

But they weren't funny.

My friend Ricardo always had a smile for me on a bad day.  He wore mostly black clothing, braided rainbow bracelets on his wrists, and star patches on his backpack. From panorama, he was that "different" kid in the trenchcoat.  But when you got a little closer, he was good at keeping your secrets. He gave the kind of hug that makes it hard to breathe and hard to let go at the same time. He was the costume designer in my theater group. He was a kind-hearted person and a good friend. He was gay.

Zoom a little closer. You get a kid who wished he wasn't what he was. A kid who told me, when we dropped him off at home after the school dance, that home was the worst place to be--because while at school, he was a target-- at home, he was invisible.  A kid who, at the age of 15, had been kicked so many times, he'd rather hang from a showerhead than wake up in the morning.

I know that paints an unsettling picture.  Maybe I shouldn't have said it so bluntly? But I wanted to invite you into the reality of the first funeral I ever attended.

This is the reality for so many people in our country, people of all ages who are badgered, harassed, tormented, and mocked every day. Some of them are good people. Some of them aren't. But all of them are people, and none of them deserve to feel like anything less because of their sexual orientation.
Kim Kardashian poses for Adam Bouska's NOH8 project

October 11th is National Coming Out Day, an internationally observed civil awareness event for coming out and other issues in the gay community.

If you are supportive of Gay Rights, consider becoming a straight ally.

If your religious beliefs support that homosexuality is a sin, practice the tolerance of your Lord, and pray for the safety, acceptance, and deliverance of the gay community. We are all His children. Acts 10:28  Matthew 7:1

 If you absolutely cannot find any tolerance or understanding in your heart for these kinds of people, simply choose to live and let live.

For one person, that could be enough.

For more resources and information, visit these websites:




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