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June 14, 2016: A Tragic Lesson on Diversity

June 15, 2016

It makes me sick to know that, in 21st-century America, hate and bigotry are so prevalent that someone would go into a place that the LGBT community considers a safe haven, where they are welcomed and accepted unconditionally for who they are, and massacre them. I’m still reeling from the news of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last weekend. Mara and I were just getting home from a variety show by a comedy troupe of gay and straight players (including a gay couple who are friends of ours), as this tragedy was unfolding 3,000 miles away. We woke up the next morning to the horrible news.

 

The massacre is a tragic lesson on the need for compassion and for acceptance of the diversity that exists in our world. Diversity is part of the human condition. It’s never going away, no matter how many LGBT people, people of color, and others who are considered “different” are murdered. It’s diversity that makes the world go ‘round.

 

So, what does this rant about last weekend’s massacre have to do with the trans community? The Pulse nightclub in Orlando was frequented mostly by gay men, but this type of senseless hate crime could also happen at a place where transgender people gather.

 

There’s a lesbian bar a few blocks from our house that designates two specific nights each week as trans nights (although anyone, including trans people and straight people are welcome there at any time). Trans women feel safe there. But the bar does have a bouncer who escorts patrons to their cars at night, since most hate crime victims are trans women, according to this report. (The report refers to 2013, but these crimes persist even today.)

 

This is one reason why many trans people want to blend in with the general population. Mara — and others — say they just want to be accepted as the gender with which they identify. While we’ve gone to our neighborhood lesbian bar, it’s not the only place we hang out. There are hundreds of “mainstream” places in L.A., and we like to know that we have the same access to them as anyone else, without being stared at or harassed…or worse.

 

The trans community stands on the shoulders of the gay and lesbian communities, which have led the charge for equality and being treated with decency and respect for all LGBT people. They have made incredible strides. Many have died — 49 of them last weekend — for the same reason trans people are murdered: simply because of who they are.

 

I’ll close with a link to a statement made by Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show,” a spot-on, very simple answer (although not so easy these days) to the hatred that permeates our society.

 

 

 

 

 

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