It Isn’t Power. It’s Fear.

This morning my friend Sheryl LeSage posted that if she had a blog she would write a post today. I was so moved by what she had to say that I asked her if I could share it with you all here. It is a powerful and important message.

It isn’t power. It’s fear.

If I had a blog, today I would make a couple of points. People in the US like to point out that GLBT people and women don’t have it so bad here–after all, they say, “you people are executed/raped/murdered/outlawed in Iran/Sudan/Russia/Uganda,” by which they seem to imply that we should stop whining about whatever protections we don’t yet have here.

Those same people–Mike Huckabee, for instance–say that gay people in particular “already have too much power,” by which I believe they mean “are not all in prison, or the closet, or dead.” The Huckabees and O’Reillys and Limbaughs and Pences of the world feel as if they are backed into a corner and might have to start treating some of us as if were fully-equal human beings.

But I can’t quit thinking about that too-common statement, “women/gays need to shut up about not having enough ‘rights’ here, because in Iran you’d be dead.”

Do you all not understand how we hear that? We hear it as a threat. We see you ALIGNING YOURSELF with the people in those places. And we are not imagining this: Evangelical Christians applauded the American “Christian” who helped craft the law in Uganda that calls for the execution of gay people simply for being gay.

When you roll your eyes and suggest that we could certainly have it a lot worse, and then you support a law that attempts to make things a lot worse for us–and THEN you cry foul when your hero-governor alters the law so that it keeps you from treating us–and no one else–as second class citizens, we see that you AGREE WITH THE LAWS OF IRAN or SOMALIA or UGANDA or RUSSIA.

And we don’t feel powerful. We feel afraid in our own homes. And that is not a new fear for us. We can still be fired for being who we are in many states. And unlike American Christians, many of us personally understand and feel that fear every day; it isn’t theoretical. We are only just now discovering what it feels like to be almost-protected by the laws of our own country, and the smug, comfortable “Christians” in many states are trying to rescind those protections.

So, do we know how people like us are treated in other countries? Damn right we do. And it would be nice if some Americans were not appearing to champion those policies or bring them here.

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