Two steps forward with one step back — a familiar refrain that continues to ring true for the LGBT community in our country. I do not know how many of you keep up on the news, but it seems to me [and hopefully it is not wishful thinking] that many people are losing their infatuation with the religious crazies. More and more cities are passing domestic partnership laws, more companies are offering domestic partnership coverage, and votes are passing with wider margins in favor of LGBT issues. I have a feeling more people are beginning to understand our issues — or at least they are more concerned about an overall fairness.
That is with one qualifier — only when the issue does not include children. In today’s religious crazy world, anyone under the age of 18 is a child. Impressionable — innocent — unknowing of the differences in the world. Young adults no longer exist in this world — nor do teens — at least in terms of politics. Because if it appears we are moving ahead in obtaining the same rights as all, the religious crazies step in and use the C-word. In the world of politics we become derailed by the specter of innocent children and the [whisper] pedophiles [as the crazies like to refer to us] laying in wait.
I listen to my seventeen-year-old as he rants about being treated as a second-class citizen at school — by government agencies and by businesses — merely because of his age. He feels insulted — does not feel protected — when someone tries to hide something from him. He is not quite an adult, but he is no longer a child. He is, what we used to call, a teen or a young man. Yet, he is a teen who will be entering college in a little more than a year.
His attitude and response is no different than his friends — his peers. None of them are children any longer, despite the propaganda put out by those who want to force our society back into the repressive eras. We hear about children getting pregnant at the age of 9 and 10. I read a statistic the other day that 1 in 10 teens is HIV positive, and yet we have taken to calling them children. These are far from children. These are teens who should have been given information so they have a better future than the HIV pills and death awaiting them.
The so-called religious right fights to keep information about birth control and safe-sex out of our schools using protect the children as their slogans. They are doing nothing to protect anyone but their own narrow brand of sensibilities and shame. Their children fare no better than anyone else’s child with regard to teen pregnancy and HIV status. They feel better because no one is talking about issues that scare and confuse them. And our teens are dying or losing their own youth to raising babies.
So I have to ask — when do we stop putting our own fears above the safety of our teens and young adults? When do sane adults tell these religious fanatics to take their fear and their death and keep them away from our kids?
Until next time…