I read an article yesterday that made me cry. Not a dainty, dab my eyes with a kleenex cry, instead I sobbed on my son's shoulder while he looked down at me in confusion.
It was an article a friend of mine shared on Facebook. I clicked the link and was horrified by the juxtaposition -- a group of friends, all in their late teens, posing for the camera; one with a huge grin. The picture could have been taken anywhere. At the beach, playing soccer, just plain hanging out. Instead they were in a well lit room, surrounding a fellow teenage boy. They're grinning, mugging for the camera. He's crouched on the ground in his underwear, splattered with paint, and clutching a sex toy. Soon they're going to torture him to death, simply because he's gay.
How does this happen? How could they look into the eyes of a fellow human being and see nothing but an object to vent their frustrations? He'd done nothing to them, nothing except merely exist. They're the ones who hunted him down, searched him out on a social network site, and coaxed him into meeting them. I look into their eyes and see no sign of shame or remorse; nothing that says they feel they're doing anything wrong.
Since this happened in Russia, they aren't going to learn what they did is wrong. Putin has ruled that anything positive said about gays is against family values, so even someone saying this teen had done nothing to them, that it was okay for him to simply be himself, could get that person arrested. I'm not nearly naive enough to think this is a random occurrence, or even just in Russia. I know it happens world wide. And this is where we've failed as human kind.
People talk about defending family values. Family? It's been said often enough before, it's us straight people having the majority of kids. These are our children, our siblings, our cousins. This is our family. If people truly want to protect families, they should include all the members. I've got two teenagers. When I gave birth, I vowed to them that I'd always love and protect them. There wasn't a clause in there that said "as long as you grow up to marry someone of the opposite sex and give me grandbabies". That was my choice to marry their father and have kids; they will make their own choices. And the gender(s) you're attracted to isn't a choice at all.
I wish we lived in a world where everyone was brought up with love, kindness, and compassion. I wish we lived in a world with true family values, the ones where you love every member of your family, not just the people who are the same as you. I wish we lived in a world where those teenagers never even bothered to search that boy up on social media because, hey, who cares if he's gay. And I really wish I had some answers, because I'm heartsick of reading about atrocities.