Fear the Gay!

Although the discriminatory laws passed in recent days in North Carolina and Mississippi (with a close call in Georgia) claim to be about religious freedom, there is no question that the primary target is members of the LGBTQ community.

 

These three laws have subtle differences; NC's law seems to focus sharply on transgender individuals and bathroom usage; GA's law would have focused largely on marriage; and MI's law shoots squarely at the heads of all LGBT individuals. But they, and all recent "religious protection" laws passed in the last several months (such as Indiana, Arkansas, the list goes on), have the same goal: Protect good Christians from ... from what, exactly?

Devilish details keep minority groups isolated

Different in a threatening way. Disturbingly different; alien. To perceive a person or people as alien to oneself. Each of these phrases defines “other.” I confess that I hadn’t known the word could be used as a verb, but it exemplifies perfectly the way far too many of us treat “others” of us whom we don’t understand.

As the author of books and stories about gay teens, I tend to notice situations in which LGBTQ individuals are othered. Examples are all around us, from the notorious Kim Davis to state-based Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs, introduced because “the advance of LGBT rights has encroached upon religious liberty”) to fanatics like the Westborough Baptist Church to most of the current candidates vying for the GOP nomination to the wanton murders of trans individuals (more last year than ever before).

"See y'all in church!"

You've all heard so much about the shenanigans of Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who did her very best to prevent her government office from issuing marriage licenses, now that the law requires her to issue them to all citizens, and not just the ones whose marriages she approves of.

So I'm not going to talk about Kim Davis. But I think we need to talk about what's underneath her actions. We need to talk about bubbles.

Earlier this year, there was a kerfuffle that began in Indiana (remember Memories Pizza?) around religious freedom. The issue at hand then is the same one we're hearing about now. And it's a smoke screen for people who might not even be aware that they're living in a bubble.