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).

Islam: Beauty or Beast?

In my research for my stories about gay teens, I see rant after rant by people who are obviously stark-raving terrified of homosexuality. And when I look up from the question of sex, I see a very similar fear concerning religion and, most specifically, fear by Christians in the U.S. of Islam. Fear can often be mitigated through education. I've seen it reduce homophobia in many cases. However, in my own efforts to educate myself about Islam, I'm not learning much that would mitigate fear. (Please note: I am talking about the religion of Islam and its scripture, not about Muslims. The scripture itself is immutable, but its interpretation by individual Muslims can vary a great deal.)

Rana Elmir*, deputy director of the ACLU of Michigan, is an American Muslim tired of being expected to apologize for the actions of Islamic terrorists. In her words, “…terrorism is not mine. I will not claim it, not even through an apology.”

"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.