Over her french fries and diet Coke a 5-year-old girl saw me become a monster and learned what hate was. When my wife kisses me goodbye in front of my office in midtown, I feel that little girl's stare over and over, but aged 30 years.
On May 17, commemorating the day that the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder, millions of people from over 100 countries will come together to celebrate the ninth annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).
Last week in Manhattan two anti-gay assaults were reported. Despite the fact that New York state legalized same-sex marriage in 2011, and that New York City has a very large LGBT population, last week's events are a sad reminder that homophobia is still alive and thriving in this city.
After posting "What Happened When Children Were to Blame for a Hate Crime," popular YouTube "vlogger" Hank Chen reached out to say, "Hey, let me interview you on camera and give you a chance to respond to everything that has happened since that night."
LGBT people wear invisible duct tape over our mouths every day -- not as a publicity stunt but as a mode a survival. We remain silent to avoid personal and familial rejection, to keep our jobs and our homes and to protect our physical safety. Our fear is real.
Hatred and homophobia can never be underestimated. And the effect of someone saying "God hates fags" can never be underestimated either. It's a license to kill. It's a death sentence. It's not funny. It's not OK. It's not something I can let go easily, because I know what it truly means.
Matthew Shepard. Charles Howard. Teena Brandon. In the LGBT community these are names and tragic stories that made national headlines. But how many of us are familiar with Sakia Gunn? Tiffany Berry? Micheal J. Sandy? Roberto Pancho Duncanson?
Even children in this city act first because they risk being targeted themselves. But aggression turns to hate when action supercedes rationalization, analysis, and compassion. Knowing that, we must respond to hate with what it lacks: understanding.