In the week since the SCOTUS ruled that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in the United States, the social media universe has been alive with song, dance, jubilation and happiness. However, this time of joy and celebration seems to have brought out some more anger and hatred—and, it seems, not just among those opposed to the LGBT community.
It troubles me to see hateful messages, especially when they are coming from some of the people and groups who are supposed to be my friends and allies. To see hateful words aimed at anyone from within our community gives me pause. I can’t help but wonder how we expect to be treated with respect if many among us are not respectful. Or maybe it’s just a few, but it really struck home for me.
I’m not talking about anger. Anger, when controlled, is a useful tool. It’s what allows us to raise our voices and speak important words loudly, firmly, powerfully and with meaning. Hate is never controlled; it controls us and it is always ugly.
Some might remind me that it is sometimes necessary to fight fire with fire, and I would accept that, along with the caveat that gasoline not be thrown on it.
It also rings of hypocrisy to spew hatred. How can we justify asking for tolerance, understanding, acceptance and equality, if we are not willing to extend the same to others? Furthermore, we shouldn’t forget that hatred extended by us can also offend and alienate our own. Obviously, I’m feeling a little of this, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it. I’m not about to point fingers; that would just be childish. It does, however, upset me that some may have put our community in a bad light with those we are trying to win over and with those who are already our allies.
There is an old axiom—I think it’s from the 70s—that says, “Engage brain before putting mouth in gear.” (I don’t know who originated it, but I’d like to so I can give them their deserved pat on the back.) These days it also applies to fingers. I think I try to heed this advice and I hope I have done so here. It would be nice to see the entire community do the same. Speak thoughtfully in anger when you must, but never speak in hate.