This is a beautiful thing, which I missed last Friday. It deserves to continue moving around the internet, though, so I’m posting it today. Dan got a letter from a woman who is presumably an Evangelical Christian, who says she may not agree with homosexuality [such a meaningless statement], but definitely does not agree with bullying either, and was upset to hear Dan Savage make the obvious connection between a people and a society that tells gay kids that, on a fundamental level, they’re not good enough, and the consequences of that, in the form of bullies who feel they have license to smack down gay kids, and gay kids who internalize the shame the adults and other kids give them on a daily basis, sometimes on a daily basis. She also draws this false equivalency:
If your message is that we should not judge people based on their sexual preferance [sic], how do you justify judging entire groups of people for any other reason (including their faith)? There is no part of me that took any pleasure in what happened to that young man and I know for a fact that is true of many other people who disagree with your viewpoint. Please be aware that your words are powerful and people are listening to you.
Uh, nobody is judging your faith, lady. We’re condemning the discrimination you cloak in religious faith. That’s different.
But as I said, Dan’s reply is beautiful, so I’ll excerpt it liberally here, and then click the clicky to read the rest:
I’m sorry your feelings were hurt by my comments.
No, wait. I’m not. Gay kids are dying. So let’s try to keep things in perspective: fuck your feelings.
Being told that they’re sinful and that their love offends God, and being told that their relationships are unworthy of the civil right that is marriage (not the religious rite that some people use to solemnize their civil marriages), can eat away at the souls of gay kids. It makes them feel like they’re not valued, that their lives are not worth living. And if one of your children is unlucky enough to be gay, the anti-gay bigotry you espouse makes them doubt that their parents truly love them—to say nothing of the gentle “savior” they’ve heard so much about, a gentle and loving father who will condemn them to hell for the sin of falling in love with the wrong person.
The children of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality—even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way (at least when they happen to be addressing a gay person)—learn to see gay people as sinful, damaged, disordered, and unworthy. And while there may not be any gay adults or couples where you live, or at your church, or at your workplace, I promise you that there are gay and lesbian children in your schools. You may only attack gays and lesbians at the ballot box, nice and impersonally, but your children have the option of attacking actual real gays and lesbians, in person, in real time.
Real gay and lesbian children. Not political abstractions, not “sinners.” Real gay and lesbian children.
There is so much more where that came from, including a P.S. at the bottom, which includes this gem:
Which is why I argued that every gay teen suicide is a victory for the religious right. Because, you see, your side does use those suicides to “perpetuate [your] agenda.” Tony Perkins and all those other oddly effete defenders of “Chrisitian values” and “traditional marriage” will point to this recent spate of gay teen suicides to argue against gay marriage, anti-bullying programs, against allowing gay people to serve in the military—basically, they’ll gleefully use these tragedies to justify what they like to call the “Christian, pro-family agenda.”
Go read it all.