Can’t Happen Here?
To understand what this blog is about, please first read this article on the Huffington Post about Mallory Owens, the Alabama lesbian attacked and brutally beaten by her girlfriend’s brother on Thanksgiving.
Have to give props to social media and the tight-knit power of the LGBT community – No sooner did the news of this brutal attack break did many of my friends begin posting and sharing the graphic photos and accompanying story about Mallory Owens. It was shocking to read – I have no idea what it’s like to be gay and live in the Deep South, but I always knew I probably wouldn’t like it too much…Although I never imagined that they literally still tried to kill us “down there”.
I guess we all have a tendency to get stuck in our collective “bubbles” after a while – I’ve lived in the Chicago area my entire life, one of the most liberal-leaning and gay-friendly places in the Midwest. I attend the annual June pride parade with just as many supportive straight people as I do gay and lesbian people. I think that, for periods at a time, until the occasional story such as this is in the news, we tend to forget that it’s not so easy to be gay, happy, out and proud in other areas. My heart breaks for this girl – She’s only four years younger than me. It not only hurts to look at the graphic, painful photos of her face simply because they show a young girl that’s been beaten within an inch of her life, but it really sears my soul because it was a hate crime. Because she’s a lesbian.
This could just as easily have been me. Or any one of my beautiful, not-straight friends. That thought stops me dead in my tracks every time I realize it and it makes my heart ache that much more for her family, her friends and all of those that love her just as she is. In 2012, it’s incredibly easy to look at the advances that the community has made and think that the world has changed since the days of Matthew Shepherd and Brandon Teena. I mean, we can get married in, like, 8.3% of the U.S. states now, right? That, because of shows like Glee and The L Word and more and more celebrities coming out of the closet each year, somehow the U.S. has done a 180 on its attitude toward the LGBT community. And, while that may be true in some places, there are other places that still have a long way to go. This proves it. As icky as it is to think about, there are people that put their lives on the line every day HERE – in the U.S.! – just by being gay. It hurts to see a sister go down like that because even if we’ve never met, we are both members of the same broad community and no woman, regardless of sexuality, should ever have a man’s hands on her like that.
I hope that everyone follows this story and will not allow the media to let it fade until justice is served against her attackers. After all, this is Alabama we’re talking about – The heart of the Bible Belt. They will need to be pressured to classify it as a hate crime, even though it obviously is – Her attackers did this because she is a lesbian and they did not like her in a relationship with a member of their family. I say “attackers” because, while it was only her girlfriend’s brother that did the vicious beating, the rest of the family stood there and did NOTHING to stop him or intervene (according to the article). Granted, “justice” in my mind would be putting the attacker in a room with a group of lesbians armed with baseball bats and anger management issues but I probably shouldn’t say that, right? Ooops – Too late.
Mallory Owens was nearly killed for showing up at her girlfriend’s family’s house for Thanksgiving. I spent Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house, with my aunts, uncles, cousins, mother, sister, brother-in-law and nephews – All of whom have treated myself (and my ex) like a loved, accepted member of the family, always.
I wish Mallory Owens would have come to Thanksgiving dinner at my family’s house instead.