I came out of the Peace Corps with a lot of close friends. A few were confidants whose moral support and compassionate ear kept me going in times of need, others were teammates who worked hard towards our mutual goal to end the suffering of 2 million starving men, women, and children, and one woman from our group shared her love with me. What still scares me on some nights is that these close friends, the ones who saved lives while touching mine so deeply, would today be beheaded in that country.
Most of the women, and at least a few of the men, in my Peace Corps group were gay or bisexual. This was not their choice, this is the way they were born. I could show you this cartoon to summarize the scientific evidence, but for me the more compelling proof comes from the struggles my friends went through in coming to terms with their identities. I remember one story where a friend recounted how she was demanding sex from a guy in a desperate attempt at denial, hoping that she could have heterosexual sex and just be normal, ignoring the fact that she did not feel attracted to him because he was a man. Her struggle came through her voice, I wish I could let you hear it so you would understand as I did.
Oh, and she would be dead now, beheaded by the people she was trying to help, if she was overheard telling that story in that country today.
Normally, I don’t like slippery slope arguments. Slippery slope arguments more often reflect false dichotomies and highly immature acts of splitting things into either “all good” or “all bad.” Slippery slopes ignore middle and the grey areas, and only focus on the extremes. Normally, these black and white arguments are not rational. There are a few times, however, when the subject you are dealing with is already so extreme that it has positioned itself far away from the grey areas. Hatred is one of these subjects.
In this country, we are having discussions based on hatred. Even though I don’t have to worry about my friends being dragged out of their beds and executed here, the hate is still the same. The argument is still the same argument: because of the thing I have judged you to be, I will do violence unto you. The only thing that differs is the amount of violence people are able to perpetrate. In this country, we have a brilliant founding document that protects against cruel and unusual punishment, so executions for being gay or bisexual are not allowed (though that does not stop some people). But hatred finds a way, and the violence is still there in other forms.
Restriction of marriage based on sexuality is violence. Firing a person for their sexuality is violence. Any denial of any right based on sexual orientation is violence. The message is that LGBT individuals are not human enough for full human rights. That is violence. Bullying is violent, even if in just word and not action, because it is an act of harassment and threat.
But if you don’t see the difference between those acts of violence and the threat of murder faced in other nations, my question to you is this:
What is the difference in the arguments you use to justify your violence?
Your answer will shock you. There is no difference in you argument, rational, or justification and those who kill in the name of that hatred. Despite your protective delusions of separations because you would never go that far, your arguments and your drives are the same. The only difference between your violence and theirs is how far you have taken your violence, the degree of commitment you have to your belief. The murderers are just more committed to their beliefs. The only real difference is that you have acted on you violence to the greatest extent of your law, as they have with their law. The only real difference is that their law has empowered their hatred, and ours have restricted it.
There is no slippery slope when it comes to hatred, hatred is its own extreme. There is no such thing as just a little bit of hatred.