On 8 April 2015, Debra Reagan posted an Op-Ed piece entitled “Can a Hate Crime Occur Within the LGBT Community?” in The Advocate.
In Corinth, Mississippi, James Scott undeniably attacked Devin Norman in a Walmart parking lot. After posting a photo on the internet of himself with two black eyes, Norman claims that he was a victim of a hate crime. Scott claims that it’s not a hate crime because he himself is bisexual, and he beat Norman up because Norman threatened to ‘out’ him. Scott said Norman threatened to post sexual photos Scott had sent him online.
The Op-Ed piece continues with Reagan stating that Scott’s in the wrong because Scott still beat Norman up because Norman’s a ‘publicly outed gay.’ She states the following:
Scott wanted to have it both ways. He wanted to participate in some same-sex interactions without publicly associating with Norman, who was not trying to hide his own identity.
Scott risked his privacy by exchanging photographs and texts with someone who was not closeted. Now he wants to use the “get out of trouble I’m gay card” to deflect more serious charges of a hate crime and possibly harsher punishment.
… We aren’t truly a community in the sense of bonding through shared experiences, agreement on issues, or having each other’s best interests in mind. Some of us live in a pubic manner, choosing not to cloak our identity or relationships. Some pass as part of the heteronormative majority and choose not to correct that impression for various reasons, including personal safety and job security.
Others of us are more obviously not gender-conformant in our appearance or mannerisms and have little choice about standing out from the cultural and societal norm.
She continues to state that we need to ‘work together against all kinds of hatred among our populace.’ She claims that Scott showed signs of self-loathing and internalized homophobia, which is ‘dangerous in its many forms.’
Heavy.com posted on 23 March 2015 “5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.” It states that Scott and Norman met at an AA meeting, where Scott unsuccessfully hit on Norman. A “Go Fund Me” page had been created to help Norman with hospital bills, especially since he left his job at Sears in February 2015. Amber McCallus, the Go Fund Me page creator, stated that Scott yelled out “Faggot!” continuously as he beat down on Norman.
News Channel 3 WREG Memphis posted on 23 March 2015 statements from Scott. They’re accumulated here in the following quote block.
They’re trying to make it seem that I was screaming “Faggot!” which was not true. Not at all.
He told me that he was going to take those same pictures of me and those messages that he had saved and posted them on Facebook.
When he turned on me, my first reaction was to protect myself, and it went too far.
I can’t see how it could be a hate crime. I don’t even have any emotional hatred for him. The only thing I disliked about it was that he took something from me.
I should have know(n) better. I should have been more of an adult. I should have thought before I acted.
Briefing Other Coming Out Stories
According to The Daily Beast, 7% of adults aged 18-35 in the U.S. identify as LGBT, doubling from a similar study taken in 2011. The article speculates on whether the increase is due to an actual increase of LGBT persons or to people being reluctant to identify as LGBT.
Sean Warren posted a photo via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to come out. He states:
I just wanted to come out in a unique way. I was at my friend’s house and thought, what if I just photoshopped a picture of a rainbow behind me? Then I looked at more pictures online and saw the picture I used, which was more retro, it was more of a cartoon. What if I cropped out his face and use my face instead?
People describe me as a person who doesn’t really conform. I wanted to do something different than people just announcing that they’re gay. I wanted to come out in my own way, since that’s how I feel coming out should be. I wanted to do it in a fun sort of way and so it wasn’t so awkward.
Sean decided to come out at the end of his junior year’s football season when he was tired of ‘being fake.’ He stated most reactions were positive, which was refreshing since he was bullied through middle school just for pubescent occurrences. His mother fully supported him coming out, and practically was waiting for the moment for him to do so.
Dalton Maldonado’s story is a bit different. After Maldonado’s team loss his basketball game, one of the opposing players said, “Hey number 3, I hear you’re a faggot.” Maldonado retorted, “Yeah baby, can I have your number?” Despite having kept his head in the moment, he went back to the locker room to literally shake off the encounter, with help from his team.
Leaving the positive atmosphere of the locker room, Maldonado and his team faced the opposing team’s gay slurs and aggressive attacks. The bus wasn’t even safe, as they were pounding on the windows and trying to board it. The opposing team went as far as to pursue the bus in their cars, physically threatening the bus and Maldonado and continued to yell remarks.
Even though the opposing team took the news poorly, Maldonado’s family, friends and team took the information well and supported him. Some of his statements are as follows:
To this day, I haven’t lost a friend over coming out. I’ve actually become closer to them. In fact, the one person in my school and on my team I was scared to tell sung the song ‘Same Love‘ to me as he told me he would always be there for me and was proud of me.
The other starting four even asked me to move into their room on the trip after this. This brought us closer together, and after this trip I felt more close to them than I felt in my whole life.
I felt like I didn’t have anything to hide anymore, and the fact that they accepted me made it better!
It was so much easier playing my senior year because I didn’t have to worry about my parents or teammates finding out because I had already told them. I feel like this can help other young athletes, help them come out. My freshman year I didn’t think I would ever come out.
My (Somewhat) High School Coming Out Story
**Note: This is how it got out that I’m gay, not how I really ‘came out.’
Attending a private Catholic high school, I was reluctant to officially coming out. Having been a ‘legacy student’ (my mom and my 4 older siblings graduated from the same school), I had a decent reputation, whether for my family name or for my own character. I only told my closest friends that I’m gay, which included perhaps 15 people.
My first encounter with coming out was when I started work at the movie theater at age 15. My referring friend to the job was gay and the hiring manager was gay, but I still wasn’t wanting to be ‘out’ in my workplace. However, whilst talking to a senior employee who was friends with the assistant manager, I found out that the word was spreading that I was gay. The next time I came to work, I told the only straight manager that I hope that everyone could keep information about my sexuality a secret because of my schooling and my family. They respected my wishes as much as they could, and it worked out fine.
However, the next time wasn’t so easy. I pinpointed the point that outed me as when my best friend Ravi and I were sitting together in one of the elementary school’s churches during one of the Holy Days my Junior Year. I was sitting behind some of the better-looking guys in my class, and (perhaps stage-)whispered to Ravi, “One, two, three — yes, yes, yes. So hot.” I didn’t think anything of it afterwards.
A couple of weeks later, I had a field trip with my musical cast because we spend a day going to the 3 local elementary schools to preview them and promote the show, which meant I got out of classes for the day. When I was away, the guy that was sitting next to Ravi in church told my Chemistry class that I had said that three guys in our class was hot. I came back the next school day to absolutely everyone thinking I’m gay.
It’s lucky that my school thinks my family’s rich, that I’m generally a liked person, and that I don’t let things get to me easily. However, until the time I graduated, I was really put under the microscope. Once, I was told that “Any gossip on you is always really juicy“ by an upperclassman. People would ask me out straight if I’m gay and some people would cough words like ‘homo’, ‘faggot’, or ‘Hermes’ gay,’ both of which I just shrugged off. Rumours about a private Catholic school homo spread throughout town, from students from any of the local 6 high schools, to their parents to our sister school an hour away. I was always a topic of conversation, from suspicions for why I was driving a certain road, to how I got a hicky, and how I wanted to do dirty things to my fellow classmates.
The most outrageous thing that started trending was exchanging my name for those previous terms, using it in context as “C’mon guys, they’re a bunch of Hermes!” and randomly saying “Hermes” in exchange for “Fag.” The last time I checked, high schoolers from my old school still use it today. I graduated 2008.
Besides the occasional junior high kid asking me if I was gay and the ‘coughs,’ nobody actually ever confronted me about it. Everything that was said was said behind my back and almost never got back to me until I was well in college, and so it really didn’t bother me. I never really gave anyone the satisfaction of me admitting I’m gay, but I told the people I wanted to tell. I graduated high school loving my whole experience.
My Opinion (With Outlinks)
I understand that this isn’t a courtroom, but when you want to take an opinion of anyone, you should definitely justify their credentials. The Op-Ed author Debra Reagan‘s LinkedIn profile shows her education (B.S. in Social Work, Master in Divinity and Master in Theology) and her work experience (Pastor, Managing Editor to a quarterly Theological journal, and Director of Spiritual Development at a Community Church). Judging by the information, she’s around 55 years of age and currently unemployed; however, she has a blog located here. I take her opinions with a grain of salt
, lime and tequila.
Reagan made it a point to show that Scott was the bad guy and Norman was the good guy. I could possibly see her reasoning, but it’s definitely not a reasoning and opinion I share. She made it out as if Norman was going to share innocent photos of Scott, like I do with friends on Instagram at Where Else Bar. It wasn’t — Norman was going to post Scott’s sexual photos and texts that he had received when they were corresponding. It’s not merely that being linked with Norman made Scott aggressive, but it was Norman wanting to ‘out’ Scott and post his privates all over Facebook.
I wouldn’t say that Scott should have beat up the man, but absolutely no one has the right to out another person. In the news, online and in fiction like TV movies on Lifetime show how people take their lives for being bullied, for being gay and for being Catfish’ed. People do crazy things to avoid being outed, even death.
Warren and Maldonado shows that America’s changing for the better of LGBT. Friends and families are starting to be accepting of the lifestyle and it’s starting to be common-day to know a gay person, and having it relevant to everyone. However, we can’t ignore the fact that some people still aren’t accepting gay people.
Some people think that’s the case with Michael Sam. We can applaud Sam for coming out, but he shouldn’t expect special treatment for it. We can root for him like we can for Tom Daley in the Olympics, but we shouldn’t pull the gay card out because he couldn’t make the cut. I agree with what TMZ‘s interviewee said, that sexuality isn’t the public’s business — it’s a personal business. Don’t start changing your license plate to “COURAGE” because you came out before attempting to go to the NFL. But that might be the cynic in me that’s talking.
Like James Dawson said in his Attitude article, coming out is a double-edged sword. You’re a bitch for staying in the closet, and you’re a bitch for coming out of it, and you’re also a bitch for not saying it sooner. If I were to officially out myself on my Facebook right now, I would get a handful of “likes” and some “Congrats!” but I know for sure all of my gay “friends” would look at it and scoff — “Old news.” “I knew that queen was gay.” “He’s been sucking dick since infancy.” It’s sad, but true, and if there’s any hate crime happening, it’s cyber bullying seen on almost every article posted on a gay publishing site like Attitude, Advocate and Instinct.
But sometimes, articles in those sites deserve the heat they get. With Reagan’s article, I hated her quote, “Some pass as part of the heteronormative majority and choose not to correct that impression for various reasons, including personal safety and job security.” It’s not anyone’s fault for being the way they are, and if they can ‘pass as… hetero,” they shouldn’t be obliged to come out. Alternatively, if you are not ‘gender-comformant,’ I’m not going to applaud you for not hiding your bond gayness. You’re a person, and you’re not going to be treated differently from me, whether negatively or positively. If you wanna fight for equal rights, then aim for equality and not special needs (and then claim they’re labelling homosexuality as a disorder).
Personally, I would like to just be treated like everyone else. I might be considered ‘in the closet’ and I might be one of those who can pass in this ‘heteronormative’ society, but honestly, that’s how I like it. I don’t feel like I should wear a button that says “Hi! I’m gay!” because we’re not in the age that bares scarlet letters or a Star of David. My sexuality is my business, and it’s nobody’s place to out me to anyone else. I tell who I want to tell, and that doesn’t include 90% of my friendemies and acquaintances I have on Facebook.
For those who officially, publicly come out– I’m fine with it. It deserves some recognition. For those who are thrown out of the closet– I do truly applaud you for your strength to handle it because it was not on your terms. But as for me and possibly for a lot of those who are happy in the closet, I think that my sexuality is not for the public to know and I’m not the sort to flaunt my sexuality and force them to watch me make out with a guy and like it.
I’ll fight for my equality, but equality is where I aim. I want to be able to get promoted when it’s deserved, I want to be able to see my husband in the hospital, I want to co-parent children with my husband, and I want to be able to marry my British husband to permit him to live with me in America (like many others who marries import-brides do). Homosexuality is not the new black (race), and I don’t want it to be. I want the things that matter, and I don’t want my homosexuality to be my ‘edge.’
My edge is me being me. And I’ll defend it to the death.