Sunday, April 29, 2012

Reminder from the LGBT Community: Sharing

By Gregory Allen

In recent weeks, efforts have been stagnant passing legislation to recognize gay marriage, prevent bullying of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) students in schools and on college campuses, while derogatory slurs and statements have been used by media figures to slander their opponents, rather than focus on issues that affect more than themselves.

A minority of the American public seems devoutly opposed to sharing equality with those who have different sexual orientations and identities, while the majority of Americans have grown silent and indifferent.

Despite being denied rights that others enjoy free for unfounded and oddly superstitious beliefs; the LGBT community has not deprived society of their talents, and have shared many unique and exceptional accomplishments with the world, proving they are an integral part of society, even if they are not always recognized as such.

Many would deny rights to others while still enjoying the literature, musical, artistic, scientific and cultural innovations of gay and bisexual men and women and transgender individuals.

While many examples of social and cultural accomplishments can be described, one such feat has been utilized by many: the computer.

Widely recognized as one of the “fathers” of the computer; British mathematician Alan Turing was persecuted for being gay, and his mistreatment ended only when he committed suicide.

Despite helping pioneer the computer, as well as being a crucial member of “Ultra”, a secret British contingent that helped crack the German Enigma codes and facilitate a speedier end to the Second World War; Alan’s greatest and most memorable trait in the eyes of his peers was his sexual orientation.

Turing was charged and convicted of homosexuality; private homosexuality being a crime in England until 1967. While homosexuality is an imaginary crime – like witchcraft – the punishment he would have received was very real.

Rather than endure punishments he had not earned, prison or chemical castration, Turing committed suicide. His past accomplishments were forgotten by those who judged him, he was denied recognition of who he was; and instead condemned only for what he was.

Turing spent many years of his life fighting for and bettering a society that would never accept him. But this did not impede him from creating and pioneering technology many use today. While his “crime” harmed no one, his brilliance has and will always affect many.

A social reminder is necessary to those who would deny the rights of others; sharing.

LGBT artists, musicians, writers, scientists, and others have developed society and American culture despite equal recognition, in spite of hate crimes, and have defied fierce intolerance to do so. Sadly, anyone identifying or recognizing themselves as anything but heterosexual do so at some risk.

If LGBT individuals are not considered equal to participate openly in society, and are legislated as inferior to their heterosexual counterparts, then their technology, art, their talents and endeavors should not be taken advantage of either.

If you oppose equality for others of different sexual orientations, at least recognize the hypocrisy of using your computer to alienate or persecute others on Twitter or Facebook, simply for bearing a different identity.

There are many choices we can make, and those choices should only affect the consenting individuals who decide to pursue and experience them. One choice: we can choose to give up the gifts the LGBT community has provided.

Or we can choose to start sharing and support equality for everyone; because while many have shown courage in the face of opposition to share their talents and gifts, not all will make this choice, and exceptional gains in all aspects and fields of society will be lost.

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