by Noah Michelson
On Wednesday a tragic incident took place at the offices of the Family Research Council when a man opened fire and wounded a security guard. Details are still emerging about the alleged assailant (who volunteered at the DC Center for the LGBT Community), his state of mind, and his motivation for the heinous act, but one thing is certain: Violence is never justified in response to those who oppose us (and over 25 LGBT organizations and advocacy groups signed a statement stating this and offering their condolences).
However, in the hours that followed the shooting, many on the right have tried to reframe the discussion and looked to place blame for the attack on the Southern Poverty Law Center for designating the FRC as a "hate group." Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association said in a statement yesterday, "[T]he SPLC, by their own hateful and malicious rhetoric against FRC and AFA, has essentially claimed responsibility for this shooting, and they too should be held to account in the court of public opinion."
Fischer also claimed that:
SPLC claims it only lists organizations as "hate groups" if they engage in the "propagation of known falsehoods" about homosexuality. But the SPLC website itself lists numerous falsehoods about homosexuality. For instance, the SPLC says, without a single shred of proof, that homosexuals are born that way, that it is impossible to leave the gay lifestyle, and that homosexuals are not at elevated risks of depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders.
Lying in bed last night, I couldn't sleep, because my mind kept racing over those three statements and the personal connection I have to each of them. I can't offer Fischer a "shred of proof" regarding any of the three, but I can tell my stories -- stories that very few people outside my close network of friends, and, in some instances, only one or two people, know about -- in hopes that other queer people can relate and will tell their deep, dark secrets to help shed light on our lives and humanize our struggles so that people like Fischer and groups like the AFA are, ultimately, unable to continue creating a culture of fear, panic, and hatred.