Sunday, October 10, 2010

Welcome to Norman, Oklahoma - Gay Teens Please Kill Yourselves...

From the Dallas Voice - A 19-year-old gay man from Oklahoma has taken his own life, and his parents say a hate-filled recent City Council meeting he attended may have driven him over the edge.

Zach Harrington was a talented musician who’d endured years of struggles due to his sexual orientation in high school in conservative Norman, Okla.

On Sept. 28, Harrington attended a three-hour public hearing on a proposal to declare October gay history month in the city. Although the council ultimately approved the proposal, Harrington’s parents described the meeting as potentially “toxic” for their son, a private person who internalized his feelings.

From the Norman Transcript - One man said he moved to Norman because he thought it was the kind of place that would never accept the GLBT community with open arms. A woman, who described herself as “bi-racial,” said she was tired of the GLBT plight being compared to Civil Rights. Some of those who opposed the proclamation claimed that members of the GLBT community would use it to infiltrate the public school system, essentially allowing the “gay lifestyle” to become a part of the curriculum.

For those in attendance, it was hard to ignore the intolerant grumblings, the exasperated sighs and cold, hard stares that followed comments from supporters of the GLBT proclamation.

Zach's family, who described him as a private young man who internalized his feelings and emotions, said it was this “toxic” environment at the Sept. 28 council meeting that may have pushed their gay son and brother over the edge. Nikki Harrington, Zach’s older sister, said her brother likely took all of the negative things said about members of the GLBT community straight to heart.

The  message  the people in that  room sent to  19 year old  Zach Harrington was  loud and clear;   You don't belong here,  you are  something "less than" the rest of us,  God is sending you to Hell,  and  what's more,   we know that you  are  really out to  destroy us all,  and our town.

I think the next  act by the Norman City Council should be to approve  sister city project with Terhan, Iran.  As both cites  are clearly full of  fundamentalist religious extremists  who are terrifed  by diversity, and feel threatened by democracy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a tragedy.

And the best way to respond is to focus on the positive voices. These clips show the bigotry, but there were also lots of people at this meeting who stood up to declare their support for the queer community in Norman. The city council was doing a good thing, but the meeting was hijacked by opportunists and bigots (aspiring state politicians sent out a blast email out to fan the rage before the meeting).

GLBT history month should be about celebrating the ways the queer community makes our community better. I hope you also went to youtube or the city website so you could listen listen to their voices. I was inspired. Several were amazingly progressive. One member even said that he had originally planned to reject the measure, but after hearing the hatred changed his vote. I hope that gay oklahomans listen to these voices, because there are lots of us who support them and welcome them!