An openly gay 15 year old has been declared brain dead after being shot by a classmate Oxnard. The 14 year old shooter was described by another student 'as a calm, smart student who played on the basketball team. "I didn't think he was that kind of kid."'
So, did the 14 year old fear he was going to be forcefully sodomized by the effeminate older boy? Was he a brainless queer-hating jock? Neither sound too likely to me in this case.
So vile is the stigma of being labelled "queer" that some young men will go to absurd and irrational lengths to prove otherwise, whether they're straight, latently gay or 'questioning'. Perhaps, the shooter believed the victim was going to 'out' him, who knows.
'Out' is an appropriate term. It doesn't just mean "in the open", it also means "away from or not included".
'Coming out' means rejecting traditional 'normal' conformity and embracing another 'alternative' set of values, beliefs, ideals and behaviors. This event can cause an irrevocable severing of connections with some family and friends. Insults from strangers are easier to withstand than the glares of betrayal, disappointment, disgust from those nearest and dearest.
It's no wonder the suicide rate among 'questioning' teens is so high.
Nor is it any surprise that some choose to never face 'coming out' at all, and lead double lives, pretending to be happy, normal and straight. One little white lie after another turns into years of deception, and possibly, destructive infidelity.
The problem, as I see it, is our society makes such a big issue over "coming out". We need to live in a world where gender preference is no more remarkable or unusual than, say, a preference for a certain hair color, or whether mushrooms are preferred on pizza or not.
No amount of "God's Law" can justify the quantity of Gay-bashing, teen-suicide, infidelity, discrimination, and broken families that result from policies that perpetuate homophobia.
If fear of being labelled 'gay' is actually what triggered the savage event that ended Lawrence King's life, then we as a species, need to seriously re-examine what kind of values we're giving those that will follow us.