Saturday, October 2, 2010

Brody's Scribbles... No Laughing Matter

Joseph Couture is a Canadian based Author and Freelance Journalist. Joseph's blogsite can be found here: [ Link ]

By Joseph Couture (London, Ontario) OCT 2 | There is a difference between justice and revenge.  Revenge is little more than an eye for an eye.  Justice is truth balanced by fairness measured by reason.    I need to raise a difficult subject in order to make a subtle point with profound implications.  Bear with me for a moment while I get there.
America is still grieving the loss of 18 year old Tyler Clementi after his tragic suicide last week.  After Tyler’s roommate secretly web cast him having sex with another man live over the internet, he was so distraught he leap off a bridge to his death.  There is much debate over what punishment the two young individuals responsible for placing the images on the net should face.
The fact of the matter is I do not know why his roommate did what he did, whether it was a simple youthful prank or an act of hateful homophobia.  What I do know is that the fact the Tyler was engaged with another man is the reason why it ended as tragically as it did.
About a week ago Joe Jervis, the journalist who runs the popular gay website Joe.My.God posted a similar video to the one in question.  In this case, a handful of young men filmed themselves laughing and joking as they listened to a male friend of theirs having sex with a female lover. 
During the sexual encounter, the young man accidentally “butt dialled” one of his friends on his cell phone.  The friend then proceeded to record the heterosexual couple having sex while the others listened in and made fun of them.
When the sexual encounter was over and the two realized that they had been observed, they were deeply embarrassed and asked the others not to disseminate the tape in anyway. They responded by putting the video up on YouTube where it ended up further displayed, including on the gay websites like Joe.My.God.  It was placed under the tag “silliness” on the site.
What is the difference between the invasion of privacy of this young heterosexual couple and the invasion of privacy of the gay couple?  None as far as I can tell.  The difference may lie only in the intention of those displaying the images.  The kids in the case of the straight couple were just having some fun at the expense of their friends and many people got a laugh out of it.  It was seen as “silliness.”  We do not know if the roommate who recorded Tyler was engaging in a youthful prank or a malicious act.
I am not pointing fingers at Mr. Jervis to say he was doing anything malicious, nor am I attempting to defend the actions of either group of individuals who recorded inappropriate images and distributed them on the net.  Rather I have an entirely different point to make.
My concern is the difference in how heterosexual sex is viewed as compared to homosexual sex.  In the case of the straight couple, getting caught in the act was a joke, a mere laughing matter as far as the world was concerned.  But in the case of the gay kids, homosexuality is considered so shameful, so deviant that the resulting humiliation to the participants was enough to drive the one boy to suicide.
The problem here is not simply the profound error in judgement to record and release those pictures; the real problem is that anyone believes that being gay is a crime so horrible that to be exposed as a homosexual requires you end your life.
There is a very simple reason why that young man and many more like him would believe such a thing—because that is what they were told by society.  The message that being gay is wrong is everywhere.  It is so common place that suicide amongst our young gay kids is also everywhere. 
It’s time this stopped.  It’s time we corrected the message.  It is not wrong to be gay.  It is wrong to hate someone for being gay.  It is wrong to hate, period.


Trab said...

"the real problem is that anyone believes that being gay is a crime so horrible that to be exposed as a homosexual requires you end your life."

I don't agree, but only because you've not carried it through quite far enough. The real problem is that so many believe that being gay is a crime so horrible that being exposed as a homosexual requires you to hound that someone from all directions till they see no other way out than to end their life.

The difference is that yours blames the victim for not be 'tough enough to take it', and mine blames society for its intolerance.

I do recognize that you clarified the issue more succinctly immediately thereafter.

Bizarrely, kids who rape and even murder, which are crimes, are not hounded and vilified as much as the ones who are doing nothing but wanting to love someone of the same sex, which is not even a crime. It does say something about religions when they viciously condemn love but not violence and murder, which get only passing mention.

Tim Trent said...

No. The difference is that Mr Clementi killed himself because of it.

The importance is how Mr Clementi viewed it.

I know the point that you are making, but you miss the real one. This kid was bullied, yes by one act, and killed himself because of it.