I can’t really identify how I feel about what happened to Jussie Smollett. I’m angry. Confused. Guilty. I can’t believe I live in a world like this, with people who are so ignorant and hateful. If there is a positive, it’s that people are seeing a darkness that rarely gets experienced by those with privilege. I say that knowing full well a human had bleach thrown on their body and a noose tied around their neck by strangers and I do not wish to make light of that by trying to find a positive. It’s hard to see positive in it at all and I’m honestly not sure if we should. I really can’t imagine what it would feel like to be assaulted in that way, to experience the publicity afterward, to know that you can’t walk down the street without knowing that reality is possible in 2019. The trauma of it has been haunting me since the news broke, putting into perspective how privileged I am to have what I have in this world.
This week, I received two not-so-great comments on the Facebook’s blog page. Fortunately, I saw them before long and could delete and block the commenters. I know not everyone will agree with my perspective, or choices. To be fair, I don’t agree with a lot of other people’s perspectives either. This doesn’t mean I have to make space for their negative hostility in my life. I believe there is a better way to address our differences, and that’s not from behind a keyboard, anonymously. That said, despite my confidence in who I am, my wife’s story, our journey, and the energy we put into the world, I still can’t seem to shake the one comment: ‘M’ is for Mental. I’m bolding it because that’s how heavy it feels. I want it to stand out on the page. Ignorantly left for me by a stranger with all the power and embarrassment and cowardice of a keyboard. Four words. Twelve characters. It probably took them three seconds to type and hit Enter. It represents so much about what is wrong with those who don’t understand people like Katie and me.
One of the trending videos this week was Ellen Page on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert discussing what happened to Jussie and the danger of an anti-LGBT+ rights political stance in this country. I cried watching it, feeling the same fury and pain boil from within her, practically reaching out from the screen and igniting my own. I believe it is dangerous to allow political beliefs that make groups of people inferior to others. There is correlation to the marginalized being hurt disproportionately. As Ellen Page said so boldly, it really does have to fucking stop.