Friday Philosophy: No Hate

Perhaps as penance for something I did in a past life, I am prone to perusing the back pages of Daily Kos.  Like Diogenes looking for a human being among his fellow Greeks, I search for those who might learn that hatred starts small and begins with the words we use.

I seek to teach.  Mostly I discover people who are unwilling to learn.  I find people who are so invested in their juvenile attempt at humor that they can’t stop to learn why it is juvenile, why it is demeaning, not to its supposed targets, but to those whom it actually hits, and as the conversation progresses (I refuse to give up the hope that everyone can learn not to hate), I get to learn how deep and varied their hatred actually is.

I find pseudo-intellectual  analysis of why only the so-called normal people deserve equality in this society.  Upon challenging their reasoning, I often find the same people have a very low opinion of education.  I ask questions that don’t get answered.  Apparently, those questions do have an effect, however.  You’d be amazed at the number of times people assume that the questions I ask must be asked in anger and respond in kind…and never answer the question.

And I find hatred, both the small and the large of it.

To establish a base of reference, I quote (slightly edited) from Hatred, written November 23, 2007.

Once upon a time I appeared in an anti-hate commercial, part of the the Hate Free Zones campaign sponsored by the Arkansas Progressive Network back in the  late 90s.

My partner (at the time) and were seen walking along the riverfront in Little Rock, an interracial lesbian couple, one of us transsexual and the other bisexual.  The commercial displayed all sorts of human targets of hate, set to the music of INXS’ Mediate.  The final video scenes showed the burned out station wagon at the scene of slaying of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

Around the same time I was asked to participate on a panel to discuss hatred and how it affected the community.  There I was on the dais.  There was a pastor and Rita Sklar from the Arkansas ACLU  and a PFLAG representative.  We were each asked to…or was it allowed to…give a brief introduction.  I went last.  I gave what I thought was the obvious spontaneous statement:  

Hi.  I’m Robyn Serven…and it appears I am here to represent the targets of hate.

I then read a prepared piece.  I am a human being grew into my second performance piece, including all the poetry I had written for Crossing the Gender Line, but replacing the prose with that speech…or scolding, if you will.

I haven’t performed Crossing the Gender Line since then.  It has become old news.  

As I was then, I’m still stumbling for the words to express all I feel about the subject of hatred.

Again from that piece from a year ago:

At times like this I sometimes turn to art in order to get myself into the mood.  But on this subject, I’m rather at a loss.

What are the colors of hate?

I shall still try to grasp it in some way, but I doubt if I will ever understand it.  I only have the target’s view.  I don’t know that it is sufficient.  I don’t know how to hate people.  I am pleased with that state of affairs.

Hate lives in the dark places…of the mind, heart and soul…and too often is carved in blood on its targets.

A few days ago, someone who goes by the username Shesk wrote:

We speak of equal rights for all, but we limit rights to some individuals, rightly, dont’ we?  We limit childrens’ rights, we limit the rights of those who have breached certain behavioral constructs (i.e., criminals).  We limit what certain religious groups do in the name of their religion.  We still segregate people on the basis of their gender: men’s rooms and ladies’ rooms.

So, again, I think that the concept of equal rights for all is not all that it sounds to be.  We figured out that skin color doesn’t make us different, but we still think that different genetalia make us different for certain things, anyway.  So being gay or heterosexual might mean that different treatment might make sense (from some I’m not sure what policy reason), or not.

I think it is sad that Shesk had no qualms about equating GLBT people with children and criminals.  Extremely sad.  As a transsexual woman, I have to live with the fact that the federal government has lumped us together in the Americans with Disabilities Act with compulsive gamblers, kleptomaniacs and pyromaniacs.

Extremely sad.

Twice I asked him:

Dude. (5+ / 0-)

I’m a transsexual woman.  I had my genitals surgically altered.  I was straight when I was a guy and now I’m a lesbian.

Give me a rational explanation of why I should lose my rights because of a medical procedure.

I’m still waiting for an answer.  But I’m not holding my breath.

I’ve learned in the back pages that the lives of poor people are more important than the lives of GLBT teens…who apparently don’t deserve to live.  This one came from someone who works feeding the homeless…and thinks that population doesn’t include any of these self-same kids.  I have to admit, if I were one of those kids, I wouldn’t talk to Kino either.  Or go near him at all.  His hatred might be the last blow.

Meanwhile I was reading the front and middle pages as well.  I read about the surprise some people experienced upon learning how the hatred makes people act.  I guess it was all theoretical until seen on video.

It’s not been theoretical to lgbt people in small town America.  And some of the large ones.  Scratch racist and you find someone who hates…and it’s not usually limited to race.

In California people are trying to enfranchise the hatred.  And people here…and there…have decried the timing.  Why couldn’t it just wait until after the election, when we could fix everything?  That assumes that people will be motivated to fix anything later, let alone be willing to, as they say, come back and fix things for us later.

Sadly, we have little history of that ever happening.

I have every expectation that on November 5 I will once again feel the sensation of abandonment.

What was it I said nearly a year ago?

That some folks seem to think hate is a necessary form of expression, to the point where they think it should be so protected by the First Amendment that hate crimes laws should be opposed pains me greatly.

In the next breath people defend their rights.  But some of us do not have those rights.  The problem with always defending is that when it comes time to push back against the barriers of darkness, the defenders usually don’t show up.

I would be more thankful if people could think beyond protecting the rights they have, to capture the thought that there are people who do not have those same rights…and never have had.  It’s not sufficient to defend your rights.  You must show up when it comes time to push back against the barriers of darkness and grant rights to people who have never been protected before.

Now would be nice.

Last week I posted three thoughts, time and again, in the 50+ diaries posted for National Coming Out Day, which commemorates the Second National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, when half a million GLBT people and allies protested in DC for equal rights and against government inaction during the AIDS epidemic.  That was the first time the AIDS quilt was displayed.

Those three thoughts:

Equality should never have to wait.

All is too small a word to be divided.

Political convenience should never trump equal rights.

I’m willing to discuss whatever anyone thinks is wrong with those thoughts.

Blood on the Tracks

No Hate

The train of progress

moves down the track

unencumbered by those

left behind


for the good

of an all too small

Lives consumed

as so much chum

to the hatred

Promises are always made

to come back

to rectify the wrongs

but the train

by its nature

always moves forward

Happiness denied

in the name

of progress

Must we wait

for another train

of doubtful existence

to arrive sometime

after we die?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–October 17, 2008


Skip to comment form

    • Robyn on October 18, 2008 at 12:03 am

    I worked on this so long I didn’t have time to think about what might be a better train song.

    This is all I got:

    Bob Dylan:  It Take’s a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

  1. I have not gotten up to speed on Prop 8. How the hell is it even close? What’s the best way to fight it or who should I read?

    And I am afraid I must admit to having just posted a semi-hateful comment over on Dkos re religious intolerance. (fortunately I was joking)

    • Alma on October 18, 2008 at 1:36 am

    No good excuses either.  I don’t know why some people think work can only be done on one front at a time.  Its way past time for REAL equality. We have to continually keep pushing until we break the barrier holding people back.

    • Robyn on October 18, 2008 at 1:58 am


  2. for Iraq Moratorium Day.  Here’s a persent:  Michael Moore, gay activist, addresses the issue of hate against the community with his unusual wit.

Comments have been disabled.