When the Supreme Court first started hearing arguments against California’s Proposition 8 and the ironically titled Defense of Marriage Act, I wrote that we could expect to see some vicious backlash among the homophobes of our country. They see their privilege coming to an end and that is something they cannot allow. They quake with fear at losing their sanctified place at the head of the table, of having to treat us like human beings. They rage against losing our very being as a punch line for their cruel humor and a reason to deny us basic human rights. This is why they will lash out every chance they can get to punish as many of us as they can for the sin of being ourselves.
All of which is why I am not the least bit surprised over the persecution of Kaitlyn Hunt. This young woman did nothing that heterosexual men do not already do with obvious regularity. Indeed she and her “victim” were of the same social circle and friends already, more than can be said of most heterosexual relationships at their age. It is, as I stated, common for older students, usually male, to date younger ones. The difference is the only thing the two usually have in common in these young heterosexual relationships is a mutual attraction. It is often the case that, rather than be friends and build up to more as Kaitlyn did, the couple in question are pushed into each other by intermediaries, sometimes even family. Rarely, complaints to the contrary, does this lead to anyone seeking to prosecute the young man. There are of course, exceptions, especially if race or class come into play.
Most states have laws that take into consideration of both participants in cases of statutory rape. In New York, again despite comments otherwise on these articles, this relationship would have been perfectly legal. I do not know about Florida’s laws (as resident assistant at SUNY Brockport I was required to know NY’s) but if they do not have similar laws, they need them. Mind you, that is not the point.
The point is the only reason these charges are being pursued is the ignorance and bigotry of the other girl’s parents. I can only imagine what this poor young woman is going through now. What must it be like to have parents that hate what you are so much that they have thrown someone you love in jail? What must it be like to know there are at least a dozen other such relationships in your school between heterosexual couples only to have your relationship singled out?
We see this hypocrisy play out in so many other tiny but important ways. We hear our relatives, often while holding hands with their significant other or after sharing a kiss, ask why we can’t just keep it to ourselves. We see our relationships maligned as something unnatural and unholy by monstrous zealots. We watch as expressions of love and happiness that heterosexuals can take for granted are treated as crimes by society. We are told to be patient with those who protest our very existence and deal with tone policing by our straight and cis brothers and sisters on a regular basis.
The worst Kaitlyn did was exercise bad judgement, and even that is in doubt considering the ambiguity surrounding their intimacy. It is entirely possible it never went beyond kissing and heavy petting, and if you don’t think the parents or a prosecutor would seek charges over that, you clearly have never put yourself in the place of a black man walking down the street with white woman in some parts of this country. The oppressor will stretch the laws like taffy to maintain their privilege, something young Ms. Hunt, and all of us, are sadly being reminded of now.
- You Can’t Be Serious: Florida Teen Expelled From School And Charged With Felony For Lesbian Relationship (bossip.com)
- Lesbian Teen Taken to Court for High-School Romance (darichards.wordpress.com)
- Lesbians in Sport (natalesportsblog.wordpress.com)
- On Homophobia (queerconfessions.wordpress.com)