author: annie trussler – contributor
A number of my articles are written from an extremely personal standpoint; I suppose I just figure an opinion ought to be close to one’s heart, or rooted in their general passions. This piece will be no different, while simultaneously being very different from anything I have allowed myself to publish. Not everyone will be familiar, or struck to the core with such fear, when they hear the name “Mike Pence.” Such a level of sheer, visceral horror seems to be a queer luxury alone (one could equate him to the Gay Beetlejuice, just instead of ghoulish pranks, he electrocutes you if you date another man).
Pence, much to everyone’s dismay, has been chosen (with some doubts) to serve as Donald Trump’s running mate in this garbage fire of an election. “Well, garbage attracts garbage,” you might think, “Surely he cannot outdo Trump’s sheer ignorance!” There are many forms of evil in this world, but there are two that are so dangerous, so catastrophic, that I shudder to think 50 per cent of the American population deify these two in such a way. Trump is, simply, blind-evil: evil that is founded and distributed via him aimlessly flailing his arms around until he hits the right nerves, and terrifies thousands; Pence is calculating evil. Pence is the kind of evil that makes Darth Vader crawl back into his Star Destroyer and knit sweaters for the homeless.
Pence is the kind of evil that recognizes strides made to better those he feels more superior than, and then promises to snuff them out, for no other reason than to watch the people who fought for their rights suffer. Pence is the kind of evil that looks into the eyes of a freshly rebuilt LGBTQ+ society, and says “no;” that threatens, with a smile, to tear down every new law, every bill, and in their place enforce discrimination laws, particularly those supportive of conversion therapy.
Here is where the personal element comes in: to my straight readers, I am almost certain you have never read those words and felt your heart fall into your stomach. Conversion therapy is the means by which straight, Christian organizations attempt to “convert queer people from their sinful ways.” These attempts at conversion include: electroshock therapy, a complete deconstruction of your previous identity, public admittance of detailed homosexual activity, and so forth.
People, young and old, are 9.8 times more likely to commit suicide after having been admitted to “therapy,” and frankly, I am startled by how low that number is. The horrors within the walls of these organizations are life threatening; there is something so toxic, so inherently violent and cruel, about a funded society in which the torture of queer and trans people is acceptable, even applauded.
When Pence announced his vice-presidency, every queer person in America’s blood ran cold. I have spoken individually with multiple members of the LGBTQ+ community in the States that have shared their plans to abandon ship, should this vandalism of human rights be voted into power.
I know for a sad fact that this article could be met with “straight people struggle, too.” Look at what is happening. Look at the lives lost, the livelihoods destroyed; from the recently repealed marriage ban, to Orlando, to this, there has been centuries-old war waged against LGBTQ+ people. We are not safe. I am not safe. Human rights are not safe. An attack against such a large denomination of the general public is not religious preference or idealistic differences; it is a hate crime – a hate crime that may very well become law by next month.