Editorial: What’s Killing “the Gay”?

The Gay Man Who Wrote This Press Release is Dead

Keith Kimmel wrote the press release you see below on his blog 29 March 2010.Two days later he was found dead in an apartment in which he was staying. I first picked this story up from a link on a blog by a lesbian,  Oklahoma Homo,  that I recently discovered. Then I found a bit more on the story in the GLBTQ Nation, here.  Keith Kimmel was described as a Gay Activist who in February gain national attention when he filed (and later dropped) a lawsuit to secure an “I’m Gay” license plate. Then this past weekend, Keith wrote on his blog that he had been roughed up by police attempting to stop a fight (in which he was involved) at a Gay bar, and he wrote the allegations on his blog. Listen, this is really haunting. The man in the picture above is dead. He wrote the following in the proper  press release third person, but it’s eerie, now, and very sad. On her show, Rachel Maddow has from time to time made reference to the people who disparagingly refer to us as “the Gay,” as in, for instance, ‘What are we going to do about “the Gay?”‘ By the way she says it, one cannot help but smile at how she perfectly captures the disgust and the denunciation inherent in referring to us, and our issues, as “the Gay,” while she none too subtly lets our attackers know that we know how they refer to us.

According to a report in the The Oklahoman, Kimmel, who was only 28 years old, was found by a friend. She said he was in a chair in front of her computer. Kimmel had recently broken up with his boyfriend, who was a dancer at the club where Kimmel had been in the fight. An entry on his blog two days before he died said

“I am done trying to love a world that has no love for me. I am done trying to believe redeeming things about people who have nothing redeeming about them.”

He was angry about the breakup and wrote about it in the hopes of alleviating some of the pain of it.

“It relieves pain. Some people cut themselves, others take drugs, I write and — and sometimes take drugs, too.”

Although the Coroner’s office has not disclosed the cause of death pending a full autopsy, Kimmel complained that officers struck his head against a patrol car’s door frame several times as they tried to stuff him into the car. He wrote he was drinking at the club Friday night and police were called after he was involved in a fight.

His death was announced on his Facebook page, and then picked up by various media outlets, including Towleroad, which published a picture of the wounds on Keith’s stomach. On his Sirrius broadcast, The Michaelangelo Sinorile Show, Michaelangelo discussed it today.

He never did get to have his “I’m Gay” license plate because of an internal Tax Commission rule against special license tags that “may be offensive to the general public.”

Meanwhile, Keith is dead. One cannot help but wonder how offended the “general public” is now. Not very, I suggest. Whether by accident of his own hand or the purposeful banging of his head on a steel door by law enforcement, he’s dead. I’m heart-sickened at how the despair and demoralization of social disenfranchisement has led to the death of another Gay brother. I don’t care what the Coroner finds, we all know the truth. In the bigger picture of  his life, starting way before the weekend incident, but perhaps including it, hatred and homophobia killed Keith Kimmel. And it’s killing the rest of us too.

Our deaths, like Keith’s, are incremental…a hit here, a slash there, the heartbreak of disappointment and disillusionment as we see our leaders fade to neutral on issues that could save our lives, a rush of fear and anger as we see our fellow citizens resent us our pursuit of happiness by attempts to deny us our basic, human rights, and a gut-wrenching knot of bile, disdain and incredulity as we see that our incremental progress has an incremental death as its punchline.

He had no home except that car. He lost his boyfriend. He was deeply upset. He had dropped out of the community college due to financial constraints. According to his friends, he was loud and boisterous with a heart of gold, and he was tremendously generous of spirit.  He couldn’t have “I’m Gay” on his license plate, but it’s written all over his obituary and hundreds of thousands of obituaries before his. It may be written in code, even in death, but for those of us who speak “Gay,” the question remains: How long are we going to continue to appease the people who live violence, breath hatred and find purpose in doing all they can to put an end to “the Gay?”

Today, and henceforth, for Keith, for all the Keiths before him, and for our future, we are ALL “the Gay.” So, when they refer to us, and they will, as “the Gay,” you should know exactly who they are talking about, and you should easily figure out what they intend to do about you.

I am “the Gay,” you are “the Gay,” we are ALL “the Gay.”

About TT Thomas

Writer, Reader, Reviewer, Thinker, Tinker, Accumulating Amazing Things That Other People Say and Do.
This entry was posted in Everyday Heros, Homophobia, Leadership, Media Heat, News, Our History: Gays Through the Ages and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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