Glee star Cory Monteith died tragically at the age of 31. Because of its gay-friendly plots and openly gay characters, Glee is a popular show among the LGBT community, so I understand that Monteith’s early death is news. But Monteith’s death unfairly overshadowed the Zimmerman verdict.
A quick perusal of major LGBT media outlets and I found one – GLAAD – that featured commentary on the Zimmerman verdict. I’m not a huge fan of GLAAD, but I commend the organization for writing about the awful crime and unlike a lot of mainstream gay organizations, GLAAD featured the voice of a gay person of color, Wilson Cruz who said, “”My heart breaks for Trayvon Martin’s parents, family, friends, and everyone who has called for justice for Trayvon. GLAAD continues to stand with them and all of our partners working for social justice. As LGBT people, and as people of color, we know that we cannot be truly free until there is justice for all, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” Bravo, GLAAD.
But the Human Rights Campaign, the HuffPost: Gay Voices page, Instinct, Advocate, Out magazine all feature stories on Prop 8, ENDA, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, DOMA, etc., so politics and law aren’t off-topic, so I’m a little disturbed that each ignores the Zimmerman trial outcome.
So why the overwhelming silence?
It’s not that gay people don’t care about Trayvon Martin. On Facebook, every LGBT person I friend has commented on his/her disgust over the verdict – and friends of friends have done the same.
It may be that the mainstream gay media doesn’t believe that the Trayvon Martin story is our story – Martin wasn’t gay, nor was Zimmerman. It involved a young black male teen – not a demographic that is high on the priority list of the mainstream LGBT community.
And I think that it’s a mistake to assume that the LGBT community wouldn’t care about the LGBT perspective on the Trayvon Martin tragedy. Martin could’ve easily been gay, and gay people of color have the added burden of not only being targeted for their sexual orientations, but they also have to worry about racism.
And all this goes back to the chasm between the LGBT community and the black community (don’t believe in the gap? Just look at how quickly gays blamed blacks for the success of Prop 8). And I’m not trying to take anything away from the tragedy of Monteith’s death – it’s very sad, and his family and friends will have to mourn the early and unexpected death of a talented young man. But why not cover both?
It’s a little depressing that GLAAD seems to be a solitary voice in the major mainstream gay media. I hope that in the upcoming days, the other gay news/media sources will prove me wrong.
Update: July 16th, 2013@ 8.45am – The Advocate has posted an op-ed piece by Michelle Garcia, “Op-Ed: Where Trayvon Martinand Matthew Shepard Collide”.