PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Actions, Or Inactions, Have Consequences

Just after midnight on Nov. 20, which is Trans a Day of Remembrance, to honor the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of hate and violence, an armed gunman entered an LGBTQ nightclub during a drag show and shot and killed five people, two of whom were transgender individuals.

In recent months, anti-gay rhetoric has been amping up among lawmakers, like those in Florida who are demonizing drag shows, and on places like Fox News, where people like Tucker Carlson spew vile and ignorant propaganda designed to stir up hatred.

On Monday, Shangela, a drag queen, performed what I suspect will be one of the most iconic numbers in the history of Dancing with the Stars. Even though she finished fourth, I suspect both the beauty and the power of her performance, particularly given the violence from the day before, will leave an indelible imprint on anyone who watches her strut her stuff with an open mind.

The power of the media cannot be underestimated. You promote what you permit. If you permit the kind of homophobic diatribes that are consider “Infotainment” on conservative media outlets, it leads to the kind of violence that happened in Colorado Springs. Anyone who watches someone tear down a group of people without speaking up, or continues to consume media that traffics in promoting hostility toward the LGBTQ community, is complicit in their passivity.

You cannot say you are a person of peace and listen or support any type of media that promotes violence or foments hostility. Actions, or inactions, have consequences. And we need to do better. Lives literally depend upon it.

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