Sometimes, the roots of violence against LGBTQ people go much deeper than the hearts and minds of a few people or communities.
The recent awareness of the Domestic Violence and subsequent trauma experienced by Daniel Ashley Pierce has been the source of numerous televised discussions surrounding Daniel’s Coming Out experiences. People outside the LGBTQ South appear to be very shocked by what they’ve witnessed in the video which exposed the blatant abuse he received from his immediate family. Those of us who have experienced similar abuse or who have lived in near constant fear of this abuse and the rejection which follows are not surprised by what Daniel allowed us to witness. Daniel took a courageous step by publicly exposing this abuse. He has undoubtedly helped and will continue to help countless LGBTQ people especially those of us living in the LGBTQ South.
WATCH: Secretly-Recorded Coming Out Video That Is Almost Every LGBT Child’s Nightmare Goes Viral
As I follow the national dialogue I am concerned with the de-contextualizing of the abuse Daniel and others experience. If we hope to make progressive social changes to prevent these situations we need to understand them in the context of the communities where they take place. We need to call this what it is. It is Domestic Violence based on religious persecution. What Daniel and others are being subjected to is religious persecution in the form of emotional, spiritual, verbal, and physical abuse. Until we face these deeply rooted multi-generational problems in our society we will not be able to effectively move beyond addressing individual cases of this abuse to achieve a solution to the systemic problem of institutionalized abuse based upon religion.
When religious dogma is invoked as Truth it brings to bear the full power of the inter-generational strength of our deeply entrenched religious history. In the South, LGBTQ people are the primary target of this 21st century American religious persecution which uses fear and intimidation. Many of us are survivors of this persecution and abuse and some carry the psychological damage with us for the rest of our lives.
Americans easily and passionately identify what we believe is religious persecution in other cultures and societies while we adamantly deny our own. Let us change the conversation and call this violence and abuse what it truly is as we acknowledge institutionalized religion as the source of the fear and ignorance which results in the persecution of LGBTQ people.