Thursday, May 13, 2010

Once You Label Me, You Negate Me: A Requiem for Larry King

Society declares the others out of those who they neither understand nor able to neatly fill the ideals set forth as norms. The demarcation of social constructs render the other as devoid of worth. The moment that a living, breathing, human being is relegated to caricature or stereotypical othering, it then becomes much easier to commit and justify atrocious acts to our fellow man. 

His name was Larry king, and he was a boy who just happened to discover his true self at the age ten, and had the convictions and courage to refuse to live a lie. He was unapologetically gay, and like many teenagers who have to wear school uniforms, Larry asserted his individuality by wearing make-up, jewelry, and high-heeled boots. 

Unfortunately, this annoying little social construct called gender roles dictated that Larry and his choices were wrong. That he chose to be true to himself was a concept that made a lot of people uncomfortable. On February 12, 2008, Brandon McInerney's discomfort at his classmate's so-called otherness led him to bring a gun to school. While inside English class, he did an atrocious, cowardly act: he shot Larry in the back of the head. Larry was rushed to the hospital, but was pronounced dead less than 24 hours later. Just as bravely as he stood up for his choices in life, in death Larry did one final good deed: he donated his organs. 

Brandon McInerney should be held accountable for his actions, but in the end, he is just one person. He could be sent to jail for the rest of his life, but sadly, there will be another person just like him, pulling triggers. We can rehabilitate people one at a time, but unless we challenge and actively exhaust all means to change the system of othering, then more Larry Kings will be slain. It is othering that needs to die. 

Rest in peace, Larry. 

No comments:

We must never permit the voice of humanity
within us to be silenced. It is Man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him a Man.

--Albert Schweitzer

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

--Viktor E. Frankl