The Loss of Humanity

Mark Vaughan Personal Stories

Once upon a time, there was a young gay man growing up in the wilds of Arkansas. After years of careful observation, this young man had found a group of other gays and lesbians living in hiding among the population, and it was a wonderful thing not to feel alone. Eventually, this network of friends, which was careful and secretive and expanded by invitation only, grew to over thirty members, and while very few romances grew from it, because there was such a wide range of age, race, and class of all members, the group was a shield against loneliness, which was one of the largest problems they all faced.

Then one day, the news program 20/20 ran a segment on “gay bashing,” the very first in the nation. That night, two of the group members, a gay couple, were nailed up in their trailer, and it was set on fire.

The group was devastated. Shocked, and terrified, one by one the vast majority fled in the light of what had been done until the thirty were down to a mere seven, seven who for whatever reason, could not move. It took less than three months.

And that is why equality is important. Because if someone is ‘less than’ you, it is easier to treat them ‘less than human’ and it is when people make those distinctions, that they lose their own humanity.

That’s one of my stories. I wish, with all my heart, it was the worst.