Monday, April 19, 2010

Andy and the "hate crime"

On Friday evening, Andy was assaulted on a downtown sidewalk in Venice, Ca. He was wearing what I call his "Tinkerbell" clothes-- he likes wild colors and patterns and "girlish" fabrics. Two guys got revved up, yelling he was gay, and started hitting and kicking him, knocked him down and almost broke his wrist. Luckily, the policemen were not far away. His iphone was stolen-- which had all his schoolwork and photos on it, and hadn't been backed up. But thank God they didn't have a gun or a knife, and he was able to get up and walk. A friend brought him home. I had already planned to go down to see him and mom, so I was there at noon on Saturday. I am reflecting on this event with prayers and fear; and the awareness that the loss of civility in our public sphere, and the constant tension and hostility lately in the news may contribute to the "hair-trigger" on angry young men. I have begged Andy to try not to "stand out" so much, to maintain a "defensive" look, such as I wore in New York. The area he was in is not considered a "dangerous" neighborhood.
Being a parent is such a hard lesson in helplessness. Learning prudence is one of the most important lessons of "getting along in the world". I am truly thanking God that it was not worse.
I continue to say my prayers, but this event makes me even more fearful, and "cowed". I think I will look up that word. Does it mean to be roped around the feet and thrown, like in a rodeo, when they are going to brand the cow??? Also, this is not about sexual preference-- it is about clothes. Should one say that being conventional is so important in this life-threatening situation? He just likes to dress like a kindergartener, or a "fairy". He would say he is enlarging the fashion-sense of people, and the colorfulness of the street scene. He would say that he is helping liberate men from the straight jacket of pinstripe suits, or white t-shirt and jeans.