Annette Gross

An Open Letter to Karen Santorum

Filed By Annette Gross | January 17, 2012 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: anti-gay bullying, anti-gay politicians, far right politicians, Karen Santorum, open letter, overhyped rhetoric, Rick Santorum

Dear Karen,

Yesterday I read that you are upset with the gays and feel that what they are doing to your husband is backyard bullying. Well, Karen, I feel your pain. I can only imagine what it must be like for poor Rick to get up every day knowing that so many people don't like him for who he is.

It has to be difficult standing up in Thumbnail image for open_letter.jpegfront of the TV cameras knowing that at any minute, someone he doesn't know might rush up to him and push him or throw something at him for no good reason. I wonder if he has to use back doors to leave a building so the gay bullies won't be able to find him, follow him home and beat him up.

Does he hide under the covers in bed at night, crying about the injustice of it all and feeling that no one else in the world understands? What would you do if one night your husband didn't come home? What if he just couldn't take it anymore and ran away to another city where no one knew him, only to find that no one would take him in and he had to sell drugs on the streets or prostitute himself just to be able to feed himself?

And Karen, it must not be only the gays who bully Rick, but the pro-choice people too. Given his stance on abortion, he must cower thinking that women who have been raped or been the victims of incest might be after him too.

Does he run down alleys when he leaves a debate, hoping these women, heavy with babies they didn't ask for, don't come lumbering after him, ready to shove him into a garbage can or knock him down and stomp on his face, leaving him half-dead in the alley? What if these "sinners" reached him and tied him up to a tree, and beat him senseless?

Oh Karen, I hope that you can find the support you need. Perhaps you and the other wives of the far-Right Republican candidates, who also might feel that the gays are bullying them for no apparent reason, can start your own support group. There, in the safety of a warm, loving group of spouses who are just like you, you can talk freely about your fears and worries.

I know that you want to make the world an easier place for people like Rick - where he and others like him don't have to worry that if they make homophobic remarks against a group of people who basically have no rights, they won't be judged unfairly. You see Karen, I am the mother of a gay son.

I know what it's like when I call my son and he doesn't answer and I worry that something terrible might have happened to him. I know that you worry that one day you might come home and find Rick hanging from a rope, just like the hundreds of young LGBT teens who have recently taken their lives, because society vilifies them, just like you feel the gays vilify your husband. I know what it's like to be awake at 3 a.m., worrying about your loved one's safety.

Karen, my heart goes out to you. I hope you find the comfort you desire. But Karen, believe me, you won't get that comfort from me.

I, along with thousands of other parents of LGBT children, are too busy to worry about Rick. We are working to ensure that, despite the hateful rhetoric espoused by your husband and others like him, that our kids get an even chance in this world. We want them to be able to live, work, and share the same benefits that you and your husband enjoy.

Karen, I wish you well. And Karen, I hope it doesn't take you as long as it's taken us, the parents of LGBT children, to let the world know what the actual, real-life toll of bullying takes on OUR families.


Annette Gross

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