Late Monday evening, actor Jussie Smollett was walking down a Chicago street when he was approached by two masked men. The men caught Smollett’s attention by calling Smollett racial and homophobic slurs. They then proceeded to beat Smollett, tie a rope around Smollett’s neck and pour a chemical substance over him. Before fleeing the scene, the men proclaimed, “This is MAGA country.”
The news of Smollett’s attack broke Tuesday morning, quickly circulating the internet until it landed on my Twitter feed in the early afternoon.
I was balancing a copy of Freud’s infamous sexuality essays in my lap while precariously holding a cup of coffee in my left hand and phone in my right. I saw the tweets and read the horrific details, my heart breaking with each word. As my hands trembled, coffee spilled out of my cup and onto my lap, staining my pants, burning my legs and ruining my copy of Freud.
While cleaning up the mess, I noticed the book was opened to a passage discussing homosexuality. I then remembered why I had stopped reading and checked Twitter in the first place. In this passage, Freud characterizes homosexuality as an “inversion.”
Reminded of this blatant homophobia, I became irate. My pants were ruined, my coffee wasted and the exact homophobia Freud’s writing expressed was presently endangering queer people of color’s lives.