Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gay Kids are Dying

Today was the day when people were asked to wear purple to express our feeing about bullying and to honor the gay kids (and bullied non-gay kids who were perceived as gay) who have committed suicide because they didn't see that their lives would ever get better.

Ready the story of my friend Gabi's son, Bill. I've linked this before, but perhaps I have new readers who have not read it before. Be sure to scroll to the bottom and play the song that Steve wrote, called "Gabi's Song"


Today Dan Savage posted a column in response to a letter he received. I could not think of any better way to spotlight the situation than to repost it. Warning--explicit language, which I think is entirely justified, given the circumstances.

Dear Dan: I was listening to the radio yesterday morning, and I heard an interview with you about your It Gets Better campaign. I was saddened and frustrated with your comments regarding people of faith and their perpetuation of bullying. As someone who loves the Lord and does not support gay marriage, I can honestly say I was heartbroken to hear about the young man who took his own life.

If your message is that we should not judge people based on their sexual preference, how do you justify judging entire groups of people for any other reason (including their faith)? There is no part of me that took any pleasure in what happened to that young man, and I know for a fact that is true of many other people who disagree with your viewpoint.

To that end, to imply that I would somehow encourage my children to mock, hurt, or intimidate another person for any reason is completely unfounded and offensive. Being a follower of Christ is, above all things, a recognition that we are all imperfect, fallible, and in desperate need of a savior. We cannot believe that we are better or more worthy than other people.

Please consider your viewpoint, and please be more careful with your words in the future.

—L.R.

Savage:

I'm sorry your feelings were hurt by my comments.

No, wait. I'm not. Gay kids are dying. So let's try to keep things in perspective: Fuck your feelings.

A question: Do you "support" atheist marriage? Interfaith marriage? Divorce and remarriage? All are legal, all go against Christian and/or traditional ideas about marriage, and yet there's no "Christian" movement to deny marriage rights to atheists or people marrying outside their respective faiths or people divorcing and remarrying.

Why the hell not?

Sorry, L.R., but so long as you support the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples, it's clear that you do believe that some people—straight people—are "better or more worthy" than others.

And—sorry—but you are partly responsible for the bullying and physical violence being visited on vulnerable LGBT children. The kids of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality—even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way (at least when they happen to be addressing a gay person)—learn to see gay people as sinful, damaged, disordered, and unworthy. And while there may not be any gay adults or couples where you live, or at your church, or in your workplace, I promise you that there are gay and lesbian children in your schools. And while you can only attack gays and lesbians at the ballot box, nice and impersonally, your children have the option of attacking actual gays and lesbians, in person, in real time.

Real gay and lesbian children. Not political abstractions, not "sinners." Gay and lesbian children.

Try to keep up: The dehumanizing bigotries that fall from the lips of "faithful Christians," and the lies about us that vomit out from the pulpits of churches that "faithful Christians" drag their kids to on Sundays, give your children license to verbally abuse, humiliate, and condemn the gay children they encounter at school. And many of your children—having listened to Mom and Dad talk about how gay marriage is a threat to family and how gay sex makes their magic sky friend Jesus cry—feel justified in physically abusing the LGBT children they encounter in their schools. You don't have to explicitly "encourage [your] children to mock, hurt, or intimidate" queer kids. Your encouragement—along with your hatred and fear—is implicit. It's here, it's clear, and we're seeing the fruits of it: dead children.

Oh, and those same dehumanizing bigotries that fill your straight children with hate? They fill your gay children with suicidal despair. And you have the nerve to ask me to be more careful with my words?

Did that hurt to hear? Good. But it couldn't have hurt nearly as much as what was said and done to Asher Brown and Justin Aaberg and Billy Lucas and Cody Barker and Seth Walsh—day-in, day-out for years—at schools filled with bigoted little monsters created not in the image of a loving God, but in the image of the hateful and false "followers of Christ" they call Mom and Dad.

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=5135029%EF%BB%BF

http://www.facebook.com/DanSavage

3 comments:

l'empress said...

He's got it, of course. Children learn from their parents' viewpoints, whether verbal or implied.

There were kids in my neighborhood who wouldn't play with me because "the Jews killed Jesus." (How do you like me, now, you upstanding Christians?)

I was fortunate have strength and support that I didn't even know I had.

Anonymous said...

mingle*****jon

Bullying for any reason is bad. sadly, the people who are most vunerable are the insecure kids. Not enough is being done to stop bullying.

Bev, My wife and I have been watching a program on MTV called "If you really knew me".
It is a wake up call for kids who bully other kids.
check it out.

Jeff Patterson said...

What a great article! I appreciate you posting it. I was a child that dealt with this, so I understand the kind of pain that can be inflicted. Hopefully, from these deaths, change can take place. Thank you, again, for sharing it!

Take care!

-Mingle-