Archive for September, 2010
It is hardly surprising: If you keep refusing a minority basic rights, kids will grow up under the impression that members of said minority are somehow worth less than “normal” people, that it is ok to look down on them, to bully them. Realising this also means realising that you can’t just blame the bullies and their parents but that the government has the responsibility to make sure minorities have exactly the same rights as everyone else. The Unites States are further away from ensuring this than most other Western civilisations and the consequences are coming to light recently:
- New Jersey: Gay student secretly taped having sex kills himself
- Texas: 13-Year-Old shoots himself in the head over anti-gay bullying
- California: Gay 13-Year-Old hangs self after reported bullying
- Indiana: Teen’s suicide thought to be result of anti-gay bullying
Our loyal readers know that this blog has a special relationship with TheJoeFrom1993 His subscriber number started going off when he was featured here and in return many, many people later discovered milkboys because he mentioned it a few times. Joe ended up making a thank you photo for milkboys a year or so ago that was by far the most popular picture ever posted here. I have removed the post in question by now to avoid awkward situations in the future involving Joe & his potential employers but it turns out that someone else was obviously inspired by Joe’s photos and made a 1:1 replica
Since we’re already at it… have some more
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It seems that 2010 is trying to be the year of school bullying in America. From Minnesota to Indiana, bullying has resulted in tragedy, with youth who were picked on because of their perceived sexual orientation driven to suicide.
In another instance, outside of Toledo, Ohio, an 11-year-old was picked on by his classmates mercilessly. That student? Tyler Wilson. And he tells a local ABC news channel that students would wait for him after school, teasing him and taunting him, and eventually physically harassing him so bad, that Tyler had his arm broken.
Why would bullies do this?
Because Tyler is a member of a local cheerleading squad (which means he’s more lucky< than other boys who wanted to be cheerleaders), and other kids in his class wanted to give him hell for it. Beating youth up because of their perceived sexual orientation, or beating kids up because they break gender stereotypes? Both types of bullying are closely related, and both deserve to be condemned by school administrators, by teachers, by fellow classmates, and by the community. And both types of bullying illustrate more than ever why Congress needs to act on the Safe Schools Improve Act, to make sure that students like Tyler don’t have to fear for their physical safety just by attending school.
Tyler, for his part, is a pretty damn awesome child. Take a look at his interview with the local ABC affiliate. Amidst a broken arm and lots of name-calling, Tyler says that no bully is going to stop him from being a cheerleader.
"It feels horrible that they can’t accept me for who I am. If I want to be a cheerleader, I’m a cheerleader," Tyler said. "I’m going to keep going, I’m going to make a lifestyle out of it," Tyler has also been getting support from male cheerleaders from around the state of Ohio after the incident.
Dan Savage has started a new project, prompted by the suicide of a bullied gay teenager, Billy Lucas, in Indiana. So they’re trying to get the word out: It gets better. Don’t despair. And they’re collecting other people’s stories, too.
This particular project is specifically about giving queer kids the strength to carry on, but it’s not just gays who are made miserable by schools and religion and other agents of the enforcement of artificial norms but also for all you geeks and nerds and oddballs who are or were outsiders in school.
Another good essay to read is The disease called "Perfection". We all face ridiculous expectations from our culture, and we all face these pressures to conform with the boring mundanes with their distressingly unrealistic and uninteresting ideals. I didn’t have the stigma of being gay, but I was the homely, unathletic, four-eyed weirdo no girl would look at twice…and I can say that it got better for me, and it can also get better for everyone.
By the way, Dan Savage also talks about the unenlightened oppression of a Catholic upbringing. If that’s your burden, rest assured that that can get better, too—you can become an ex-Catholic, and while the world may still be tinted in shades of sin and guilt for a long time to come, you’ll get better.
Hang in there.
Found at Pharyngula