The recent rash of GLBT teens killing themselves due to bullying is tragic. The reaction to this has been interesting with the right mostly subdued and silent on the issue, except for a few complete douche bags who have supported the idea of gay people doing us all a favor by taking themselves out.
The reaction from most people have been positive, as it should be and there has been widespread support for efforts to address bullying in general and homophobic bullying in particular. Efforts like the “It Gets Better” project have worked hard to engage kids and raise awareness of the issues faced by GLBT teens. Another one is “Declare Yourself an Ally” which is trying to gain support for GLBT issues from straight people. I highly recommend supporting these and other similar groups who are trying to raise awareness and eliminate gender and sexual orientation bias.
This issue hits pretty close to home because I was bullied a lot as a child, not because I’m gay, but because I was fat. I was tormented, made fun of, ostracized and beaten up. I lived in fear of going to school and I was too humiliated and ashamed to talk to anyone about it, even my parents. So I can only imagine how these kids must feel. To be tormented for something that you had no control over (and as a child I really didn’t have control over my weight in the sense that an adult would) is agonizing. To feel that you are nothing, or less than nothing is pain beyond words. These are only kids, after all. Being a teenager is hard enough as it is, but to be a gay teenager must be unbelievably difficult.
The groups I mentioned are a really positive sign that our society does care about people, no matter who they are. To think that someone is somehow worth less than you just because of their sexual orientation is inhuman and disgusting. To feel nothing, or worse, take pleasure, in the humiliation and suffering of others is both sadistic and a sign of someone who is a sociopath. We would normally consider these type of people threats to society and wish for them to be locked away. But, when supposedly respectable people like politicians and pastors and other religious leaders say terrible things about gay people, when they actively support laws that would deny basic human rights to gay people, they are seen as just expressing their “family values”. Spreading hate and actively denying rights to others is nothing but heinous socio-pathological behavior, yet it is encouraged and approved by millions of Americans in the name of God and “family values”. What does it say about us as a society that we can condom this evil behavior, all in the name of God?
Of course, we have been here before. Many preachers and politicians in the south quoted from their bible to justify their right to enslave millions of African Americans. Now they use their bible to justify hating and disenfranchising millions of Americans from their natural rights to live their lives as they wish. They teach their children to hate as well, which leads to bullying, which in extreme cases leads to gay teens to take their own lives. These people are being no different than those who, in the past, have beat gay men to death. This time, they use their words to accomplish the same thing and, most appallingly, rejoice about it. Yes, the school board member who expressed his view that they only way he’d wear purple in support of gay teens was when they had all killed themselves was just one extreme example, but you know that there are many people who secretly and silently agree with him.
It is this culture of callousness and basic incivility that we must fight to change. For those of you who believe homosexuality is a sin, because your bible tells you so, take a look in the mirror before you make that judgement. Do you eat pork? The bible calls that a sin. Women, do you hide yourself away from everyone for the duration of your period? If not, the bible counts that as a sin as well. When was the last time you sacrificed a lamb without blemish as your lord commended? How about keeping the sabbath? That’s one of the big ten and I can almost guarantee that none of you out there who believe that the bible says homosexuality is a sin has ever not done work on the sabbath.
So I say shame on you! Shame on you for choosing to condone hate in the name of your religion while ignoring the other 95% of what your holy book preaches. I’ve read your bible, I know the laws that you no longer keep. Do you? While you sit comfortably in your church pew praising a god who demands you hate your fellow man, do you think of the tremendous suffering that you, through your ignorance, allow to happen in your god’s name? Could you look a tormented teenager in the eyes and tell them that they deserve the hate and abusive they receive? If so, then you have no heart or human feelings. If not, then how can you justify your belief that the child in front of you deserves to die. After all, that is what your bible teaches you.