Bullying — it’s NOT just for LGBT
In the wake of several prominent gay/lesbian celebrities speaking out on the rash of bullying and suicides of young people with a homosexual orientation, the topic is starting to take on the LGBT slant.
Ok, let’s get realistic here. I agree that many, many kids (and adults) are picked on, taunted, harassed because of their sexual preference or orientation. No shock there. But, to state, or imply that this is a unique situation to gay/lesbian/bi/trans youth is an insult — to both both homosexual and heterosexuals alike.
Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center, as a preview to a new documentary being released on anti-gay bullying, sent out a newsletter which contained this particular sentence:
Thankfully, the crisis of anti-gay bullying is now getting national attention.
What about “non-anti-gay bullying?” Wouldn’t it be a good thing if bullying of ALL kinds received this kind of attention.
I don’t have the statistics at hand, but my guess is that as many non-gay students are harassed and bullied every year as those that are gay. While the bullying and loss of gay students is a tragedy, so is the damage and loss of every other student who is a victim of this kind of anti-social behavior.
Let’s get direct here: bullying occurs when someone is PERCEIVED to be different. The actual difference doesn’t matter. And the difference doesn’t even have to be real. Phoebe Prince wasn’t gay, was she? How about Celina Okwuone? Was Michael Brewer set on fire because he was gay? No. That dispute was over a video. Megan Meier was so heartbroken over being dumped publicly on MySpace by a neighbor posing as a boy that she killed herself. Quite hetero. For every name you can come up with of a teen who was bullied that was gay, there are any number of kids who were bullied who are not.
Bullying is an equal opportunity epidemic, folks, and if you try to put a GLBT spin on it, it minimizes the pain, suffering and tragedy on those who are picked on merely because they are different.
It’s a good thing if we start giving the overall problem of bullying the attention it deserves. But don’t turn it into a special agenda or to prove any political, moral, or lifestyle-related issue.
Bullying is bad, it’s bad, it’s bad. It’s wrong for anyone to do it, to anyone, for any reason. And we need to stop it. If we could find a champion — someone who’s not afraid to stand up and say “enough” and then be brave enough to ask tough questions and seek out answers, then all our children, our teachers, our parents, our community would benefit.
For that, we would ALL be thankful.