03
Oct
10

faggot, sissy, that’s gay (notes on bullying)

if you’ve been living in a cave (& maybe you have been) you may not have heard that within the last few weeks, three young people (two were 13, the other just 18) killed themselves after bullying incidents at their schools that left them bereft.  (you can read more about them, by going to the awl.)

they were singled out by their fellow students for their differences.  It wasn’t for their race or their religion, but because they were perceived to be gay.    Can you imagine?  In 2010?

Suicide, regardless of the reason (or lack thereof), is a nasty business.  It leaves the living with more questions than answers & they are questions that can never be easily answered.  one must be brave to try to fathom why someone you love, especially a child of yours, has taken their own life.

when i first heard of these deaths, i was angry at the bullying perpetrators, the youth who had, through their ignorance & meanness, had driven their peers to such an end.  & then, i was angry, spitting mad actually, with the perpetrators’ parents.  how could they raise children to be so intolerant of others?  what could the environment be like at their homes that allowed that kind of hate?

it seemed impossible to me that parents (of human children) could be so blind to their bigotry & so righteous in their ignorance.   but, & i insert a big sigh with this but, it will probably always be thus.    if it’s not homosexuality it will be something else.  abiding differences of character, differences that are as natural as breathing, differences that do not affect your life in any way possible, i mean, c’mon people.  get over yourselves.  let’s assume though that this may not change anytime soon.

& that has led me to the parents of the suicides & those children who have suffered severe bullying but have not taken their lives.   & i am not scolding them, because i know what suicide can do to you, so this is more of an exhortation, an encouragement, if you will, to adults with children (of any age):  have you really allowed for open communication with your children?  do you let your petty bigotries surface in front of your children?  is the environment in which you are raising your children, is it free of prejudice?

i imagine that these parents of the recent dead are asking themselves a lot of questions right now.  but now it’s too late.   the rest of you though, it may not be too late, it may be the right time, it may be an opportunity for you to change the course of the life of your children.  & i encourage you to make every effort to create a safe place where your child may share everything that is going on in their world.  & if you feel that your child is being assaulted & spit on (metaphorically or not) by their peers, you will act to stop it.

you will not slough it off as the ‘nature of youth’ or ‘kids are mean’, but that you will do something about it.  talk to the school, talk to the parents, talk to your friends, your acquaintances, talk to everyone about how this bigotry is affecting your child’s life, your life, & the lives of everyone in your neighborhood, your community, your state, your country, the world.

& just maybe, just maybe, your child will feel comfortable enough to talk with you when they are the targets of the ignorant & will not carry it around inside of them until they feel the only option, the only way they can escape this torture is through death.   because they will have seen that you are ready & able to defend them.  that you live your life without bigotry & whether or not it will get easier for them, they will always have your strength to come home to.


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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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