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An Open Letter to Parents

Why Your Kid Isn’t Talking To You Today

day22If your son or daughter isn’t speaking to you today, for once you can chalk it up to something other than hormones. Across the country, students are taking a vow of silence today in solidarity with gay rights. While some parents have been urged by social conservatives to keep their kids at home or distribute pamphlets telling gay kids they can change, thanks to Facebook and other online sites, the Day of Silence has become a nationwide phenomenon. Want to know what could possibly get a teenager to shut-up for a whole day? Here’s a few of the many reasons.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network released a study this week of Pennsylvania students and found that:

“Nearly nine out of 10 transgender students experienced verbal harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation and gender expression, more than half experienced physical harassment because of their sexual orientation and gender expression and more than a quarter experienced physical assault because of their sexual orientation and gender expression.”

This is up from the last survey, conducted in 2007.

The New York Times brings up the case of Eric Mohat:

“In March, 2007, 17-year-old Eric Mohat shot himself in the head, after a long-term tormentor told him in class, “Why don’t you go home and shoot yourself; no one will miss you.” Eric liked theater, played the piano and wore bright clothing, a lawyer for his family told ABC news, and so had long been subject to taunts of “gay,” “fag,” “queer” and “homo.”

In early April, this report came out from GLSEN:

glsen_articlesimage_large2400w200hnorm

“An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hung himself Monday after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. This is at least the fourth suicide of a middle-school aged child linked to bullying this year.”

Pink News UK reports on the agonizing struggle that the parents of 18-year-old Michael Causer have had in trying to keep their son’s killer behind bars:

michaelcauser

“Eighteen-year-old Michael, who worked as a hairdresser in Liverpool, was attacked at the Huyton home of his friend Michael Binsteed’s grandmother.

After a 999 call he was found by paramedics in the street on Friday 25th July.

Despite surgery to try to reduce swelling on his brain, he died at 2:30pm on Saturday 2nd August.

James O’Connor was sentenced to a minimum of 11 years in prison for Michael’s murder, while Michael Binsteed was given a suspended sentence and community service for perverting the cause of justice.”

This is just the latest news out from this month. Morons like Mike Huckabee don’t think that the gay rights movement is a real movement, because nobody’s “head is being bashed in”, but he couldn’t be more wrong. One of the sad duties of running a daily gay blog is keeping track of all the teenagers and children who are murdered, beaten and harassed because they’re either gay or perceived to be gay. It’s an epidemic and what’s worse is, that it’s in our hands to stop it.

How does this happen again and again? It’s simple, really. Kids follow the example of their parents. If they see that it’s okay to hate on gay people, they will do it themselves. Perhaps this is why we become so infuriated by the social conservatives who lie and pretend to ‘love the sinner and hate the sin’ to further their own bigoted agenda. As unjust as it is to not have our civil rights, when we see kids murdered because of their sexuality or perceived sexuality, we’re reminded that homophobia quite literally kills. I hate this. I hate that good kids stay home from school in fear of being bullied or beaten up. I hate that some feel they have no escape other than to take their own life. I hate that close-minded people who don’t deserve the time of day can influence someone whose life is just beginning to end it.

I still remember to this day the kid in my high school who called me ‘fagot’ every day, over and over again, whispering it when the teacher wasn’t looking, mouthing it from across the cafeteria. Finally one day, he said it to me and I answered, “Yeah, you got a problem with it?” It shut him up, but not everyone is so lucky.

When you tell your son or daughter that it’s okay to discriminate, when you withhold them from school out of fear they’ll be exposed to the values of tolerance and fairness, you are sending them the message that it is okay to go on calling a kid ‘fagot’. You are telling them that it’s fine to harass students because of how they act or dress– and when it goes too far, when that child is murdered or commits suicide, their blood is on your hands.

So, if your son or daughter stays silent today, be proud of them, not because they’re standing up for gay rights, but because they’re standing up against bullying and harassment. And if you’re encouraging them to stay at home or to confront the kids who are standing up for safe schools, perhaps it’s time you take a minute and think about the message and values you’re sending your children, because frankly, I don’t want to keep writing about how children raised by people like you keep making life miserable for kids who were once just like me.

By:           Japhy Grant
On:           Apr 17, 2009
Tagged: , ,
  • 12 Comments
    • Lika Starr
      Lika Starr

      Great article :)

      Does anyone know of a list that is kept and updated of all the LGBT people, adolescents and adults, that have been murdered or committed suicide as a result of homophobic intolerance?

      Apr 17, 2009 at 10:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brady
      Brady

      Great post. What angers me is the alternative “Day of Truth,” that takes place on Monday. I wrote about it on my blog, but basically the false promise of “change” is giving even more ammo for anti-gay bullies. Now they are armed with the false belief that gay kids are gay because they want to be, and they could just change if they wanted to. Pretty unbelievable power ploy by the anti-gay side. I guess kids are just collateral damage these days.

      Apr 17, 2009 at 11:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • stevenelliot
      stevenelliot

      I wish kids had a day of silence 24/7 365.

      Apr 17, 2009 at 2:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carsen Tyler
      Carsen Tyler

      Been doing DOS since I was an 8th grader. Our peers used to say no one would notice a group of kids being silent. But when I got to High School, me and the rest of girls in our secret GSA (anime club), were considered smart by our peers. Our peers would depend on us to answer everything on the group pop quizzes (the teachers would ask a couple of questions if all were answered the whole class got an A). The teachers eventually had all the verbal tests on DOS. The rests of the kids then realized that we were silent and were faced to answer the questions themselves. They noticed us being quiet and took interest in why. Some girls were idiots and said we weren’t making a differenct. Others listened and called us a bunch of Fags…then their parents would call the archdiocese and I would get in trouble cuz the Arch would tell my parents what I planned. Others supported us. Then at the end of the day we end up with a bunch of Freshmen, shyly approaching us asking if there really were gay kids in out school.

      It’s worth it.

      Apr 17, 2009 at 9:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sarah
      Sarah

      @Lika Starr: I know someone who *may* have it. We did a project with it in school a few months back. I’m not sure if we still have the files. (The project we did was a crashing failure, though. Parents were called and our GSA was nearly shut down because some idiots got offended by us having posters of people killed for being LGBT.)

      Apr 18, 2009 at 7:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CaLi_BoY
      CaLi_BoY

      @stevenelliot: lol and how are are you? if you dont mind me asking…

      Apr 18, 2009 at 10:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • babylon99
      babylon99

      I soooooooo would have done it but I forgot. There was no press about it until it was over…

      Apr 19, 2009 at 10:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CONFESSIONS OF A BAD BOY
      CONFESSIONS OF A BAD BOY

      While I respect all of those who participate in this, I don’t know if I believe in the whole Day of Silence agenda. My mouth is one of my gifts, and as a proud member of the gay community, I will not be shutting the fuck up or organize to be silenced. Being silent in solidarity of the gay movement is BS. This is like the Jews being silent in solidarity for being Jewish during the holocaust.

      Apr 19, 2009 at 11:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lika Starr
      Lika Starr

      @Sarah:

      Sarah, if you or anyone else does have this info or can point me in the right direction please do get in touch. I have an idea that I would like to work on to help spread awareness on just how dangerous homophobia can really be. It would be great if some of the research has already been done.

      If anyone wants to get in touch, participate or learn more about this I’ve made a post on my blog. You can find info here:

      http://likastarr.com/homophobia-kills-the-tee-shirt-project

      Apr 19, 2009 at 3:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Christopher Broen
      Christopher Broen

      I’m not sure if anyone is aware but… the main image being used for this story is of a girl wearing a Pro-Life sign over her mouth. It was for the Pro-Life Day of Silence. What’s more is I know her, she’s uber-christian, and would be uber-pissed if she ever found her picture on a gay website. Just a heads-up.

      Apr 19, 2009 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from  England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @Christopher Broen:

      So….

      A) Tell her

      B) Tell Queerty

      and

      C) Get her horrid jugdgemetal outlook on life…GONE.

      Apr 19, 2009 at 5:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jamie
      Jamie

      Day of SILENCE??? How is silence going to help anything? Sitting around like a bunch of pouty deaf-mutes isn’t going to do anything to advance gay rights. We don’t need silence, we need words, ideas, debates. This is just dumb, though not quite as dumb as the “calling in gay to work” fiasco back in December.

      Don’t be silent – be loud, make some noise, make yourself heard.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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