face to face

High School Teacher Jay McDowell Tells Teen All-Star Graeme Taylor: It’s ‘Fantastic’ To See Gay Kids Speaking Up

Graeme Taylor, the superstar gay 14-year-old with more courage than the adult administrators at Jay McDowell’s Michigan high school, has already become a member of The Awesome for his impassioned speech in front of school board for Howell High School, where Graeme doesn’t even attend. Yesterday Graeme, who attempted suicide at age 9 because of a fear of bullying, yesterday met the man in adjacent TV screens he so competently defended.

McDowell, who was suspended without pay for a day after removing an anti-gay student from his classroom, says “it was fantastic” to see Graeme’s speech. “It’s so important that our LGBT youth feel compelled to take a stand and feel that they can make a difference by speaking.”

Two fantastic Americans right here, folks.

Graeme Taylor, 14, Is Sticking Up For Michigan High School Teacher Jay McDowell. And He Is The Awesome

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    Amazing, Graeme at age 14 has so much bigger balls than any of the adult adminstrators of his school :p

    Graeme Taylor: Whether you realize it or not, you are a hero to so many in the Gay community. Your courage will inspire so many Gay kids to feel they too can speak up for what is right and not feel intimitated by the haters……….Keep up the tremendous work dude………….

  • Cam

    So a teacher gets suspended for not defending bigotry….Do the admins wear their Klan robes to work in that district?

  • mohamid

    I dont agree with you he was not defending bigotry he was a bully not a teacher …. sorry this is America and people can dissagre with your point of view. Why is the gay community so afraid of another opinion. I believe that gay is a choice and a bad one at that however I would die for your right to be what you want even if its bedding barn yard animals

  • Desdemona

    mohamid i really hope you are joking b/c if not, you are incredibly ignorant.

    having different points of view is fine, but not when it comes to this topic. Simple fact is that being gay is not a choice. Anyone who actually investigates homosexuality and the bible in an intelligent way will come to realize that there’s no legitimate reason to be anti-gay. You can have your own opinion, I don’t care, but most anti-gay people take their point of view to the extreme (hate crimes, prop 8 etc…) so yes, that IS unacceptable.

  • Ogre Magi

    you rock on lil gay kid

  • mummycop

    They posted this story on yahoo news and the comments section is appalling. People calling him a liar, saying he’s going to be selling himself for crack on a street corner, that all gays should be shot execution style and burned, that sort of thing.

    It’s really disgusting. This kid is amazing.

  • Red Meat

    @mohamid: Yup I dumped my boyfriend for a horse, size matters! Don’t you have a wife to go beat?

  • ewe

    @mohamid: Ask yourself if you would allow teachers to ignore students calling others in school niggers, spics, faubs, wops, kikes as long as they said their religion told them so. By the way, your backward ignorant mind is in the gutter. Get educated.

  • Vellis

    If you go back and watch Graeme’s speech, you’ll see
    that he never describes himself as an “LGBT youth”. Frankly, he is too smart and too decent for that. Like many in the Millennial generation, he is abandoning archaic and reactionary language invented by people who are older but not wiser.

    This teacher should be embarrassed for trying to
    define Graeme using terminology that Graeme doesn’t use to describe himself. But that is the nature of LGBT; it is identity imposed by the privileged, not genuine self-expression.

  • Andrew

    @mohamid: Go fuck yourself. I get called a faggot among other slurs at least three times a week. I have to deal with the constant whistle-calls at lunch. TWO FUCKING DAYS into the school year one of my friends tells me another guy was talking shit about me in Latin, someone I didn’t even KNOW. (As a true friend she told him off.) My Grandmother promptly told me when she learned I was gay that I was no longer welcome in her home.

    So people like you. People who say they “tolerate our choices”. You can go to hell. I would never CHOOSE to be Gay. And while I am proud (not of being gay, but of overcoming the hurdles that it entails) until this country becomes less full of people like YOU then I would never wish this on someone else. ‘Soft’ BIGOTRY has the exact same end effect as those whom choose to shout their neanderthal views from the rooftops.

  • bobito

    @Vellis: Dude, Graeme in this particular interview speaks of “a teacher standing up for LBGTQ youth” (at 1:35)

  • Doug

    From the way the teacher describes the situation its seems like it would have been a good teaching opportunity. The kid asked a question and made a good point -if someone can wear a purple shirt why can’t the girl wear a Confederate flag belt buckle- both can be viewed as political statements. We all call foul and infringement on free speech when a kid is asked to stop wearing a legalize gay shirt, but when a kid is asked to stop wearing a Confederate flag we think its okay? Free speech is meant to protect unpopular speech and controversial topics, not just what we agree with. It also doesn’t sound like the kid was bulling anyone, he just made a statement of opinion.

    p.s. I think Graeme is awesome and it’s great that he is standing up for something he believes in, although he might be a bit misguided.

  • dannyal

    Andrew, I empathize with your story – especially about your grandmother. But just keep your head up, as I am sure you already have, and realize that they, the closed-minded people who refused to accept you for who you are, don’t matter – especially if they hold no power over you.

    And to comment on the topic, does this mean now a muslim kid can complain if a classmate wears a cross necklace because his religion doesn’t accept Christians (or any other religion for that matter)?

  • John (CA)


    Any person can file a complaint about anything if they feel offended.

    That is their right.

    Whether the complaint has merit and requires corrective action depends on the context of the situation. A burning cross on someone’s lawn isn’t just a cross. A noose isn’t just a piece of rope. Lets not pretend it isn’t a judgment call though. Grievance processes are mediated by humans. It is not a precise science by any stretch of the imagination. What is “obscene” or “immoral” to someone in Dallas, TX wouldn’t necessarily offend folks in San Francisco, CA.

    As for this particular obsession some white people have with dressing up in Confederate or Nazi apparel, I will only say this: How to deal with these annihilation fantasies is strictly a matter between you and your therapist. I am not touching the psychological consequences of that with a ten foot pole.

  • edgyguy1426

    @Vellis: well he does self-identify as gay in the beginning of his speech..

  • Dynex

    Mohamid is it? the only CHOICE people make in this world is to be bigoted, coupled with hateful, and militant about it. In a civil society, especially in an institute (be it a professional work atmosphere or SCHOOL) you can NOT say anything that comes to mind and run behind your freedom of speech banner, because we have disturbing the peace laws, we have harrasment laws, we have laws in every professional environment that dictates a sense of etiquette. I surely have the freedom of speech to yell profanities at a movie screening, but based on (rightful) rules and regulations…I would get kicked out in a moments notice. If you defend the idea of marganilizing people, then you surely could use some serious soul searching because you do NOT sound like a stable person to me.
    Oh, and wanna know the other *CHOICE* people make in their lives? religion.
    Congrats goes out to this heroic gay boy!

  • ScottinATL

    This AMAZING young kid should inspire ALL LGBT to get out there…get loud..stand up…DEMAND rights…stop blending it, step out of the damn closet, stop pretending to be “str8” and stop being a coward. If this young guy can have such poignant profound words to share and do so in a public forum, the rest of us who have lived true homophobia need not be afraid to share our stories and DEMAND change. Being gay is just as valid and deserves JUST as many rights and respect granted as being hetrosexual. Stop being lazy LGBT and start getting proactive.

  • Vellis

    @CJ Maciejeski:

    I know that he identifies as gay. That is my point. He identifies as gay, not “LGBT” and not “LGBTQ” and not “LGBTQIAAP”.

    Those terms were invented by a bunch of privileged white men who are about 25 years older than Graeme and people of Graeme’s generation. The Millennials are going to deal a death blow to homophobia, but they are also going to deal a death blow to the sort of stupidity and racism that gave us LGBT, queer, and similar terms.

  • CJ Maciejeski

    Oh, that old chestnut… I like how you assuage your anxiety about the inefficacy of the gay rights movement by blaming the “elitists.” Way to sound like a teabagger.

  • CJ Maciejeski

    Hey, vellis,you misanthropic twat, i realized i have more to say to you.

    You know what gays who think excluding transpeople and the intersexed and bisexuals and questioning people and whatever the fuck other letter they’re tacking onto GLBTQIRZXHDM these days is the way to advance gay rights are? Bigots. Deluded, elitist bigots who assuage their own frustration at their lack of equality by marginalizing others. Equality is not achieved through exclusion. In fact, it’s THE FUCKING OPPOSITE of exclusion. Dipshit.

  • Vellis

    Thanks for your response CJ. You have shown once again how completely hypocritcal and intellectually impoverished the “LGBT” crowd is. Hurling epithets at me is just a form of aggression. It doesn’t persuade anyone of anything. And using “twat” as an insult only exposes you as a misogynist. How deliciously ironic that the “LGBT” cheerleaders, who claim to be on the cutting edge of gender theory, are really nothing more than 1950’s-style sexist pigs.

    But that sexism and misogyny goes nicely with your view of gays and lesbians as a kind of “third sex”- a very 1950s kind of view. And it goes nicely with your racism, ageism, and classism, all of which are embodied in LGBT and which birthed it 15 years ago. All in all, you are a great demonstration of how reactionary and unprogressive are the idea of LGBT and the people who promote it.

    BTW, I said nothing about the efficacy of the gay rights movement or lack thereof. LGBT makes no more logical or moral sense regardless of whether we are effective or ineffective, or at times, both.

  • CJ Maciejeski

    Hey vellis, ever pull a hamstring leaping to conclusions like that, or do you stretch it out, first?

  • NIN8086

    I support Jay McDowell 100%

    I myself am from Howell and am a former student of Mr. McDowell’s. He was and still is a great history teacher. I applaud him for holding true to our high school’s policies.

    Howell is one of the centers of KKK in Michigan. Because of this, and to teach equality, the Howell School Board and all of Livingston County ban any and ALL pieces of KKK, Confederate flags, or any racial offending material on school grounds or in classrooms. Be they pieces of clothing, acessories, or on a car, it has to be removed.

    Mr. McDowell wasn’t picking on anyone because it offended him, it is a school policy.

  • ME

    OOPS minus a stupid thingy cuz I accidentally clicked :0 I LOVED THIS! His speech was awe-inspiring

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