Scott Thompson: Forget It Gets Better—Bullied Gay Kids “Need To Grow A Pair”

“Here’s the thing: The world is not kind to us; it never really will be. The gay male is always going to be at the bottom. I believe the things that happened to me as a child scarred me terribly, and I wish somebody would have helped me with some of the things that happened. But you have to fight back. So much of these bullying campaigns are part of the trend that we were just talking about—the recasting of gay men as eternal victims and it’s like, fight back! Fathers should start teaching the boys how to punch. He does that to you, here’s what you do: You fucking punch him in the face.”

Comedian/Kids in the Hall alum Scott Thompson, discussing the failures of the It Gets Better campaign, in PrideSource

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  • WillBFair

    Actors are the dumbest things this side of Arkansas.

  • JIm Morrison

    Yeah more violence. That’ll help. Be just like our attackers. Gay kids are indeed victims. And there’s no shame in that simple fact. The shame lies in a system that engenders that hate. A system that denies marriage equality and how that trickles down to kids seeing their parents spew that hatred. Indeed, fighting back may be necessary in a specific case…self defense etc… but as a general rule, this type of thinking only perpetuates the evil. How ’bout we “grow a pair” and stop calling harassment, violence, hate and CHARGEABLE crimes simply “bullying?”

  • fredo777

    @JIm Morrison: “Yeah more violence. That’ll help.”

    Violence doesn’t solve every problem. But neither does pacifism.

  • Kev C

    If someone wants to be a victim, they should join the Occupy Wall Street movement and hope the police overreact so they can complain about brutality while chanting “the whole world is watching!” (no, we’re not).

  • Geo

    Thompson’s comments make my head spin, since they start out complaining “The gay male is always going to be at the bottom [of society],” and end up (only a few sentences later) complaining about “the recasting of gay men as eternal victims.”

    Well, okay, Scott, but, gee, maybe people wouldn’t think of gays as eternal victims if, you know, people didn’t run around saying things like “we’re always gonna be on the lowest rung of society.”

  • he's not that far off

    He’s not wrong. Yeah violence isn’t always the answer… But you know, the world isn’t a nice place, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I wasn’t the product of my life experience. I would rather be strong than a pitiful coward that cries about how unfair and unkind the world is…. Grow a pair and deal with it is right.

  • gtsanity

    I agree fight back

  • Fitz

    Knowing how to take or throw a punch wont , alone, save anyone. It really is both.
    The institution-based homophobia has to be called out, AND
    kids need to develop the ability to defend themselves.

  • Matt

    Totally agree that violence isn’t always the answer, but when someone is physically attacking you, the only answer for that in the heat of the moment is to defend yourself. It doesn’t solve the issues in the long run but at least for that moment the bully will think twice before doing it again.

  • hoganbcmj

    I think he’s basically saying we shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for ourselves, even if it means punching a bully in the face. I get where he’s coming from, although you punch the wrong guy in the face and he’ll kill you.

  • Timothy

    Grow a pair, quit whining and take care of yourself. It will help us all in the long run!!

  • kylew

    I really get fucked off with usually assertive, loud proud gays who say his kind of stuff. I do agree that some kids are overly sensitive, but that’s not a gay charcateristic, as Matt epling’s suicide demonstrated. Nevertheless, the view that the only thing holding all gay kids down as victims is their lack of courage, is a fucking assinine assertion. That’s like telling a rape victim to man up. All bullied kids could benefit from being able to defend themselves physically, but it’s not the physical wounds that are driving kids to suicide. Maybe a pro-active attitude might lead to empowerment, but at the same time, this comment ignores the erosion of self-confidence that diminish a kids’ mental resources before the overt bullying even starts. The demeaning reinforcement in church, the classroom and on TV and in music.

    And while we’re telling kids to grow a pair, what should they do when they surrender 100 pounds and a foot of height to the bully – or their are half a dozen of them, or they are knife weilding? Or the kind of demented lunatic who simplyputs a bullet in the back of your head whilst sitting in class?

  • Ken

    He’s right. Let’s be blunt: Ideals don’t hold a lot of weight in the schoolyard. “Lord of the Flies” is kinda on the mark. So yeah, fat, short, foreign, four-eyed, gay, whatever – kids should be taught to stand up for themselves.

    Look: I was skinny, kinda nerdy, kinda fey, and picked on a lot. But, unlike the other kids, my parents had already enrolled me in a dojo at the local Zen temple (to improve my balance and coordination ’cause I was just such a total spaz). One day when I go home from grade school I kinda just started bawling about how it was all unfair and nobody liked me etc. etc. etc. My mom calmly waited me out, settled me down, and later over dinner my parents both told me that if I didn’t like getting picked on I should fight back by 1) trying to be the best at something 2) standing up, pushing back but without trying to seriously hurt anyone.

    At some point later that week or month I did loose it and kinda go a wee bit postal. My school called my parents, who dutifully showed up to appease the headmistress. Back at home, my parents congratulated me for standing up for myself and then said once is enough: If I got into another fight like that I’d be grounded for life. (My parents also talked to my sensei, explaining the situation, after which he talked to me about proper self restraint, being zen, and a few very useful fighting techniques that were totally unsuitable for tournament but very ok for the street, lol. That’s zen for ya!).

    And you now what? They were right. Everybody got over their bruises and bloody noses and the kids at school respected me for standing up for myself (that and later becoming good at soccer and dodge ball and ultimate, even if to this day I throw a baseball like a girl).

    And I think, having stood up for myself – I was a different person too. I was not a victim (Later even in a high school, I was not picked on – that kind of thing is something you carry with you). I never became part of the A-List crowd, but I was never at the bottom of the heap – and everything was fine.

  • ke

    @WillBFair: Can I punch you in the face?

    Anyways…he’s absolutely right.

  • missanthrope

    What an hemorrhoid encrusted asshole. Victim blaming all around.

  • Mike

    I agree with him, too many gay people that I know are/were so afraid of violence, yet they aren’t/weren’t afraid of running around flaunting their sexuality almost seeming to invite bullying and confrontation. But if you’re going to be yourself, stand up for yourself! After coming out in college I stopped any sort of bullying pretty much before it could start through violence. Someone dropped the f-bomb at me, so I grabbed them by the throat and threw them to the ground. Nobody said it to me again. Problem solved.

  • Kev C

    @ke: missanthrope has never actually been a victim but she sure as hell presumes to speak for them. As a victim, I can tell you it’s not as glamorous as it sounds.

  • Henry

    Missanthrope is yet another one of Charles Rozier’s alternate names. The letters in the name should be rearranged to spell a-s-s, which is what he is.

  • Greg

    @kylew: Exactly right. Scott thinks he’s funny but he could get a job as one of those prosecutors who blames rape victims. As we all know, it’s all in the way they dress? :-(

    I really hope Scott and those who agree with him just haven’t thought this one through!

  • Hyhybt

    “Always” is an awfully long time. Far too long a time to concede.

  • get real

    totally agree,if you want to flaunt your feminine side,be prepaired to defend yourself,but don’t cry to the rest of us if you cannot.

  • chuck

    Israelis learned a hard lesson when their fore-bearers were exterminated in Europe during WWII. It’s one of the reasons why the IDF fights so hard, re: the 1968 war. They discovered that if you won’t fight to protect yourself and your family, few others will do it for you. I was all for pacifism when I was much younger. As I have grown older, I have come to the conclusion that the LGBT community is going to have to get some martial arts training. As least, you can take out one of your attackers.

  • Greg

    @get real: Scott says, “Fathers should start teaching the boys how to punch.” Especially if, as you put it, the boys want to “flaunt their feminine side”??? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense! More likely the fathers are beating the crap out of their queer sons.

    A lot of you guys are living in a fuckin’ dream world. Hopefully none of you are working as teachers.

  • BigWoody

    I remember that the kid who was visibly different and weak in school was bullied by stronger bigger kids. Should we teach the little kid to sneak up behind the big bully and crack his head with a bat? That would be the only way to win that fight. Scott Thompson’s scarring experience has made him cruel and uncaring. Around 15 years ago I saw him perform at a comedy show in Orlando (along with Harvey Firestein, Lily Tomlin and others). He told such rude anti-lesbian jokes in his routine that many walked out. Not the best role model to give advice to bullied gay children.
    Kinda similar to when black children were integrating during segregation, they needed protection. The glaring difference is – most black children had support and love from their families, community, and churches – many gay children do not feel support.

    Read more at: http://www.homorazzi.com/article/scott-thompson-bullying-pride-source-interview-grow-a-pair-kids-in-the-hall/#ixzz1dM14oMEx

  • ChrisC

    No, we’re not always going to be at the bottom. Probably by the end of the century homophobia will be almost (if not totally) non-exsistant. This guy is a moronic hack.

  • Kev C

    @BigWoody: Except people like Scott are the only ones who are offering practical advice. The IGB side has this to offer: Tough It Out (get used to being a victim). Maybe society will change, maybe our allies will ride to the rescue on white horses. Maybe the cops and the courts will one day give a damn. Maybe the bullies will see reason and be nice.

    And that’s bullshit.

  • iDavid




    I’ve been jumped from behind by gangs twice in my life, they literally came out of nowhere and I was down stat, once was for money and the other I don’t know to this day, no gay slurs etc, but I don’t have a gay-wave either. Either way I didn’t fight back as i knew the thugs would have slaughtered me if I did, it was a conscious choice to not potentially get killed. I felt I was right on in going pacifist. In a one on one, I fight and fight hard to the end. But there are always variables in any sitch, but all in all, you have to stand up for yourself and make decisions that are going to get you safe and feeling like you did the courageous rational thing.

  • Storm

    Everybody has to make the decision for themselves whether or not they’re going to fight back against bullying or intimidation. When I was fourteen I told my parents that I wanted to study dance. “Okay,” my father agreed, but he also enrolled me in karate classes. And I got good. As the only guy who actually ever wore tights in my suburban high school, the karate and martial arts served me in good stead. Yes, there were a couple of fights. After all, ballet dancers are supposed to be easy marks. But people learned to leave me alone. I wasn’t popular, but they left me alone.

    Now I teach martial arts, and when we had a gay community center here, I taught self-defense classes for gay kids and adults. You have to decide if you want to fight back, and then you have to learn how. Violence may not solve things in the long term, but it can often save your life – or someone else’s – in the immediate now.

  • J.

    Violence isn’t normally the right course of action to take, but when someone is beating the crap out of you, you should really learn to fight back and not just take it like so many gay men do. What kind of person doesn’t defend themselves when they are being attacked?

  • iDavid


    Excellent post.

  • yertle

    I don’t know, I think parents telling their kids they should punch others is part of the bullying cycle problem in the first place. I somewhat agree with him in a metaphorical “stand up for yourself now, don’t just hope things’ll be better in the future” sense, but I don’t think literally teaching kids to escalate violence is so not the right answer.

  • Kieran

    He makes a good point. People naturally respect strength and tend to walk all over those perceived as weak. That’s just the way it is in this world. Call it “the law of the jungle” or whatever. The strong survive and the weak get winnowed out.

  • Cero

    People are too quick to pass off violence as a sum root of all evil, but evil is such a human creation. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Perhaps you have suffered at the arm of some other, but you are not a victim eternal. Not if you choose not to be. Even those oppressed or elided are not victims when they fight. There is such a thing as defensive violence, and it is in its practice that one learns struggle. One must accept into themselves an attack, redirect it, and let it extinguish. Moreover, this isn’t about toughing it out, this is about getting tough skin. You don’t have to simply learn to block and keep blocking – this is a sword fight of sorts, and you must learn to deflect; but you can’t do that with a weak arm. If you want to win this fight without killing your opponent, then you must learn how to deflect and disarm them.

  • missanthrope

    @Kev C:

    Yes Kev, let’s hear all about your completely uniformed assumptions about me and what I’ve experienced. Please, do go on.

  • Owen

    @Kev C: Ass.

  • Tony

    Amen! We need to teach these kids to cut a bitch. Drag queens led the Stonewall riots because they learned to fight because they got tired of getting their asses kicked.

  • xander

    Scott’s point is well taken, tho’ expressed awkwardly…Self defence is important, not just physically but also verbally. We had a course in gym at school taught by a retired cop which covered the usual topics such as self-protection, but also voice tone, posture, retorts, etc.

    I wonder if GSAs are offering such workshops in the schools?

  • Ruhlmann

    @missanthrope: That cracked me up. He’s also full of shit.

    I have been in a lot of fights that were not my own. I have lost as many as I have “won” fighting for someone else who couldn’t fight for themselves. Whether you win or lose the results are the same, after the adrenaline surge, anger and depression. Not everyone is able to defend his or herself. I have seen too many people with no aggression in them whatsoever to accept the insult of “grow a pair” as the response to a despairing youth. “Grow a pair” is the essence of the bully. We are all in this together and there are too few of us to behave like them. Scott Thompson is a marginal has been posturing a grotesque, faggy macho to stay almost interesting. I want to punch him in the fucking face.

  • Interesting

    Few kids ever attacked me as a kid because they were scared of me. I was taught by my family, “You don’t start a fight, but you always finish one.” That principle protected me a lot more than anti-bullying campaigns ever could. The few fights I was in- some I lost, some I kicked ass, but the point was I didn’t curl up begging them to stop. I put in my lumps and gave as good I got. Yes, sometimes I lost, but the overall impression was “don’t fuck with this kid.” Its not about the violence. Its about making people afraid of the consequences of touching you.

  • Interesting

    @Ruhlmann: (a) What has his career status got to do with the correctness of his statement. You ultimately devalue your own comment by bringing up that irrelevancy. (b) His point, since you don’t seem to get it, is that everyone needs to know how to protect themselves even if its not natural to them or easy. Its not something that one should want, and definitely one should try to avoid, but at the end of the day, its not always avoidable. Its absolutely absurd to think you are going to help someone by telling them “oh, you can’t learn how to fight. Be a victim.” How the fuck are you helping empower a kid that way?

    And yes, you need to grow a pair because, I absolutely do not believe anyone who has ever truly been in a fight would advocate to someone that they sit back and take it. He’s not advocating that people are going to win a fight. He’s advocating that they be willing to fight. Do you understand that? It doesn’t seem like it. I mean- what’s the alternative? That we stick children in a bubble and think we can seriously prevent all violence? The best we can do is decrease it, and that’s a good thing, but outside of that, another way to decrease it is for kids to know how to fight for themselves.

    When they get in the real world, they are going to have to learn that anyway.

    I don’t believe the delusional comments along this thread that say “oh gays will one day not face discrimination” Its naive. The reality is that human nature is exactly the opposite of such naive statements. For that reason alone, kids need to defend themselves.

    And let’s be extra clear- when they get into real life, they are going to need that grit.

  • fredo777

    @iDavid: “but all in all, you have to stand up for yourself and make decisions that are going to get you safe and feeling like you did the courageous rational thing.”

    Agreed. It differs from situation to situation.

  • Kev C

    @missanthrope: Answer the question, how many times have you been gay bashed? Physically assualted by homophobic bullies? 10 times? 20? 40? 60? 80? 100? 200?

    Close to 200 times, maybe? Perhaps? Huh?

  • Pat Duffy

    My highschool life changed after I fought back. Suddenly, I was a Person, not a playtoy for my schoolmates. Humans are pack animals after all, no matter all the Mental Masturbation…

  • Greg

    @Kev C: “The IGB side has this to offer: Tough It Out (get used to being a victim). Maybe society will change, maybe our allies will ride to the rescue on white horses. Maybe the cops and the courts will one day give a damn. Maybe the bullies will see reason and be nice.”

    Except, all that stuff generally DOES happen and that’s the point of “It Gets Better.”

    It’s ONLY when you’re a kid that people like you BLAME THE VICTIM and declare adults can’t do anything!

    And that’s when the suicides mostly occur.

    If a bullied gay kid can just make it to 19 or so, the idiot “teachers” are out of the picture. The kid is not in middle school prison anymore and is off doing something else (often, far away from “home”). The bullies are generally out of the picture too, they are someplace else (often, in real prison already for other things). The cops and courts suddenly DO give a damn (in most locations).

    Most of us observed this pattern; do you really not see it?

  • Kev C

    “It’s ONLY when you’re a kid that people like you BLAME THE VICTIM and declare adults can’t do anything!”

    You’re a moron. You a truly a clueless fucking moron.

    But at least you’re not as stupid as missathrope.

  • Ian

    Yeesh, I loved Thompson in Kids in the Hall. He should stick to comedy and avoid opining about violence or bullying.

  • robert

    I agree with Ian

  • Interesting

    Whenever some common sense issue comes here like “fight for yourself” there is always someone here who argues the opposite. In fact, it goes beyond arguing the opposite into absurdities like Scott should “stick to comedy” despite the ridiculousness of arguing one should not fight for one self or whatever is being argued. At this point, I got to assume there are either some people who just live in their own reality on this site or they are just arguing for the sake of arguing or the site wants to create controversy – whatever- I am not buying that there are any real people out there are arguing to kids that “because it Gets Better exists there’s no reason to learn how to protect yourself.” The concepts are not mutually exclusive. I read nothing in the article that suggest it is. Yet, that false choice has been set up here and has run almost 50 comments now.

  • Hugh

    In the comments above where guys learned to stand up for themselves and earned some self-respect and respect from others, it seems they had parents who stood up for them. For all those bullied kids who don’t live in supportive families, they need other adults and authority figures to teach them the survival tools. Scott is just doing what we should all be doing for our disadvantaged LGBT youth. Yes, schools are mostly ill-equipped and understaffed to deal with most issues of bullying. They’re a battle zone, not really a safe place to send children. But they’re also the learning ground for most social skills, and learning how to stand up for oneself in the face of adversity is a necessary survival skill. Scott is right insofar as bullied kids need to self-defend; but wrong in that they should do it alone without our guidance and support. We should be creating and funding what schools don’t teach yet is probably more important than the 3-Rs.

  • missanthrope

    @Kev C:

    I was beat by my old man for being queer and also by kids at school, so fuck off Kev you self-righteous prick.

  • Kev C

    @missanthrope: Maybe you were beaten for being a racist. I’m pretty sure that’s why.

  • kylew

    @Interesting: It’s not that the suggestion that gay kids should learn to defend themselves that is the issue. Scott’s language is deliberately derogatory, implying that cowardice is the primary reason that gay kids do NOT defend themselves, whilst that is a simplistic, insulting and dangerously provocative view that may cause more problems than it resolves.

    As I already stated, EVERY bullied child should learn to defend themselves, but they should also learn when it is unwise to do so. For instance, with zero tolerance in schools, many kids will face expulsion or censure for fighting, even when they are the victims, and I’ve personally witnessed it.

    And here’s something else for Scott Thomspson to mull over whilst he’s advocating punching people in the face – many people who are NOT habitual fighters are as likely to break their own wrist punching someone in the face, as the to stop the ongoing attack. So now the victim folows Scott’s advice – stands up for themself, and goes home with self-injuries followed by a beating.

    If you want practical advice, not stupid macho queen posturing, visit the kidpower website for advice on situational awareness, body language, target hardening and ways to reduce your “beat me” signals.

  • WillBFair

    Right. Stand up to a crowd of sadistic athletes, and administrators in the bible belt, and your own parents with a frigid hatred of queers.
    Blame the victim is now a pillar of gay thought. Ouch.
    It’s very sad to see raging stupidity in the queer community. And that few have spoken out against it.
    On the other hand, we should never expect serious thought from the general public. The masses are asses.

  • Greg

    Okay, there may be some kids who are well-suited to the message “fight back,” “grow a pair,” yadda yadda yadda, and could profitably make use of the advice. But they are unlikely to be suicidal already. (I suspect Scott Thompson as a kid was verbally teased a lot but never had much if any physical abuse, & he has confused verbal teasing with “bullying.”)

    IGB was designed more for the gay kid who is already suicidal.

    There is probably not much overlap between these two audiences. They are almost mutually exclusive.

  • Interesting

    @Hugh: I would agree with your comment. For me, my family empowered me to fight. They weren’t supportive in many ways, but in terms of standing up for yourself they always made it clear you don’t let other run over you.

  • Greg

    @WillBFair: Great comment!

  • Greg

    Also, few people here seem to have kept in mind that at least a few kids must be reading this. (The IGB videos are intended for exactly that, of course.) This is not just a cat-fight between the two types of bullying victims.

    We can ask ourselves:

    What kind of kid do you have in mind when you write here?

    Do you just imagine a mini-you?

    Do you imagine a potential (supposedly) pro-gay bully like Kev C? (He told me in another thread he’d wanted to poke out his enemies’ eyes with pencils… or maybe that was no fantasy and he was literally recounting his middle school experience… hmm.)

    Do you imagine schools pretty much like your own, and parents pretty much like your own? Or keep in mind there are plenty of other situations?

    All significant.

  • prohomo

    We must learn self-defence, and also to arm ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with fighting back most of the time. Violence sometimes is the answer, and your enemies will think twice before messing with you. FIGHT BACK!!!

  • Thompson is dumb

    It Gets Better isn’t about letting the ‘phobes do what they want. If it was, Dan wouldn’t call very public attention to cases of harassment or assault (both of which are crimes) on his blog. It’s about reminding kids that they have much more control over their lives as adults.

  • Joe

    Scott Thompson explains himself on his latest podcast. I happen to agree with him! http://scottfreepodcast.com/

  • Henry

    @Kev C: Charles Rozier has lived in Georgia his whole life. They applaud anti-Semites and black-haters like him, they don’t beat them up.

  • Observer

    I agree with Thompson’s comment about women. Straight women feminize gay men because they hate themselves, and because they’re afraid to pick on straight men. A lot of white straight women would be so much more well behaved if they were beaten black and blue — and let’s face it, they want the beating.

  • Westmaker

    @Joe: I don’t know, it feels like he made the comment hard to understand, and then told us to check out his podcast because he wants more listeners. I don’t respect that kind of marketing.

  • Erwin

    @JIm Morrison: I completely agree that the LGBT community does need to learn how to physically fight back. I am sure he does not mean that we should go out and be the same as the people who commit crimes against us. We need to be trained for the times when our lives are in danger. If you have not been keeping up with gay news recently, several gay men have been burnt alive just because of being gay. So is it OK for us not to know how to fight and just take such violence from everyone that hates us? I think not.

  • Greg

    Scott Thompson should know better. I started wondering about his childhood since I imagined him in some lily-white Canadian school in the Toronto suburbs where he maybe endured a little verbal teasing for being gay, so that’s why he doesn’t have any idea what the fuck he’s talking about.

    Yes – well, not quite, since the big minority group in Brampton is “South Asians”… ooooh, scary!… what did they do, kick Scott in the shins? – but incredibly, it’s way worse:

    “Thompson was born in North Bay, Ontario, and grew up in Brampton. … He attended Brampton Centennial Secondary School and was a witness of the 1975 Centennial Secondary School massacre.” (Wikipedia) – The killer was an alienated kid who wanted to kill his science teacher but couldn’t, so he killed some kids.

    It’s well-documented that the Columbine killers in Colorado were bullied and called gay.

    Gun control may work in Canada (maybe?), but since there’s no chance of it ever catching on down here in Second Amendment Land, we should be careful where we’re going with this.

  • Interesting

    Anyone insisting that fighting for yourself is something other than fighting for yourself is a liar and a douche.

  • andy

    Thats easy for someone who went to school in Canada 30+ years ago to say. What an oversimplified, insensitive, blame-the-victim thing to say. I’m all for defending yourself and self preservation BUT he has no concept of the cruelty kids are capable of now and how unsupervised kids are. A gay kid could easily punch ONE OF THE GROUP of bullies and land himself in the hospital. I like Scott Thompson and appreciate radical activism and being contrary but this is irresponsible.

  • Interesting

    @andy: < bullshit artist, Its harder for gay youth today, according to this poster, than 30 years ago.

  • BigWoody

    @Kev C: Is the best practical advice to teach bullied children to physically fight back and disregard the possibility of being suspended or expelled and losing the opportunity to get scholarships for college?

    Let’s teach them that the best option is anarchy. Take the responsibility to change the world because life does not get better. Go ‘Columbine’ on the bullies and the school that refuses to protect you. That will surely force all bullies and right wing bigots to change. It doesn’t matter that you may not identify as LGBT but you are still being bullied and called a dyke. It doesn’t matter that you are afraid to tell your parents that you are being bullied because your Southern Baptist dad said that he would beat and kick out any child of his that was a faggot. Forget about those weak It Gets Better videos… lets start making videos teaching children that learning self defense is the best practical advice. Violence is always the best practical answer to stop violence among children.(ironic sarcasm)

    I think that an after-school program teaching self-defense, self-confidence and how best to report abuse is a good option.

    Another option of practical advice would be for LGBT adults to support the creation of gay-straight alliances like GLSEN.org in as many schools as possible. Financially support GLSEN or PFLAG (or get involved) and prompt these organizations to AT LEAST send information to school counselors and administrators in conservative school districts in the hope that they may pass on the information to bullied students. For those students who do not have access to GLSEN, recording abuse with a cell phone in your pocket (audio) or carried by a friend (video) may be effective. Post the sound (with a clandestine photo taken of the bully) or video recording on Facebook and YouTube, send to local media and LGBT organizations, AND submit to school administrators. If abuse is published in as many ways as possible it becomes difficult to ignore by school officials. If bullies know they have been identified publically, they may be pressured by parents and school officials to stop harrassment and may be less inclined to retaliate because of recorded evidence.

    Hmmm… shall we choose an option in order of least pain?

    1. Expose bullies to anyone and everyone. Bullying may continue or end with a good chance of consequences suffered by the bully.

    2. Learn self defense and hope that fighting will lead to victory. Bullying may continue or end with a good chance of consequences suffered by the bully and bullied child.

    3. Suicide. Bullying will end with little chance of consequences suffered by the bully because no one will know the true extent of your abuse and pain. But, by golly, that’ll teach your parents and school for not protecting you.

  • Kev C

    @BigWoody: Whilst being brutalized by ruffians, one must always consider the consequences of doing something which might reflect poorly on their school record.


    Young people should learn their inalienable legal rights. You have the absolute right to self defense. If anyone touches you with intent to harm, you have the right to use proper force, including lethal force if need be, to stop an attack. You will be arrested and investigated. If you acted in self-defense, you will be released without a criminal charge.

    Young people should learn that fighting back works. Nobody wants to be picked on. Nobody wants to be forced to fight. But everyone has a responsiblity to protect themselves. To be self-reliant. Because parents, police, teachers and supportive adults may not know, may not care, or may not be available to help. You can count on this.

    Young people should learn that bullies are cowards. They attack in groups because they are frightened, stupid and incapable. For this reason, bullies are easier to fight and defeat than non-bullies. This is a fact. But the perception, the illusion that they are powerful and scary is what causes defeat. Once you see past this illusion, the bullies are actually easy to defeat.

  • BigWoody

    As a child growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I saw little bullying based on being LGBT. Children did not self identify as gay… hell, we weren’t even aware there were others like us. I was short, fat, shy, smart, abused at home, and afraid that someone would find out that I could not stop looking at boys crotches. I was not bullied, possibly because there were only approx. 200 students in my high school, or maybe because I had long hair and smoked pot.

    Peg-leg Peggy was made fun of in third grade because she had one very skinny deformed leg. The principal came into our class and gave us a stern angry speech and warned us not to pick on her. For the next nine school years, to my knowledge no one ever picked on her again. The only jokes were told behind her back and were not evident to her.

    The kid who was bullied most in high school was smart, cross-eyed, and had huge ears. He was continually verbally berated,and bullies snuck up behind him and smacked the back of his head or flicked his ears. He tried to verbally take up for himself, take swings or kick at the bullies who would retreat out of reach. I was afraid to be around him.

    In the 80’s, I grew tall and thin, came out openly at work, with family and friends. I encountered physical abuse and social discrimination as an adult, but I could handle it much easier because I was a strong, radical adult. When my friends stopped coming around, I found new friends. When my co-workers refused to talk to me and attempted to sabotage my work, I was forced to find another job.

    When I was driving out of an alley after leaving a gay bar I witnessed a slight young gay man ambushed by two men who jumped out of thier car and began pummeling him. I opened my car door, layed on my horn, yelled at him to get in. He kicked his way free, the bullies were scared away, and we drove away. He did not want to press charges. I drove back to look for the bullies. They came back and cornered my car. I raced my engine, yelled that I had their license plate recorded and threatened to ram their car. I wanted so badly to ram their car, but they drove away.

    I was entering a gay bar and a car full of men pulled up with one standing up out of the sunroof. He yelled “are you a faggot?” I confidently answered yes and walked quickly toward their car. They sped off. Of course, if the would have gotten out to attack, my only option would have been to run into the bar and call police (or get a quick mob to go outside).

    I have been mugged (and fought back), and fired (with no legal recourse) because I was gay. But, enough about my experiences.

    My point with sharing events that most of us have encountered and, are fed up with, is that fighting back against discrimination is necessary as ADULTS.

    Yes, I agree that ‘It Gets Better’ is not the complete practical answer for bullied or abused children. I think that IGB is out there to combat the belief by children who see no way out of despair, that suicide is the only option.

    Violence, for children, should not be espoused as the best option. Children are growing up in an environment where they are much more aware of their sexuality and are expressing themselves openly at school. Children are caught in a rapidly evolving society where not everyone accepts the positive LGBT images portrayed throughout mass-media. Children have become the frontline victims of LGBT discrimination and should not be expected to fight bigotry alone.

  • Kev C

    @BigWoody: Here’s what you are forgetting: Once you begin to be responsible for your own safety, including fighting back in self-defence, you begin to develop confidence and social skills which make violence less likely to occur. You begin to think what is the safe thing to do, the safe place to go where violence won’t be necessary. You begin to walk and act confidently. You begin to plan wisely and to think and talk with assurance. And because of this, the violence stops.

  • BigWoody

    @Kev C: Kev, I am not discounting the validity of your argument. I would love to hear about a kid who was bullied repeatedly, and where the school system refused to protect him, put a bully in the hospital with no chance of recovering from a coma. Consequences of negative school records was one of the least points I was attempting to make. Many schools have a ‘zero tolerance’ policy when it comes to violence.

    What are your thoughts regarding the option I offered of:

    “recording abuse with a cell phone in your pocket (audio) or carried by a friend (video) may be effective. Post the sound (with a clandestine photo taken of the bully) or video recording on Facebook and YouTube, send to local media and LGBT organizations, AND submit to school administrators. If abuse is published in as many ways as possible it becomes difficult to ignore by school officials. If bullies know they have been identified publically, they may be pressured by parents and school officials to stop harrassment and may be less inclined to retaliate because of recorded evidence.”

    before resorting to violence?

    And what are your thoughts regarding promoting GLSEN.org who provide anti-bullying resources?

  • BigWoody

    @Kev C: I do understand that being able to fight back and protecting yourself breeds confidence and lessens bullying. And I’m sure that you understand that not all situations or children are the same. Some children have no support from school officials or at home and if these children are much smaller than their bullies, fighting back may not be the best first option for them. I am simply offering other options that may be more effective as a first option for some children.

  • Interesting

    @BigWoody: And if people were arguing absolutes, or, indeed, the article was, then you might be arguing something other than a straw man.

    During the black civil rights movement, often times in school integration black children had to enter not only hostile situations, but ones in which they could get killed. For all the famous incidents, there were thousands of others that you never heard about.

    I know in my home town alone there were multiple incidents, and yet, black parents taught their children to survive it.

    I am sure you will now say that not all gay children have that. And,yes, that’s true, but it is not always true. For those who do have parents that care those parents should be teaching their children the importance of fighting and protecting themselves even if its not easy.

  • BigWoody

    @Interesting: In a way you may be right. I have distorted the original argument to make my point. Thompson’s original ‘absolute’ argument that I find troubling is that he states “Fathers should start teaching the boys how to punch. … You fucking punch him in the face.” Physical violence may be an option for some bullied kids but not all.

    I feel that Scott’s comment was simplistic and fails to include other options that would be more effective than violence with regard to a small, or outnumbered victim who may not have support or resources for self-defense training. Fight back by outing the bully on every social media outlet available and make sure everyone within the school system is aware of your evidence. If that doesn’t work then “fucking punch him in the face” and try not to get the shit beat out of you by winning the fight or by escaping to the nearest adult.

    No. 53 kylew above has a good post to ponder…

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