DEFEATED SPIRIT

Yesterday Everyone Wore Purple While Two Anti-Bullying Bills Died In The U.S. Senate

Yesterday every celebrity and queer person in the universe wore purple to show how much they support LGBT youth. Meanwhile, two Senate bills that would have actually helped stop bullying died quietly without much fanfare. Sorta ironic.

On Thursday the Senate Health, Education, Education & Pensions (HELP) Committee passed a massive education bill known as Elementary & Secondary Education Act with a bi-partisan vote of 15-7. However, the committee did not vote on whether to include Senator Al Franken’s Student Non-Discrimination Act nor Senator Bob Casey’s Safe Schools Improvement Act.

The Student Non-Discrimination Act would have been a comprehensive federal prohibition of discrimination in public schools against any students regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or any instance of bullying. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would have implemented nationwide strategies to help schools identify, prevent, promptly address, and keep stats on bullying.

The bills could have gotten out of committee with the twelve votes necessary. But both men left their sponsored acts out of the bill when they realized that neither would get the 60 bipartisan votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.

Makes you wonder if all that purple spirit would have been better expended shaming Republicans into preventing the next wave of teen bullycides.

Image via Marcus Q

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15 Comments

  • Michael

    Name and shame the people who made this happen for real.Its about damn time .

  • brandon h

    I didn’t even know I was supposed to wear purple yesterday. Good job getting the word out.

  • Tyler

    A) Queerty participated in #SpiritDay, so don’t act like you were above it.
    B) You’re the LGBTQ news media. If there was no fanfare, don’t blame media consumers, blame the media.
    C) What were you up to? Oh, we remember, the Tyler Clementi post.

  • Alisha Smith

    It is sad but in politics Republicans, even if they agree with the bill, won’t touch it because it would make them look bad and they could possibly lose votes over it. I have seen this played out time and time again on the news and countless debates. Even school officials here in Tennessee (where I live) won’t even recognize a comment about homosexuality for fear they will lose their jobs over it. I even know professors at the local colleges who are afraid to show their support or even come out of the closet for fear of harassment.

    When will people realize the harmful affects of simply not saying anything about the subject? I remember reading about a study done with a group of children. The teacher would separate the children by eye color and everyday she would pick one color to discriminate against. The teacher merely treated the discriminated group differently by saying they needed more help or why do all you “insert eye color” have to act this way. The children then came up with their own hate and began bullying the ones being discriminated against that day. My rambling is simple if you do not talk about it and treat people differently there will always be bullying.

    Children learn from their parents, teachers, and friends. If they are never told NOT to bully then they will continue to do it. Bullying does not build character like I was told when I went through it. It only makes a child feel small, insignificant, scared, and hating life. The victim will not do well in school and will pull away from the other children (pullying away will make the other children view him/her as weird and will make cause for more bullying).

    Bullying of any kind is wrong and need to stop! END OF STORY!

  • Sebizzar

    I wore purple, told my mom to wear purple too & posted a facebook status about Spirit Day. Even though there weren’t enough people wearing purple at both high school & college, it felt good when i saw some students wearing purple. And my local news anchors wore purple :) Stupid politics, those laws better be passed!

  • Dave

    Anti-Semitism is the only form of bigotry that’s not really cool with Congress. Given the chance, Republicans in general (along with a surprising number of Democrats) are happy to publicly side with racists, ethnocentrists, misogynists, and queer-haters. They remain in office because people (often members of the very minorities being targeted) make excuses for them. Excuses like “well, yes, he’s anti-LGBT, but the economy is so much more important to me”.

  • Kenny

    @Tyler:

    A-fucking-men! Thank you.

  • Lefty

    Great piece, Daniel.

  • Wired

    Somehow, you RACISTS will figure out a way to blame the blacks.

  • kylew

    @Wired: Get that chip off your shoulder – you’re not slaves any more.

  • kylew

    @brandon h: Queerty ran a news story, then had a purple banner and mentioned it again. What do you want a personal phone call?!

  • Daez

    @Dave: Sorry, but having decent paying jobs for millions of Americans matters much more to me than rather little Johnie can act like a grown up in his Senior year of high school or in college and realize having jack asses run their mouths about you is NOT a reason to slit your wrists.

  • kylew

    @Daez: Well Daez, I agree that many kids need to toughen up, but dealing with verbal bullying can be more than just not taking occasional offence well. One straight boy who was bullied for years found the prospect of school so miserable that he used get crippling stomach cramps each morning, and I know of grade school kids who get stomach ulcers over it.

    I don’t think it’s EVER fair to say to a specific person “Just man up for goodness sakes”. Pain is in the eye of the beholder. One straight kid I konw of commit suicide when his friends tricked him out of his house where he received a very mild hazing on his last day of junior high school. He was apparently so devastated by the deception of his friends, and the prospect of what was to come, that he killed himself at 14 years old. Any normal person would read about that and ask wtf? But, for him, it was world-shattering.

    I do think that as cultures, modern civilisation has taken all the character-building out of school. In the UK, for a while, competitive sports were stopped “because everyone’s a winner”. That’s exactly the kind of bullshit that turns out kids who faint if anyone calls them a name.

  • Dave

    @Daez: Spoken like someone who’s truly never been there, and who lacks empathy to boot. As for the link between Republican ideas and jobs–that’s been a load of horseshit all along. Corporations don’t exist to create jobs; they exist to create wealth. From the standpoint of corporate America, hiring folks is merely a necessary evil to be avoided whenever possible. The deification of corporations will eventually result in societal revolt that will make a recession look like child’s play.

    Besides, your either-or thinking is flawed on the face of things. Instead of rationaling your support of hatemongering bigots, why not demand that politicians support both the economic AND social free markets? There is absolutely no reason to tie bigotry in with a particular economic policy–unless that is, you’re merely using bigotry as a cynical tool to win the votes of other bigots. And when has anyone ever been correct in thinking that social oppression leads to economic might?

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