So last month I saw a movie called "Bullied". It was about a boy who was tormented, tortured, and bullied throughout his junior high and high school career. He was called names like "faggot" and "queer", he was beaten, teased, tortured, all because of the assumption that he was gay. He went to his administrators and was told on both the junior high and high school level that maybe if he didn't act so gay he wouldn't get picked on. He was also told that "boys will be boys".
After the movie, there was a discussion in which I found out that a boy at Julian Jr. High recently was pushed down a flight of stairs by someone who had been bullying him, also under the assumption that he was gay. He was hospitalized for a week. I'm not sure how he is now, his parents were at the screening of the movie, and at the time said he was doing okay, so I hope that still is the case. But this boy, teased and called "faggot" and "queer" and pushed down a flight of stairs because people think he's gay, does not even identify as homosexual. In fact, most people bullied for supposedly being "faggots" or "queers" in junior high and high school don't identify as homosexual later in life. They simply are smaller than the other boys, or they like doing theater, or they might not like wearing dresses like the other girls, or they like playing sports, so the assumption is that they are gay. And the answer to that is to bully them, beat them up, spit on them, call them names, and push them down flights of stairs. What are we teaching our children? Cuz from here, it doesn't look like we're teaching them enough.
These words can be poison, and they are infecting the lives of innocent kids every.single.day. Bullying doesn't "build character", it kills potential, and it kills people. The next time you're at a sporting event, and you feel the urge to call a player, or a ref, or a fan of the opposite team a "faggot", think about your son being called that as he's cornered by a group of kids knocking his books on the floor and kicking him as he goes to get them. The next time you want to call something "gay" because you feel it's stupid, or it didn't work out in your favor, think about your child seeing that written on their locker and all the kids pointing and laughing at them. The next time you feel yourself wanting to kid around with you pals, and call each other "queers", "homos" and "fags", think about your kid being called those same things, but being surrounded by kids who aren't saying it "all in good fun". The next time you want to ask the girl who is wearing a sweater vest in the bathroom of the Cubby Bear if she's a "fucking dyke or something", think about your daughter being asked that while spit on as she walks through the lunchroom.
I'm not innocent in any of this. I've used these words "all in good fun", and even in anger. But it starts with us, it has to, and we have to change this. We have to be aware of what we're saying and how we're acting in front of our kids. Bullying isn't natural, kids learn it from what they see in their adults. If they see you bullying, they will bully. If they see you standing up to bullying, they will stand up. "Monkey see monkey do" is the most true statement of all time.
I hope someday these words can be empowering. I hope one day to take these words back. I hope to be called "gay" because it's related to awesome things, not stupid things. I hope that someday, every one of my queer brothers and sisters will be as proud of being called a "queer" as I am. I hope that your kids don't ever get called these names in any way other than positive. I hope that if they see someone saying these words with venom that they stand up and say "no". I hope that if you see someone saying these words with venom, you will stand up and say "no". We have to be better monkeys to our kids.
I urge you to find out if the schools around you have a bullying policy, and if not, that you force them to come up with one. Tell the kids in your life that there is NOTHING wrong with being gay, that it is just as natural as anything else, if you need help getting the point across, or want to do some dancing while you tell them, put on "Born This Way". And if you believe that there is something wrong with being gay, then get the f*ck off my blog and out of my life.
**I know there are kids who are bullied for other reasons, being gay is just something I happen to know about and therefore something I feel confident speaking about.