I’m Rubber and You’re Glue: Anti-Gay Harrassment in School
It’s never really mattered if you are gay or not, just the perception of homosexuality has been enough to cause peers to harass and bully you for your “faggot-ness.” The unfortunate and untimely deaths of Carl Walker-Hoover, an 11 year old 6th grader in Massachusetts, and Jaheem Herrera, and 11 year old 5th grader in Georgia, have brought to the media’s attention what LGBT activist have been saying for years, “We must protect our children.”
Both Carl and Jaheem were taunted and harassed with words such like, sissy or faggot by their peers. Neither had identified their own sexual orientation. However, according to a 2005 report by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and Harris Interactive, LGBT kids are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual contemporaries. The Religious Reich makes all sorts of outrageous claims (as they often do) that this is caused by the child’s own self-loathing for his/her sexual or gender identity. But where does that self-loathing stem from – perhaps from society telling these children that they are inferior, worthless and “sinners.”
When we are very young children everyone asks us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Most answers are things like, a doctor, a fireman, a chef, a teacher or an astronaut – children never respond, “I’m going to be disliked by my peers, taunted publically, discriminated against by my government, rejected by my family and somehow still find the strength to wake up every day and face these horrors again.” No child dreams of that future, but that future comes anyway for many kids. It came for Jaheem and Carl, in spite of the fact that neither publically self-identified as anything other than children, and regrettably they both felt the only way out was to take their own lives.
These children, as well as the countless others who become victims of bullycide, did not take their own lives, the Religious Reich and social neo-conservatives who think that somehow the sexuality of these children were relevant to their own lives, took their lives. They murdered them by teaching that it is “ok” to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning people. This is how they purport to protect our children. To that, jaysays: there has got to be a better way.