You may have noticed the title of this blog is 'What About Now?' I admit it's a play on the It Gets Better, a campaign started by Dan Savage. It Gets Better was started in response to a number of LGBT youth taking their lives after sustained bullying. Over 50,000 videos have been created to tell kids that however bad it is now, life does get better.
The videos are inspiring and heartwarming, and we all know they are needed. The suicide rate for LGBT youth is frightening (a UK survey).
"Young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) are more likely to suffer from suicidal thoughts than their straight friends, according to a new survey titled Youth Chances.
The results suggested rates of self-harm were also higher in young LGBT people and that they were more likely to need help with depression and anxiety than heterosexual people of the same age.
The survey found:
• 42% of young LGBT people have sought medical help for anxiety or depression
• 52% of young LGBT people report self-harm either now or in the past
• 44% of young LGBT people have considered suicide"
It's a fantastic campaign but I have a question. What about the kids now?
I'm in my forties. My teenage years were in the last century and I have kids who are teenagers. I loved school and I had good friends, and I see my kids are much the same. They have their issues but on the whole they aren't bullied for who they are or what they do. I love my kids and I know how I feel when I think they've been wronged. My Mama Bear comes out to growl!
Kids pick on anyone who is different. They pick on those with glasses, who are fat, tall, thin, short, gay (or perceived as such), those with two dads, two mums, no dad or mum. It's not news. We know that kids can be mean and cruel. What would I do if my children were being bullied all day, every day, because they were different? What would I do if it wasn't just the other kids who were picking on my children, but the adults as well?
What is really pissing me off, I'll say that again, really fucking annoying me, is that the people doing some of the bullying are the adults. And they are targeting children. Not their kids or the children they teach but children they've never met.
As I look around it seems that it's become acceptable to harass/taunt kids. The examples I've picked are varied but they all involve the same thing, adults harassing children.
When did it become acceptable to harass kids in the street because of the organisation they belong to? To call a thirteen year old a hooker for selling cookies? Why did he do it? Did he see Cookie Cott hysteria and think hey, I'll just call a random Girl Scout a prostitute?
One of my friends is involved in a kids' football league and frequently complains about the behaviour of kids on the touchline. I found this article in how parents have to schooled in how to behave on a touchline.
Many schools have witnessed “the hysterical parents, pacing up and down the sideline, shouting instructions to the player on the field who is already doing his or her best for the team”
When did it become wrong for a kid to be a tomboy. Why does a girl who identifies as a girl suddenly have gender issues?
"We believe that unless Sunnie as well as her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education."She is eight. She's a tomboy! If there are other issues in the school then address those but this paragraph is an unsubtle means of oppressing Sunnie because she is a female. "God-ordained identity"? Bet they would have a field day with my next topic.
There are kids who identify as the other gender and they face prejudice from all sections of the community. I've read all the crass comments and ignorant comments about transgender men and women, the idiots are never original, but when I took a look at the Purple Rainbow Foundation and the first thing I saw was this, I wanted to cry.
Transkids are bullied by just about everyone. In fact there are institutes who like making up lies about an individual transgender child, which is picked up by international press who perpetuate the lie. Yes, I'm looking at you, Daily Mail. It takes a trans advocate group to show the world that it is a lie. In the meantime it pushes the girl so far that she is put on suicide watch.
In its attempt to defeat a recently passed bill in California which would protect the rights of transgender students, a religious right group, Pacific Justice Institute, helped to spread a story about a Colorado transgender high school student allegedly harassing other female students in the bathroom.
Let's make this clear. This is a group of ADULTS targeting a specific CHILD.
My last example shouldn't even be happening now but ignorance prevails. Seventh grader, and LGBTQ youth activist Marcel Neergaard wrote another moving article in the Huffington Post about the continuing ignorance about a bill he helped to defeat.
The protection of the classroom doesn't seem to extend to me. One day I was talking with my friends about Zachary Quinto being gay. An otherwise supportive teacher stopped me and told me "talking about being gay in the classroom is illegal in Tennessee." I wanted to scream, "NO IT'S NOT!" I went home intending to double-check my facts before confronting that specific teacher, but my parents told me they would talk to the principal instead. I have found teachers are quite confused because of Ragan's bill (the Don't Say Gay Bill). They're too busy teaching to know if it passed, so they just try to be safe. Meanwhile, I am not allowed to talk about myself with my friends.
Is this bullying? I would call it oppression, and not even that subtle. Let's drive Marcel back in the closet, and shut the door.
Adults are meant to protect children. That is the order of things. So what gives you the right to attack other people's kids because they are 'different'? You don't. It's as simple as that. Whether you're a teacher, a religious organisation, a newspaper or a politician, your job is to protect children; yours and other peoples. So why aren't you doing that job?