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View Diary: "It's not just gays" (267 comments)

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  •  But what I do know (30+ / 0-)

    is that because I did get bullied I am getting really distressed over these young people's deaths.

    I do know what its like to suffer becuase I wasn't considered "normal" with my peers.  Granted, i can't possibly understand  their experinces becuase I am not gay.

    But I did suffer  terribly humiliating sexuall experiences because I was considered ugly.  One time I  was rounded up in the back of school where i was circled by a group of teenagers and mocked for being a virgin and groped, harrased and called a lesbian.

    Another time, I found a used condom in my bag with an  note saying that they only way I was going to get a **** in me was if I was raped.  And I won't say about some of the other nasty experiences.

    In the end this isn't about what I went through  because I got through it... these young men didn't.  And society let them down.

    Down with Prop H8! Jerry Brown for CA_GOV 2010

    by GlowNZ on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 10:16:14 AM PDT

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    •  For its part (28+ / 0-)

      Rutgers is fully owning up to the fact that it let Tyler Clementi down and it's working to do things about it. That is one piece of great news that has come out of this.

      Just call me firepants.

      by indiemcemopants on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 10:18:22 AM PDT

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      •  But (19+ / 0-)

        it is too late for that young man.  Lets hope it saves other lives.

        Down with Prop H8! Jerry Brown for CA_GOV 2010

        by GlowNZ on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 10:20:07 AM PDT

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        •  What I Don't Get Is That It Took This (17+ / 0-)

          for the university to get bullying was an issue. He happened to me, and it was endless, when I was in school in the 70s and 80s.

          I mean this isn't a new issue that just "popped up" yesterday. And I am just talking bullying in general. That it also happens to folks in the LGBT, well doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

          "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

          by webranding on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 10:22:58 AM PDT

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          •  Actually, not quite (10+ / 0-)

            Rutgers had a few things planned before Clementi; they were supposed to start next week.

            We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

            by plf515 on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 10:26:44 AM PDT

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          •  Part of the reason (17+ / 0-)

            is that homophobia and bigotry are institutionalized. It may not be that the Rutgers University President is a homophobe or bigot, but that person can only do so much to change the mindset of the institution as a whole.

            It's like what I've said about churches (an area of my somewhat limited expertise). A church can call itself "welcoming and affirming" but how do they live that out? Does that mean, "Well you can come here and we won't treat you bad to your face or call you names, but I don't want to see you kissing or holding hands."

            In church situations, the issue then goes beyond "welcoming and affirming" and then must move to actually celebrating people for who they are. There must be an open solitation for LGBT folks to run for the BOD, to take volunteer leadership roles, to be a worship volunteer in front of other people every Sunday, to work with the children's and music programs, and overall, be a welcome presence in the church. It should be almost "as if you had never been apart from us" in the first place (while at the same time, reverentially acknowledging that there was a separation perpetuated by inappropriate abuses of power and traditionally bigoted opinion entrenched in the old ways of the church).

            In the situation with a University, the same principles apply. (And I don't know Rutgers well, so I could be all wet ...) Are there support organizations for LGBT folk on campus? Is there a direct liaison between the LGBT campus community and the President of the University? Are there openly LGBT administration, faculty, staff, students who have an opportunity to meet each other, get to know each other and support each other?

            This is how change begins. It is still changing and being developed at the U of FL, but having lived in Gainesville for 3.5 years and part of the clergy interfaith group which was based on campus, they were trying very desperately to make up for the past and move openly together into the future. I gave UF a lot of credit for that.

            It took the AIDS pandemic for the churches to pull their heads out of their asses (and many of them have yet to do so) so that all of our children can be loved and accepted. I used to pity the poor parents who, in the same sit-down, discovered not only that their precious little Johnny was gay, but Johnny was also dying of AIDS. I pitied them for the time they lost, not for the homophobia that kept their lovely child from being able to open to the parents/family in the first place.

            What will it take for the children? How many more cases of violence will it take? How many more parents and families of the gay children who were not accepted and nurtured like the straight children were will it take to suffer before change comes? How many more tears must be shed before people's hearts begin to open and they can see beyond their own bigotry? How much more blame -- how much more shame?

            It's so sad that it takes death and violence to open people's eyes. I'm fearful that that's the only thing that moves people out of their "stuckness" on such issues. So sad.

            Barack Obama is my president!

            by RevJoe on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 11:15:52 AM PDT

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            •  Right. It's a progression. (8+ / 0-)

              And sadly, we are just at the point where we can start seriously talking about this. All the years of suffering that got ignored... but there are a lot of us now, who grew up and who know that they system is broken who are finally being empowered to use our voices.

              We get it when we get it. I just hope it's time for real change.

            •  Some churches (11+ / 0-)

              are welcoming and affirming in the way you describe. The Episcopal Church is a shining example of affirmation (as well as an an example of not backing down when the bigots try to control your agenda and then after failing, leave the church and try to steal your property on the way out).

              As far as universities: Every, or nearly every, traditional university in the US not run by a conservative religious organization has an LGBT student group, resources, and outreach. Most have one or more courses taught about LGBT history, culture, and issues, and I'd venture to say all have openly gay faculty and staff. Unfortunately it's hard to make sure that every freshman is aware of all of the resources available to them within a month of arriving on campus - it's hard enoguh to make sure that the freshmen can find their dorms, classes, and food.

              A major issue, though, is that so much of the work we're doing is reaching out to gay kids. Sure, it's important that gay kids feel supported. But it's straight kids who are conceiving of, participating in, and/or watching and condoning the bullying. It's straight parents who are, perhaps inadvertently in some cases, allowing their kids to fear rejection if they're gay. That's where the problem is. That's what needs to be fixed.

            •  I can't speak for the wider community (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              revsue, kyril

              But my state's Integrity chapter doesn't do DADT. A parish is not recognized as "welcoming and affirming" unless LGBT persons are welcomed and affirmed unconditionally.

              For example, if a parish is happy to pay LGBT choristers ... but only if they stifle it whenever they step outside the choir room ... no seal of approval for them.

              The plural of anecdote is not data.

              by susanala on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 01:09:12 PM PDT

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            •  OT Re: RU President (0+ / 0-)

              He's not a bigot, as far as I can tell. Just not a particularly good administrator. I might even go so far as to say he's an idiot.

              Has nothing to do with this sad, stupid and ultimately avoidable torment and death, but everything to do with the way the University as an organization is run.

              (I'm done now.)

              "Getting over" death in the family is like learning to use a prosthetic limb: you can still get around, but it just doesn't work the same.

              by Shaviv on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 06:45:43 PM PDT

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    •  I am with you there (16+ / 0-)

      I got teased constantly in high school for being weird in various ways - learning disabled, geeky, glasses, hugely uncoordinated and socially maladroit.

      Is that the SAME as being GLB or T?  Of course not.

      But different doesn't mean better or worse.  Just different.  See my sig line.

      We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

      by plf515 on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 10:25:49 AM PDT

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      •  I was bullied a lot too (13+ / 0-)

        for different reasons and I'm very sensitive to bullying for any reason..

        I do think Indie wrote an excellent diary here as there is more suicide among LGBT kids and overall population.

        "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" - Dorothy Day

        by joedemocrat on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 10:29:42 AM PDT

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      •  I was bullied for those things too (15+ / 0-)

        and I'd venture to say that most bullying of GLBT kids comes in something like that form. Even effeminate gay kids who are picked on for "being gay" aren't usually (Tyler Clementi aside) being bullied because they have same-sex relationships; they're being bullied for being different. And lots of straight kids have the same words thrown at them.

        The bullying is fundamentally the same. The words used are the same (see GlowNZ's story above, she was targeted with the same words used on lesbians, just because she was seen as unattractive). The effect on GLBT kids is different.

        Internal shame and fear of family rejection run deep in us. Not fitting in is an unforgivable failure, because being noticed means possibly being outed. We're afraid to talk to anyone, ask for help, use the school's anti-bullying resources. We suffer in silence.

        Geeky straight kids don't have to fear being thrown out of the house because they're geeky. But GLBT kids have driven into us almost from birth that any failure to conform is a sign of teh ghey.

        •  Straight kids sometimes do, though (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Uberbah, kyril

          I'm sure you didn't mean this, but some straight kids do indeed need to feer being thrown out of the house. Just not because they're gay. Indeed, one of the hardest things about adolescence for me was that my home life was very uncomfortable for no tangible reason. Neither of my parents drank, nor were they physically abusive in any way. They also always made sure I had the nicest clothes and enough money for lunch (although I often didn't buy a lunch at school). But Mom was what I now recognize as emotionally abusive, and Dad was the king of enablers. I spent plenty of time being terrified that I would be kicked out of the house, or that Mom would run off (she had done so once when I was 10) and I'd be blamed for it.

          •  The difference (7+ / 0-)

            is that virtually every gay kid has to feel the way you did. Kids from "good homes," whose parents aren't normally viewed as emotionally abusive, still have to fear being kicked out or rejected because they're gay. Because being gay is generally viewed as "wrong," parents react differently to it - they react the same way they might if they found out their kid were using drugs or stealing cars. Which means, in many cases, total rejection.

        •  Several important points here (0+ / 0-)

          *It's more appropriate to talk about "homophobic bullying" rather than "LGBT bullying" because something like 80% of the targets of homophobic bullying are straight (or don't yet know their orientation) but get treated as badly as gay kids because either they're perceived as gay, or because their tormentors know they'll "get a pass" for invoking gayness. Which brings me to my next point:

          *Research into the motivations of gaybashers (particularly Karen Franklin's research) has shown that the perception of "societal permission" to mistreat gay (or perceived-gay) people is a major factor in the decision to gaybash. Not all gaybashing (not even most of it, Franklin found) is motivated by a true hatred of gay people; much of it is simply acting out of antisocial impulses (either to impress peers or seek thrills) with the difference that there's less social disapproval of it than other forms of acting out, and thus the perpetrators are less inhibited about doing it (1).

          *This strongly suggests that improvements in the overall societal position of gay people (2) (such as being able to serve in the military or get married) will make kids less likely to think they can get away with using actual or perceived gayness as an excuse for bullying or worse.

          *The 80% of straight-or-unknown victims don't necessarily have a more supportive family situation than the gay ones. There's relatively little a kid in middle school or early high school can do to demonstrate to parents or others that he's actually straight (short of destructive stuff like getting girls pregnant). Remember that not all gay boys are noticeably gender-variant, slightly-built or otherwise stereotype-compliant. Thus they can full under parental suspicion almost as easily as they can fall under peer suspicion (and I say "almost" only because they mostly have the benefit of the head-in-the-sand, "not my kid" mentality).

          (1) Franklin also found that similar dynamics applied to gang-rape of girls/women, with it being a form of "cultural theater" in which young men try to demonstrate their masculinity to each other.

          (2) No, I'm not throwing the trans community under the bus; I'm limiting my discussion to gay people because I'm more familiar with the research into the particular dynamics involved with gay victims, and there are quite possibly other dynamics going on with regard to trans victims (e.g. "perceived trans" isn't (yet) a common justification for bullying; "he(sic) tricked by into having sex with him(sic)" is no longer a common justification offered for anti-gay violence).

          The schools will probably teach kindergartners to play nice with everyone. — Will Phillips, on how marriage equality would affect education

          by ebohlman on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 12:57:35 AM PDT

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          •  I think that goes for all forms of discrimination (0+ / 0-)

            *Research into the motivations of gaybashers (particularly Karen Franklin's research) has shown that the perception of "societal permission" to mistreat gay (or perceived-gay) people is a major factor in the decision to gaybash. Not all gaybashing (not even most of it, Franklin found) is motivated by a true hatred of gay people; much of it is simply acting out of antisocial impulses (either to impress peers or seek thrills) with the difference that there's less social disapproval of it than other forms of acting out, and thus the perpetrators are less inhibited about doing it (1).

            (1) Franklin also found that similar dynamics applied to gang-rape of girls/women, with it being a form of "cultural theater" in which young men try to demonstrate their masculinity to each other.

            This fits perfectly the philosophy I've believed for a long time.  That all forms of racism, everything from the Holocaust to bullying kids for wearing glasses, is just an expression of the evil inherent in humanity being expressed where people think it's socially acceptable. Racism and bigotry are just excuses for horrible human beings to act like horrible human beings while still maintaining some social acceptance. It isn't really minorities racists hate, it's humans.  They just chose to harm minorities, because they can use their imagined differences to excuse acting on their psychopathic tendencies.  Racists can harm/murder members of minority group without looking like a crazed psychopaths to their friends in like group.  This explains the vast majority of violence in human history.

            "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

            by Futuristic Dreamer on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 01:16:33 AM PDT

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          •  It's only a justification for murder. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rei

            "perceived trans" isn't (yet) a common justification for bullying

            •  I'll never forget... (0+ / 0-)

              the day in sixth grade when a kid braved social ostracism to come up to me to explain that the reason I was being bullied was because I acted so feminine.  And I was hardly "out" -- it was just the perception of me (I took the kid up on his advice and got much better at hiding myself).  I can't imagine what kids who came out in middle school in those days would have gone through.

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