But the batshit craziness got a whole lot more batshit when ThinkProgress interviewed Robert Newman, the head of the group. When ThinkProgress asked him what he thought about anti-LGBT bullying, he went a step beyond Michele Bachmann and simply denied its existence as a problem facing LGBT youth. Instead, he claimed that bullying people who “don’t fit the norm” is just a normal part of life that should be accepted.
It’s part of growing up, it’s part of maturing…I hardly think that bullying is a real issue in schools.
He went on to say that bullying is “part of the maturational process” and that “there’s no reason to have a special bill for, let’s say, three percent of the population, period.”
Hmmm…not a real issue, huh? Just part of the maturational process?
Why don’t you tell that to 13-year-old Seth Walsh, who hanged himself from a tree in his backyard due to what you refer to as “part of growing up”?
Why don’t you tell that to 13-year-old Asher Brown, who shot himself in the head with his dad’s 9 mm Beretta after his bullies tormented him mercilessly by calling him names and mimicking gay sex acts in gym class?
Why don’t you tell that to 15-year-old Billy Lucas, who hanged himself in his family’s barn after being called “fag” repeatedly by his tormenters?
Tell that to the eight – count them, eight – students, including 15-year-old Justin Aaberg, who have committed suicide in the Anoka-Hennepin school district in the last two years, where a “neutrality” policy prevents school officials from even adequately addressing the crisis.
Tell these kids that being called “faggot” and facing the threat of violence every day is just a “part of maturing” that they should have to deal with because that’s the way it’s always been.
For many people, bullying is a “part of growing up.” It shouldn’t be. How very “Christian” of Robert Newman to want to keep bullying as some kind of sacred coming-of-age process. It’s not. Kids hanging themselves and shooting themselves in the head is so not a normal “part of growing up.” Newman is right in that, in many schools, LGBT kids don’t “fit the norm.” If he and his army of fundie theocrats have their way, that’s the way it’s going to stay.
And that’s why legislation like the FAIR Education Act is so important and so worth fighting for. It’s just one step toward making sure the right-wing Christian dream of sanctioned anti-gay bullying doesn’t stay a reality.
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