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[personal profile] wonder_city
Tyler Clementi was murdered.

Seth Walsh was murdered.

Asher Brown was murdered.

Billy Lucas was murdered.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District condones murder by maintaining a "neutral" policy toward GLBTIQ students that tacitly condones their abuse.

Classmates gaybashed an 11-year-old male cheerleader, breaking his arm.

A Michigan assistant attorney general engages in a deranged campaign of blogging hate speech against a college student.

People keep calling it bullying, which minimizes and infantilizes it.

I call it murder.
I call it abuse.
I call it assault and battery.
I call it harassment.
I call it stalking.
I call it slander, libel, defamation, terrorism.

And these stories and articles don't even go into the abuse heaped upon the heads of those who don't feel that killing themselves is the only way to escape it.

I was first called a "lezzie" in fourth or fifth grade. Interestingly, that's when boys also started sexually harassing me about my looks, my body, my voice, my clothes, threatening to expose themselves to me. I never heard or heard of anything like it happening to my more conventionally feminine classmates. The harassment went on and on and on, through middle school, into high school, and on into college. My only respite was the two years I spent in a private high school, thanks to a scholarship and some luck, where no one knew me or cared that I was a baby butch.

The worst was in college, when the Theta Chi frat boys on the third floor decided I was sleeping with my neighbor across the hall, Cathy. They didn't go after me as much -- ruined my door decorations, knocked on my door and ran away a few times -- but they harassed the hell out of Cathy. Probably because she was smaller, frailer, and disabled. It got elevated to the residence hall manager, who was typically useless. Ironically, one of my best friends was being harassed by his hallmates at the same time, because they thought he was a black man daring to date a white woman -- me.

There was a flaming gay man living on the first floor of my dorm, who was also being harassed. Harassment involved screaming, shouting, kicking his door, throwing bottles and other objects at it, calling him homophobic names in the hallways, picking on him in the bathroom. He finally moved out of the dorm because it kept escalating, and no one was doing anything about it.

Note that I didn't even really begin to suspect I was gay until my freshman year of college. I didn't come out to anyone until the summer between my frosh and sophomore years.

And this was happening to me in the 1980s, but clearly this and worse is still happening, and continues to happen to children, teenagers, and adults too. And it isn't the fault of the queer young people, no matter how much the school administrators try to make it be.

It is the fault of the schools, the teachers, and the administrators who refuse to respond to complaints or stop it in person in the hallways and locker rooms and classrooms.

It is the fault of the vile, hateful parents who fill their children with vitriol rather than acceptance, and teach them that there are certain groups of people who are somehow less than human.

It is the fault of the children, teens, and adults perpetrating the verbal and physical violence, because they have chosen to engage in behavior that they know very well isn't acceptable.

It is the fault of the politicians and other public speakers who encourage violence and hatred rather than tolerance and acceptance.

It is the fault of people who want to keep the status quo because change scares them.

And it needs to stop. And the "It Gets Better" campaign is not, as S. Bear Bergman says, nearly enough. It is not the best we can do. It's a start. And so is the We Got Your Back Project, which seeks to make sure that everyone's voice is heard.

RM is more eloquent than I am. She also includes links to organizations you can support. Please do. And speak out. Write and tell school administrators what you think of them, particularly when you see injustice and intolerance in action. Do what you can, with the spoons you've got. Every word makes a difference.

Thoughts

Date: 2010-10-01 07:39 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Well said.

My only quibble is with "murder" -- because in most cases, the action is deliberate and premeditated, but is not intended to cause death, only misery. That more likely makes it "manslaughter." Of particular note is that most people don't understand that bullying can be fatal. If they DO, and they do it anyway, then murder is a possible charge, because they're creating a situation which they know can be fatal. Now in some cases, where the assailant says things like "Die, faggot!" a case could be made that they wish the victim's death, and if such death follows, again a murder charge might be applicable.

If people were charged with crimes for bullying -- rape, child abuse, battery, theft, slander, murder or manslaughter -- then it would probably be a lot less popular.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2010-10-01 03:20 pm (UTC)
akycha: (Default)
From: [personal profile] akycha
Intent is a dead end. If we go by intent, we wind up with an unprovable, ridiculous mess, where people behave in grossly inhuman ways, but protest that they didn't "intend" to be racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist bastards.

"Intent" is how our law system cripples accusations of racist discrimination. It is not enough to show that discrimination occurred: one must prove that it was intended to be racist, which is nearly impossible, since we have yet to come up with technology which can read minds.

The problem is not, as Jay Smooth puts it in his fabulous video on the subject whether people "feel like racists or thieves in their hearts." The problem is the results. The problem is what they do. The problem is to get our metaphorical wallet back.

And that is what the law should deal with.

Completely aside from the fact that some of these assholes celebrate when gay kids commit suicide.

Date: 2010-10-01 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ionotter.livejournal.com
Oh my God...

Andrew Shirvell is a VERY dangerous Homo sapiens. I'm not going to call him human or a human being, because I don't think he is. He's extremely dangerous, and should be removed from ANY position of power and watched very, very carefully. I'm talking FBI-level monitoring, because he's going to hurt or kill someone.

His body language was already frightening; the way he held himself upright and back, as if expecting an attack. But it's his eyes! Watch his eyes. The only time he looks at the camera is when he's chewing his inner lip, while pursing his outer lip. That is a classic chimpanzee threat display, where they're just milliseconds away from launching an all-out, going-for-the-throat attack.

He's targeting.

Hooooo-leeee $#!+.

I bet that cameraman was sweating bullets.

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