and those beautiful gay folks killing themselves.
And it has crushed my heart more times than I can imagine....
now I'm saying this from a perspective of a straight woman who has (oddly enough) never been bullied by anyone other than my older brother (and that was kinda like his job). This is not to say that there weren't things for me to be bullied about and perhaps - almost definitely - kids made fun of me behind my back. I dressed oddly (I'm just sayin' that stretchy pants were pretty awesome), I was (and still am) overweight, I had (and still have) freakin' freckles, and last but CERTAINLY not least, I had a mullet. Plenty of fodder for these kids, but I don't know if it was just that I was so damn lovable or so damn intimidating but no one bullied me.
That being said - I can only imagine the pain of those people. And I know it hurt. And it is completely unnecessary and uncalled for.
This isn't a case of "kids being kids" because while yes, calling someone "four eyes" has a certain amount of angst and pain connected to it...it's a whole different level of hate to call someone a "faggot" and mean that in the worst way possible.
And you know what? These kids aren't picking up these messages from Spongebob or Bob the Builder or Jimmy Neutron or Dora. They are learning this from parents, from adults, and from news channels that give airtime to hate mongers like the Westboro Baptist Church.
I don't feel right making an "It Gets Better" video, Dan Savage style because honestly, I don't know what that's like. I personally don't know what it feels like to "get better." I CAN say that I've met REALLY FUCKING AWESOME queer folks in my lifetime who have shown me strength beyond imagination. They have taught me things I will never forget. They are also some of the funniest, most caring, and inspiring people I know. I do know that I proudly count some of those queer folks as my closest and dearest friends. I do know that there are certainly people who ache along with every single gay person who experiences discrimination and bullying. I'm one of them.
I do know that until bullying stops and until gay kids stop feeling the need to end their lives because they feel worthless, unloved, or are experiencing unbearable pain, we can never call ourselves a land of Freedom.
I do know that until we stop teaching our children hate in ANY form, our legacy is not one to be proud of but rather one that breeds violence and injustice.
I also know that we are capable of so much more. I know that everyone deserves love. I know that, regardless of one's identities, whether gay, whether straight, whether black, white, tall, short, homeless, wealthy, etc., you have worth. You are somebody's somebody. Even if that somebody is simply YOU.
Please. Just stop hating. Stop HATING people, stop HATING things (unless you hate HATE...which is sort of hypocritical) Stop HATING ideas. Maybe you LOVE someone a little less, maybe you don't have an affinity for somethings, maybe you don't agree with an idea. But stop HATING.
Use your words to spread love. spread peace. spread hope.
I send all of those things to you. Thank you.