Monday, July 04, 2011

Big Bullies: How the Religious Right is Trying to Make Schools Safe for Bullies and Dangerous for Gay Kids

When I first learned one of my sons was gay I became obsessed with learning everything I could about the extra dangers and challenges he would face simply because of his sexual orientation. I was shocked to learn who the enemies were. And beyond terrified for my son's safety.

Do you think I'm exaggerating?

Well, if you asked this mom I know she'd give you an emphatic NO!!  Her son was bullied mercilessly at school. In fact her son was bullied to death. And the school? Well they couldn't be bothered:

Learning that schools are a breeding ground for bullies and their victims are often children who are gay or perceived to be gay, isn't really news. Schools have always had bullies and plenty of vulnerable children to be victimized, and my memory serves me especially well on this as I had a horrible experience with a bully when I was in the first grade. The memory will stay with me until the day I die. But what was shocking was learning who was pouring so much energy and resources into keeping schools from doing anything about it. And as you heard in the heart-wrenching clip above, Seth Walsh was a victim of their success.

To their credit, many schools are working hard to put anti-bullying policies into place. And their attempts are often met with strong resistance. But, who on earth, you ask, would fight something that would protect our children from the evils of bullying? And the answer, which shocked and horrified me in those early days of research, blew my mind. It is  those who claim to be the "good" Christians and "advocates" for the family. The problem is, they can't come out and say what they really want, which is, bullying is bad, except if the victim is an evil homo, then it is ok. So instead, they just fight tooth and nail all attempts to stop bullying:

Students deserve an education that is free from bullying and harassment, and in many districts parents, teachers, principals, community members and students are working together to create a safe and welcoming environment for all children. Bullying can impede learning and ruin lives. As Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said, “bullying is doubly dangerous because if left unattended it can rapidly escalate into even more serious violence and abuse.” Close to nine in ten Americans believe that bullying is a “serious problem,” and many communities are directly challenging harassment and violence in schools. 
However, many Religious Right activists want to derail efforts to combat bullying. An increasing number of conservative leaders and organizations have fiercely opposed anti-bullying programs developed by schools and education groups for the sole reason that such programs identify and attempt to combat the widespread bullying of LGBT youth. (emphasis mine)
Rather than recognize and address the problem of bullying against students who are gay or perceived to be gay, Religious Right groups want schools to embrace a policy ofinaction. Many resort to repeating discredited lies about sexual orientation and vilifying the LGBT community and its allies to back up their opposition to anti-bullying programs that mention anti-gay bullying. Concerned students, families, teachers, education professionals, and public officials should not be fooled by the far-right’s attempt to smear anti-bullying programs, and should instead ensure that schools address bullying with a direct, honest and comprehensive approach.
Or even more heinous ... they give pointers on how to harass those evil homos, in a good christiany kinda way of course.. Take it away Joe:
Focus On The Family's Stuart Shephard hosts anti-gay activist Candi Cushman and her ratty hairpiece to explain how Christianist students are going to harass LGBT kids in the loving name of Jeebus. The Focus-sponsored "Day Of Dialogue" is this Monday. Up until last year, this annual bashing-fest was run by the "ex-gay" liars at Exodus International.

I have written about Focus on the Family and James Dobson for years. For me, this organization, and this former head of the organization, personify everything that is EVIL about these groups that masquerade as advocates for the family, but are really just front groups for homophobia and hate and destruction.

James Dobson is retired now. He no longer heads up the vile Focus on the Family, but his legacy and the organization live on. They hate my son. They hate kids like Seth Walsh. And our gay and lesbian kids will always be in danger as long as these monstrous, hateful organizations exist.


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