Even Anderson Cooper gets a bit choked up.
Sometimes you need an Aussie to put things in perspective.
It has been a long day for me juggling producing news, doing interviews and trying to finish some deadline writing for Random House. Yet, in between my stress and crankiness today ( apologies to the staff) I spent much of my day thinking of Asher Brown and Seth Walsh.
Here are two young people that had amazing lives ahead of them – because all lives are amazing – who were so bullied because of one aspect of who they were that they chose suicide as their only way of dealing with the pain of humiliation. If only they knew that the best way of dealing with it as living your life with dignity. They will never know because society said it is okay for other kids to pick on 13 year old kids who are different because their parents teach them those values. Values that come from the axis of hate – better known as misguided religion.
I feel heartened as a journalist that Anderson Cooper just had Asher’s parents on. They are noble people and the Stepfather was staunch in his defense of him – saying he was my stepson but in spirit he was my son. He also said that when Asher came out to him they both told him that whatever he was – he was fine with them – they just wanted him to be happy. Apparently, ignorant bullies fueled by deluded Christian families didn’t get that memo.
When I think of these kids dealing with being different and not even knowing what the word for it is- my heart bleeds. The story has been the same for generations and each time the answer is the same : they need to know they are not alone. That is why I am happy to see that Dan Savage started the It Gets Better Project. Now, kids in the middle of nowhere ,somewhere in the world, can get a message that it does get better. Thanks to the internet at least there are ways for kids to look for kindred souls. I know that school can be hard when it comes to bullying - trust me on that one.
I quite like the take of Truth Wins Out on this ..ok fine…I totally agree …
“Because they ALWAYS claim there have been no reports of bullying, because they’re too damned preoccupied with Whatever-The-Hell to notice when kids are being relentlessly teased, and hell, some of the teachers and administrators have Perfect Snowflake Babies too, and it never crosses their minds that maybe these kids are not “Just Being Kids,” and perhaps they should step in; meanwhile, well-meaning groups like GLSEN and others try to step in and educate the schools on how to combat this problem, but nothing ever seems to get done; and blocking their path, you have motherfuckers like Focus on the Family and Laurie Higgins, and many others on the Religious Right who fight tooth and nail against any anti-bullying program that deigns to consider gay kids fully human, lest you interfere with their “God-given Religious Freedom” to hate anyone that doesn’t conform to their ridiculous, uneducated worldview, even though half the faggots raised in this world come from their homes, and…
Oh, excuse me, did my foul language offend the purest white virgin ears of the Religious Right?
More than the dead body of a child offends you, a child who killed himself because people like you work every day to create a climate where kids like him learn to hate themselves?
This is the result of your work, Focus, Laurie Higgins, Peter LaBarbera, Matt Barber, Bryan Fischer, Scott Lively, Tony Perkins, Peter Sprigg, and all the rest of you. These are dead kids. Happy yet?
But it doesn’t matter to you, does it? They’re just dead faggots. What else, in your worldview, would please your Jesus more?”
Ultimately it comes down to what hate accomplishes. The answer is nothing good.
And for poor Seth Walsh it resulted in his lovely friend who called him the “best person in the whole world” posting another video because that is all she can do at 13. I think it is amazingly eloquent and I still can’t stop crying – and I am not ashamed. Seth and Asher represent thousands who have died .
For my part , I want to put an end to this crap. It has been going on far too long and , as they said in the film Network, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore. “
I hereby vow that once I finish the content for this Fodor’s iPhone app and even before I see the end of this working non-stop thing ( 12 days and counting) I will upload a blog entry. I think the problem , other than the fact I am working at the station every day, is that I sort of vent sufficiently on Twitter and Facebook not to mention expressing myself on camera.
I will say that thanks to @mudlarklives on Twitter I was angry all day reading about a 13 year old boy who ended his life thanks to bullying. The headline says a lot – click on it and then come back.
I am reaching the point in my life that I have no tolerance for groups that condone hate. That is not even true. I am at the point that I will no longer tolerate such groups and I will now actively engage them in person, on Twitter or any other site they go on. There are too many kids that could be celebrating their difference and living wonderful lives that are dying as a result of ignorance and religious stupidity. I am not religious but if the message in Christianity that you absorb is not one of love and not judging but rather one of hatred – you have issues that need psychiatric intervention.
We have also had the issue in the Caribbean of Jamaican performer and inveterate homophobe Buju Banton having a cocaine matter in the US courts. Some commenting wags have suggested that he is being framed by some gay conspiracy . Perhaps they haven’t noticed that if the gay lobby were such a powerful group in Florida they might have made it a more friendly state in terms of equality. The performer is now awaiting a second trial because of a hung jury. I would suggest that were he in Canada he would be serving time already for hate crimes.
I have heard from some here in the Caribbean that homophobia is part of the culture and that one must be patient and work towards tolerance. I respectfully suggest that if someone said they “tolerate” black people they would be executed at dawn. One should either accept difference or simply say they hate. To me tolerance is what you do when you put up with a bad smell or an annoying habit. If it is part of Caribbean culture to tell a significant part of its population that it is morally repugnant and doesn’t count then the Caribbean is ignorant and needs to get educated quickly. I find it ironic that religion leads a formerly oppressed group to oppress another. And that is my problem. This is the last stand of accepted bigotry. If they are waiting for a genetic explanation for homosexuality it will still not help because last time I checked race was genetic too.
I didn’t mean for this to be more than a sentence or two promise to blog but the death of poor 13 year old Asher Brown because of bigotry and hatred makes me angry. Very angry. Like Matthew Shepard it cannot be allowed to be a death in vain.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls…
And this is the solution
P.S. I wrote this in a moment of tremendous anger and hurt and it may be flawed but I am deliberately not taking it down or changing it. Anger and hurt have validity .