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. “