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Gay suicide: Dan Savage, Ellen DeGeneres and what to do about bullying

Tyler Clementi
Tyler Clementi killed himself shortly after footage of himself streamed online. (AFP/Getty Images)

When columnist Dan Savage read about the suicide of 15-year-old Billy Lucas, he had the same reaction he has whenever he reads about the death of a teenager who struggled with bullies: "I wished I could talk to him for five minutes. I wished I could tell him that things change, that things get better."

A few days later, he wrote in his column: "Many LGBT kids who do kill themselves live in rural areas, exurbs, and suburban areas, places with no gay organizations or services for queer kids.... But gay adults aren't allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don't bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied."

Savage realized he did not need to wait for an invitation to talk to the teenagers; he could use YouTube to speak to them directly. Last week, he and his husband, Terry, sat down before a camera and talked about their experience with bullying and how good their life became once they left school.

"We wanted to show them that happiness was possible in the future," Savage said in a phone interview.

He asked people to submit similar videos to a YouTube channel, It Gets Better. More than 200 videos have been uploaded to the site.

"It's not a solution; it's not a magic curative," Savage said, but it is a small step to counteract the bullying, to give the teenagers an idea that they are not going through this alone.

Gay bullying can affect straight students who may be perceived as gay by their classmates can also suffer from similar harassment.

Kristin Drapela saw the video project and passed the link on to her son. She wrote to Savage a few days later:

"I don't know if [my son] is gay. But I do know that your message has touched him, although he does confide that four years is still a long time to wait for things to get better. I think that seeing so many other people say the same things holds much more weight than having his mother tell him," she said.

The Post's OnFaith columnist Pamela Taylor questions the responsibility of the community in perpetuating discrimination. "Bullying, while it must be stopped, is just the symptom of a deeper malaise -- hatred of people simply because they are different, because you disagree with their beliefs, their lifestyle, or you dislike some aspect of their identity (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc)."

Ellen DeGeneres also filmed a video message and said: "There are messages everywhere that validate this kind of bullying and taunting, and we have to make it stop. We can't let intolerance and ignorance take another kid's life."









A report from the National Education Policy Center and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law has a list of recommendations for school sport programs, curriculum and state level legislation to prohibit harassment and intimidation in schools.

The report says that the National Mental Health Association, has classified lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students as an at-risk population "because their distress is a direct result of the hatred and prejudice that surround them."

On Tuesday in Washington, Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project will premiere the film "Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case that Made History," which follows the story of Jamie Nabozny, who sued his school district in Ashland, Wis., after he reported his bullies to school authorities. It led to a federal court decision holding that school officials could be held accountable for not stopping the harassment and abuse of gay students.

Southern Poverty Law Center's Marion Steinfels said, "The hope is that this film will make students and teachers understand how deeply vicious anti-gay bullying can affect young people and embolden them to act on behalf of their peers or students."

What should schools be doing to stop harassment? What responsibility does a school have in a bullying situation? What can parents do if their child is bullied? What about the parents of the bully?

By Melissa Bell  | October 1, 2010; 4:29 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Comments

With this project, Dan Savage reminds us that being American is NOT just about arrogant imperialism and consumerism, but indeed about compassion and finding a better way to live with our fellow humans beings. If his "It Gets Better" project saves the life of troubled and bullied souls like Tyler Clementi, our country can only improve. Anyone who thinks "there is nothing new under the sun" clearly hasn't looked around them.

Posted by: phburris | October 1, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Remember the HOfstra rape hoax, where four guys were accused of raping a student? Well, it turns out they filmed it, apparently without her permission, as she didn't know about it until presented with it to recant her story. Had they not filmed it, they would have been charged and likely convicted of rape. That they did film it saved them. But they filmed without her perimssion. Did they violate her privacy?

Posted by: scoran | October 1, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Why focus on "gay" bullying? Bullying, regardless of who is being bullied and why should be the focus. As Americans our country is the world's biggest bully so why should we be surprised that bullying would be a problem in our schools.
I moved from the midwest [Illinois] to Memphis when I was thirteen. In my school I was very different. I had a northern {Yankee} accent and I had red hair when my classmates all had black or brown hair. Nevertheless, I experienced very little bullying. Why? Because when someone tried to bully me I ignored it. They gave up because they couldn't get me to react. At the time I wasn't sure what my sexual orientation was. I really didn't know what being gay was all about. I barely knew what sex was about. At that time the word "Gay" simply met that a person was happy and had nothing to do with being a homosexual.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | October 1, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Sad that such a talent would end his life and the useless bullies will go on to live useless lives. That's been my experience. Gay kids should be treasured and protected. They often go on to do great things, if they make it out of adolescence alive.

Posted by: TonyQ82 | October 1, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Allow adult gay teachers or individuals to freely/privately talk to their students. After all they went thru it to. If harassment is unbearable even if an individual has someone to confide in. The safest and more logical thing is to create an anger management for understanding gay’s course (AMUG) for the harasser to attend. Until they are deemed fit to no longer attend. This should be by law, so judgmental parents who may very well be the ones to have thought their child to dislike gays have no say in whether their child goes to the class or not. It is vital that the experience for the harasser is not a negative one. More important than anything, is to allow gay students to have another gay adult/teacher to talk to.

Posted by: DMS3 | October 1, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Religion is the cause of death for these young men. Effectively the same thing here as in Iran.

Posted by: johng1 | October 1, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Bullies are petrified of the world around them. They do not understand it and need guidance themselves.

Posted by: DMS3 | October 1, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Religion is the cause of death for these young men. Effectively the same thing here as in Iran.

Posted by: johng1
--------------------------------------------
Really? We hang every outed homosexual from construction cranes like they do in Iran? I had no idea. Thanks for making it clear.

Posted by: alientech | October 1, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Religion teaches intolerance, Islam, Xian, SHiitheadian, etc.

Posted by: johng1 | October 1, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

jimeglrd8 - the reason to focus on "gay" bullying is that bullying of gay children is variously tolerated, ignored, and/or encouraged by the adults and authority figures whose job it is to protect the students under their care, at which job they are failing and/or deliberately negligent. As Dan Savage points out, schools and churches in suburban/rural areas do not invite gay adult speakers (or any other kind) to come and speak about bullying of gay students. It's brushed under the rug.

Posted by: Potter2 | October 1, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Kill the bully's parents.

Posted by: veerle1 | October 1, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Was this poor guy bullied? With all the exaltation given homosexuality by our media and politicians (goes over great in the Muslim world), you'd think instead of taking a header off the GW he'd be cashing in on the talk show and bookselling circuits.

Posted by: phvr38 | October 1, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

everyday, women have their behinds posted on the internet by guys who taped them having sex with them without their knowledge and they don't kill themselves...
so, if you kill yourself...
it's sad and stupid...
so grow up and get a pair...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 1, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

We want and expect teachers to do everything and to do it well..Teach your 5 classes a day and make sure they pass the tests and take care of your Homeroom, their grades, absences, their lunch tickets, their bullies, their lost textbooks, their parents in trouble, their stolen lunch money, their truancy ...and also, report the students who bully the gay teachers (who are in the closet?) yes... and correct the papers, and whatever else...one problem is the students who have parents who are lawyers...yes, stand up to them! Just do it!Of course all teachers have to report bullies and suspend them...takes courage and time!

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | October 1, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Religion is the cause of death for these young men. Effectively the same thing here as in Iran.

Posted by: johng1 | October 1, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Johng1 ~ and that'd be Buddhism and Hinduism, or is it Islam?

What "religion(s)" were responsible here.

And what makes you think an absence of "religion" would make homosexual behavior acceptable to everyone all the time?

An Atheist Regime could certainly suppress homosexual behavior on the grounds of sanitation ~ and would probably not feel any "white liberal guilt" about it at all.

Here's the deal so far ~ there's a lot of discussion about who did what to whom and yet we haven't heard from the cops about why the kid's wallet and keys were "left on the bridge" he supposedly jumped from.

Hmm.

Sounds like a Sandra Levy deal ~ or any other number of cases involving young people away from home who GET MURDERED.

Sure, you all want to blame people who bully homosexuals (which is usually not the case ~ you guys are like untrained young dogs who want to attack legs), but what about every other possibility that fits the evidentiary chain.

I'd have the two guys who said "he jumped" in jail right now, as well as the RA who didn't act immediately to get the straight guy out of that room, and the student counselor ~ AND ~ something you never thought of ~ the folks who had direct access to this guy's email accounts and his various discussion boards ~ because they may have been making up the messages as a cover for what they had planned.

This calls for a waterboard session or two, or a dozen, not total societal handwringing. I didn't kill the kid. I don't feel any guilt.

On the other hand I get the distinct impression there's a crowd that wants to sidetrack the cops.

Look, the cops are onto you people. It won't work.

Posted by: muawiyah | October 1, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

As a Republican, I say he should have kept his pants on. Being homosexual may or may not be a choice, but acting on your base desires is.

Posted by: senbilboredux | October 1, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse


Obviously the whole gay pride thing did not work for this kid. However, nobody made the young screamer jump off the GW bridge.

Posted by: screwjob21 | October 1, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Clementi did not commit suicide because he was "outed". He killed himself because he suddenly realized the seriousness of the homosexual sin he committed. Much like Judas hanging himself after he knowingly betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Posted by: Gatecrasher | October 1, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

As a Republican, I say he should have kept his pants on. Being homosexual may or may not be a choice, but acting on your base desires is.

Posted by: senbilboredux
________________________________________

You're joking, right?

Posted by: pythonS | October 1, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

senbilboredux wrote: "As a Republican, I say he should have kept his pants on. Being homosexual may or may not be a choice, but acting on your base desires is."

Why exactly should someone who's gay have to keep their pants on any more than someone who's straight? It's not illegal to be gay in this country, much to the disappointment of many religous conservatives. These kids were bullied simply because of who they were, by a bunch of mean, disgusting, bigots, much like yourself.

Posted by: chadborman | October 1, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Gatecrasher wrote: "Clementi did not commit suicide because he was "outed". He killed himself because he suddenly realized the seriousness of the homosexual sin he committed. Much like Judas hanging himself after he knowingly betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver."

Yes, I knew this artice would bring out the virulent, hatful, anti-gay bigots. It only took a few posts.

Posted by: chadborman | October 1, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

This is as sad a story as it gets - a young life lost because of the foolishness and meanness of others.

To the sick religious critics out there: You need to learn the meaning of "Love thy neighbor as thyself." I always wonder about people who get so virulent about gay people - are you insecure about your own sexuality or why else would it matter to you?

Posted by: MNUSA | October 1, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

fr dwightcollins:

>...so, if you kill yourself...it's sad and stupid...so grow up and get a pair...Clementi did not commit suicide because he was "outed". He killed himself because he suddenly realized the seriousness of the homosexual sin he committed...<

You are disgusting. Being GLBT is not a "sin". However, being a BIGOT is, and there is therapy available for it. Your local mental health society can guide you to a competent therapist. Avail yourself of it.

Posted by: Alex511 | October 1, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

At its core, the deaths are about shame. That's the driving dynamic. Shame at who you are, shame at what you've done.

Until word reaches the smallest community, being gay is nothing to be ashamed of,

having gay sex within the bounds of local law and with a consenting partner, is nothing to be ashamed of.

Why is this so difficult to understand?

My guess is the person Tyler had sex with broke off the relationship after he learned of the broadcast. That's likely final straw.

Posted by: burlough | October 1, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

"As a Republican, I say he should have kept his pants on. Being homosexual may or may not be a choice, but acting on your base desires is."

This is not a Republican statement, it is a conservative religious statement made by someone who is also a Republican.

Posted by: endoftheorangeline | October 1, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the poster that said "focus on all bullying." The gay excuse is old. Most kids have to deal with bullying.

Posted by: georgana | October 1, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

i was a bully in high school. i thought it was a good idea. i felt respected by my peers, but really they were afraid that i would make fun of them too. i could have guessed, if i had contemplated it, that i was hurting people, but didn't bother to even consider the issue because i garnered so much positive esteem for being a bully.

i hurt people daily in high school and hope i was never successful enough to contribute to the deaths or general malaise of others to the point that they suffered irreparable harm, but was likely skilled enough to have done serious damage.

i feel guilty about it. i wish i had led a life worthy of respect instead of a life worthy of fear. teenage emotions are fragile things. it's easy to shatter crystal and it's easy to shatter a psyche, too.

When i left my small town in Michigan and went to college, i pretty quickly realized that outside of a closed-loop social network like a rural high school, if you're a mean person, people won't like you. it was at that time that i started taking stock of my behavior and learned about how to accept others and to accept myself.

you see, the whole time that i was bullying others, i too was suffering from self-esteem issues and trying to figure out who i was in this world. i wish my dad who was a teacher in the school district or any of his friends who were my teachers in high school had told me what a jerk i was being. i wish my friends hadn't encouraged me to be a bully. i wish there was a principal somewhere who would have suspended me and forced me to confront my behavior.

i don't blame these teachers, principals, and peers for my actions. i should have known individually that what i was doing was wrong, but i think a proverbial smack across the face would have forced me to change or at least forced me to consider the possibility that i ought not act that way.

i'm really sorry i acted the way i did. i'm a social worker now, working with kids and trying to do my best to stop others from being like i used to be.

it all arises out of a false sense of superiority or a desire to be superior by climbing over others. just like with pedophilia there is an abuser-victim cycle that is perpetuated. it needs to stop. it needs to stop now.

although it would make ironic sense if my son were bullied, it would be horrible if the problem that is the cause of so much pain would just cease before others are hurt and their futures derailed by bullying.

i wish time-travel were possible. i'd go back and smack my 16 y.o. self in the face and remind him that we're all the same. i'd remind my 16 y.o. self that life is to be celebrated. despite prevailing economic theory, life isn't zero sum. my happiness does not require the hurt and shame of others. my success should accompany the success of others.

we should all help each other. we should all hold hands. we should all strive to make the world a better place. we should all stop the harassment of others when we see it.

Posted by: hobbssamuelj | October 1, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Funny, back in the day it didn't make any difference one way or the other if a person was gay. Gotta wonder about the all the 'progress" we've made

Posted by: logicprevails | October 1, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Any kind of bullying is unacceptable.

But frankly the law of the jungle persists in the human realm. The physically strong prey on the weak, mentally and physically.

Can that be bred or legistated out of the human race?

Posted by: jrealty | October 1, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Religion is the cause of death for these young men. Effectively the same thing here as in Iran.

Posted by: johng1 | October 1, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse
--------------
Really? How do you know that the bullies were religious? Even if their parents were, can you prove that the bullies were practicing their own religion.

My personal opinion. Your a bigot. You are a bully in your own right. You as the bullies that caused this suicide should be dealt with by the hate laws. They hated gay individuals. You quite obviously hate people that have religious beliefs.

Posted by: LiberalBasher | October 1, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Bullying is totally unacceptable ... for ANY reason ... and this is an unspeakable tragedy ... but frankly ... if I were gay ... I would do the same thing ...

Posted by: fizzlechip | October 1, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in the sixties in an area that had 50% of the population who were Afro-American, when our local United Methodist Church that our new pastor had adopted two child who were bi-racial, some of the good folks changed the locks on the parsonage to keep them from moving in. The pastor came anyway, in part so this children could be exposed to both of their cultural heritages. One of my children once asked me what the big deal about racism? ((since in their minds it does not exist). What seems so ridiculus today was common place at that time and it was mostly based on religious fear. Until we stop acting as if persons who have "moral" objectiions to gay rights have equal opinions, we will continue to see the bullying and death of gay young people, after all, they brought it on themselves, right? NOM, Sentors (including my own McCain and Kyle), congressmen, and other politicians also have the blood of these young people on their hands. They often pander to the bigots rather than move us to the higher ground. The majority of developed countries have moved forward, but the religious right in this country using pioty to cover thier bigoted hatred, nothing new hear, just asked some of my Afro-American neighbors from the sixties.

Posted by: tlusk58 | October 1, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I think a lot of people are going to be very suprised when they meet a God who is much bigger than their narrow minds, and who is going to have some harsh things to say about how they messed with parts of the creation.

Posted by: mkennedy89 | October 1, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Without hearing the full story I am not sure that this is bullying at all. I am not sure that the two students charged with taking the video were at all aware of the potential consequences of their act. I remember my college years as a time of doing alot of stupid things without even thinking there were consequences. I cannot imagine the two charged with taking the video knew that it would lead to the suicide of this young man. I do know that they will have to live with that boy's suicide for the rest of their lives and that is the worst punishment that I can imagine.

This is a sad sad story that has ruined not just one, but three lives. The fact that two of the lives were responsible makes the situation no less tragic.

What I also find tragic is the heartlessness of some of these posts. Gatecrasher particularly stands out among those most hateful, even bringing the Bible into the equation. Why is it the most religious among us that are so unforgiving, so ruthless and uncaring? If a person like Gatecrasher is an example of religion, of Christianity, that I want no part of religion or Christianity. I already know by my reaction to this very sad story that I am a better man than Gatecrasher can ever hope to be, that I am more 'Christian' without actually being a Christian, than Gatecrasher ever will be.

RIP Tyler Clemente.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | October 1, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I believe that the punishment should fit the crime, so in this instance, the students who invaded Clementi's privacy should be video-streamed being thrown off of the George Washington Bridge. And, if there really is justice, George W. Bush would be hanged for bullying Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: claygoul1 | October 1, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I would have guessed Clementi was gay just by the look of him. I doubt the video would have surprised any of his peers. The other giveaway is that he plays the violin.

Posted by: Gatecrasher | October 1, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Bullying in any form against anyone is unacceptable. Once the line between free speech and illegal harrassment is crossed, serious legal action should be taken. Some of these kids are terrible to one another, obviously, literally hounding people to death. This behavior starts young and to certain degree it's going to happen but if it's still going on by high-school, the students guilty of it should be punished with fines and imprisonment so they learn this sort of treatment of their fellow citizens is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We shouldn't be treating this as "kid's stuff" when 17 and 18 year-olds are doing it.

I don't see any reason why bullying gays is any worse than bullying anyone else. Gays are no doubt targeted more as a group but on an individual level it can be just as damaging to be bullied for having a lisp or a deformity as it is to be bullied for being gay.

Hate crime laws are predicated on the notion that stronger penalties for these crimes will deter them. If, however, this is true, why not simply raise the penalty for the crimes across the board REGARDLESS of the motive. After all, crass greed and jealousy are no more noble motives for a crime than are bigotry and hatred. If someone beats me because they want my shoes or because I'm in the wrong gang, I'm just as beaten as if they'd done it because I have "white" skin. And if tacking a couple extra years on for bigotry will deter a crime, wouldn't also deter the same crime if motivated by greed?

The same thing applies to bullying. It's equally awful regardless of the motive. I have no problem with people being particularly on the look-out for bullying against groups that are more prone to be harrassed but we should take every case as seriously as the next REGARDLESS of the "reason" for the bullying.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | October 1, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't like the intolerance, I prefer to draw the societal lines as far from the oven doors as possible. I know for a fact that given time these same people will come for people like me if given free reign.

Posted by: Nymous | October 1, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it amazing that any discussion of homosexuality brings out the rabid God-haters? Or, if God is allowed it is only by those who have emasculated him re-making Him in their own image as a morally nuetral eunuch with no standards whatsoever. Amazing. It would appear that traditional Christianity and Judaism (and other organized religions) have nothing in common with the homosexual lifestyle. Is it hate speech to acknowledge such? Clearly the godless appear to support homosexuality. And of course, it is the modern-psuedo spiritual make up your own religious rules that also support homosexuality. Man-made religion supports homosexuality (read liberal Christianity/Judaism/Islam etc). So, in a free nation with free speech and freedom of religion, the atheist and "liberal" religionist are free to advocate for homosexuality while the traditional Christian, who follows the clear teaching of the Bible is free to advocate against it. That is...if we are still a free nation. Of course, public universities are no longer free. And, of course, bullying is always wrong. Thoughtless college invasions of privacy are always wrong. But the idea that anything is always wrong would imply a moral absolute which sounds so out of place on the lips of the atheist or liberal religionist. Nevertheless, traditional Christians have always been absolute about the necessity of treating one another with respect. Though, they have also always been absolute about the necessity of treating immorality with calls for repentance and a return to God. So, are there moral absolutes or not? If there are, upon what basis are they absolute?

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 2, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

bullying is much greater than just being about homosexuals. its a human phenonemon that is about physical and emotional abuse that is passed down generationally. as one who was bullied by my father i can tell that it was like an addiction. that when my father bullied there was a rush, an energy excitement similar to an orgasm. and like my older sister who acted out on me like her father, both victimizers, if they do not own the pain they have caused, and they are a family member, they will never be able to have an intimate relationship with the one they have victimized but must remain distant and unavailable even throughout adulthood that lasts to the grave.

i am talking about perpetual broken life time relationships.

there should be web sites for bullies as well as for their victims. and instead demonizing bullies we should look at them as having a mental and emotional sickness, having in many cases been bullied themselves

my father had an absentee father(absent emotionally) and therefore his raising was passed onto my father's oldest brother who likewise severely, severely bullied him.

Posted by: feetxxxl1 | October 2, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Someone like DeGeneres with her money and visibility needs to go after the champions of bullies, people like Obama and McCain. They are the ones who are telling the nation that gays are inferior to everyone else. Gays cannot donate blood, they cannot serve their country in the military, they are unworthy of marriage and all of the benefits associated with marriage. No wonder this inferior class status has encouraged bullies! The "stars" have to do more than providing generic "feel good" messages, they have to name names and point fingers.

Posted by: brianfxx | October 2, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

if your being gays in my opinion it's wrong,and you reap what you sow,gays have there own opinions about straights,but one of us is wrong and the other is right,we both can't be right,my opinions about gays, they seem to be the most hateful people I ever meet in my life,if they can't get there way,there mean,rude,arrogant,and psychotic

Posted by: bottel01 | October 2, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

These homophobes are scary!

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2591832/posts?page=401#401

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2599430/posts?page=251#251

Posted by: SisterRosetta | October 2, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it amazing that any discussion of homosexuality brings out the rabid God-haters? Or, if God is allowed it is only by those who have emasculated him re-making Him in their own image as a morally nuetral eunuch with no standards whatsoever. Amazing. It would appear that traditional Christianity and Judaism (and other organized religions) have nothing in common with the homosexual lifestyle. Is it hate speech to acknowledge such? Clearly the godless appear to support homosexuality. And of course, it is the modern-psuedo spiritual make up your own religious rules that also support homosexuality. Man-made religion supports homosexuality (read liberal Christianity/Judaism/Islam etc). So, in a free nation with free speech and freedom of religion, the atheist and "liberal" religionist are free to advocate for homosexuality while the traditional Christian, who follows the clear teaching of the Bible is free to advocate against it. That is...if we are still a free nation. Of course, public universities are no longer free. And, of course, bullying is always wrong. Thoughtless, immature college invasions of privacy are also always wrong. But the idea that anything is always wrong would imply a moral absolute which sounds so out of place on the lips of the atheist or liberal religionist. Nevertheless, traditional Christians have always been absolute about the necessity of treating one another with respect. Though, they have also always been absolute about the necessity of treating immorality with calls for repentance and a return to God. So, are there moral absolutes or not? If there are, upon what basis are they absolute? Furthermore, if they are absolute does God judge people based on those absolutes? Should we judge ourselves based on absolutes? Or perhaps we should just take our absolute stand against judging anyone and condemn those who choose to judge according to absolutes as morally reprehensible. Of course, such moral confusion reigns amongst us all these days anyway.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 2, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

See what I mean?

Posted by: SisterRosetta | October 2, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/10/homophobia-and-hiv.html

I’m an infectious disease health practioner in the Midwest seeing mainly patients with HIV and STIs.

The recent stories of young gay men killing themselves after harassment by their peers really hit me today. For one thing, I have two boys.

Also, I have always thought that homophobia is a leading cause for patients living with HIV to be afraid of testing, treatment, coming out, etc.

This is most apparent with my patients that are minorities, as you have mentioned.

Each time I see a newly diagnosed patient I try to understand their social support network.

By and large, my African-American patients have only 1-2 people in their lives that know their status.

No wonder we diagnose so many young African-American men each month.

Posted by: SisterRosetta | October 2, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"jonswitzer" All you say, is all so true.

Posted by: bottel01 | October 2, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"sister rosetta" I'm not sure what you are trying to say?

Posted by: bottel01 | October 2, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

There is a law on the books that applies to hostile working environments - it should also apply to school systems since children have no choice but to attend. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-hostile-work-environment.htm Note: The first few paragraphs: A hostile work environment is primarily a legal term used to describe a workplace situation where an employee cannot reasonably perform his work, due to certain behaviors by management or co-workers that are deemed hostile. Hostility in this form is not only a boss being rude, yelling, or annoying. It is very specific, especially in the legal setting when one is suing an employer for either wrongful termination or for creating an environment that causes severe stress to the employee.

There’s just a handful of ways in which you can define hostile work environment. Any act of sexual harassment on the part of bosses or co-workers can be viewed as hostile. Any act or remarks that are overtly discriminatory regarding age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability are also considered to create a hostile work environment. Please read on because technically school systems are supported by the tax payers which makes this a "work environment". The article continues on to address whistle blowing, etc.

Posted by: cajunwuman | October 2, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/10/homophobia-and-hiv.html

what andrew sullivan and others are trying to say is that gay men and especially gay men of color are more at risk of contracting and spreading HIV due to them having to hide who they truly are

due to them being afraid of being found out

and there is a societal cost

this does not necessarily translate into being pro gay marriage

but it does translate into being more accepting

and to push back against these homophobes who are very proud of their lack of acceptance

Posted by: SisterRosetta | October 2, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

it's horrible to hear this but it's true... i know because im a junior in highschool i know what its like to get tortued every day of you life ... the teachers never do anything they shoosh the kids and it gets worse because u become a snitch it hurts when noone helps and i know suicide seems the only way out i feel this way every day and i have boon through cinstant therapy and have been opn suicide watch because of how cruel kids are ..... THIS HAS GOT TO STOP NOW its too much for us to deal with on our own

Posted by: xxedwardcullanxx | October 3, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Have you looked at Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" videos? Have you gotten support from GLSEN or PFLAG? I think they have hotlines, etc.

Posted by: rockchalk | October 4, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

If you are being bullied as if you were gay, strike back by calling them "latent homosexuals." They probably don't know what that means as that's the psychologist's term for homophobia but it stresses that they are attacking only to prove that they are not homosexuals. In fact, they may be just practicing homosexuals just getting their jollies.

Posted by: CliffVDY | October 4, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I am gay and I went through this kind of bullying in Jr. high school and, to a lesser extent in high school, decreasing each year in H.S. I'm 50 years old now. I can tell you that thoughts of suicide cross your mind daily, especially if you're getting bullied at home too by parents and siblings, when you're in this situation.

I know some kids today have more support systems available, but some do not, either through lack of these support systems or parents denying kids access to these support systems. Yes, there are hopelessly ignorant parents out there.

THIS HAS TO STOP NOW! Kids are dying.

And to those of you who preach that this is what God wants, I will tell you this: Either you are wilfully misreading your faith's dogma or you are the worst kind of Sadist. You'd better hope, if there is a God, he or she has mercy on you.

Posted by: phil_bellerive2 | October 4, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

To the people who wrote that bullying is bullying, what's the difference if it's for being gay or anything else?

Here's the difference: too often, the gay kid can't even get support at home, either because he knows his parents would be hostile or because he just doesn't know how to tell them. Kids who are bullied for their religion, race, ethnicity, appearance, or other reasons don't usually bear that additional burden.

That doesn't mean it's right to bully other kids, and we know from experience that bullying of other types can also lead to tragic suicides, like the girl who was bullied online by her friend's mother. I am simply explaining why for some gay kids, it is a little different.

And to the idiot who said he would kill himself if he were gay, I can only cite to you the brilliant observation of Quentin Crisp, who once said that people like you remind him of the little boy who said, "I don't like peas. And thank God I don't, because if I did, I would eat them, and that would be terrible, because I hate peas."

Posted by: Meridian1 | October 4, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

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