In recent weeks, the tragic suicides of a number of teenagers due to bullying has really raised public awareness of this vile and insidious behaviour. Bullying in any form is unacceptable – but those victims who suffer bullying because of their sexuality, get a double dose. Not only do their peers attack them, physically and mentally, but some sections of society – mostly religious – see nothing wrong with persecuting children because of their (sometimes only perceived) sexuality.
50 Cent, the infamous rapper, has even gone so far as to recommend that gay kids should kill themselves. A number of very public right-wing and/or religious figures have responded by comparing sexuality with some form of deformity or contagious illness. Most christian religions condemn anything other than heterosexuality as being some form of evil – and almost all of them repeat the same lie, that sexuality is a lifestyle choice, while never acknowledging that they, themselves never chose to be straight (if indeed they are).
Such attitudes not only display a deep lack of what they like to call ‘christian’ charity, and a distinct hatred for people that they don’t even know – they also demonstrate their utter ignorance of anything to do with sexuality. Science has shown us that sexuality is determined in the womb, by a complex combination of factors. Choice is not a factor at all.
And yet, these poor kids are hounded from their own level, and those above them, telling them that there is something wrong with them, and that they deserve everything they get. This bullying often goes on for years and in the intense, confusing, ever-changing world of adolescence (oh, yes, I remember mine very clearly) the effects are felt ten-fold. It doesn’t surprise me that these and other kids have sought extreme solutions – it just amazes me that more kids don’t follow the same path.
So I have been heartened over the last couple of weeks, to see the “It Gets Better” campaign take root. Not just that it’s there – but the people who have joined in, and not all of them LGBTQ either. All have important messages to deliver, and all from the heart. But this one below is one of my favourites – largely because it applies not only to LGBTQ kids, but also to those of us who just grew up feeling a bit different to everyone else. The message still has meaning, even for me, today, when I’m perfectly happy and content being different.
If you have kids, share these with them, too. These are important things for us all to know.