Dead Gay Teens– I Accuse

Yeah, it’s the big front page story right now, and it doesn’t have anything to do with Sarah Palin or reality shows or Dancing with the freaking Stars.  It’s about the fact that gay teenagers are killing themselves because they can’t take the horrible pressure anymore. And they’re getting it from:

Their churches

Their elected officials

Their fellow students

Their parents

It’s reached critical mass, people. I mean, kids under sixteen are hanging themselves. HANGING themselves. I can’t imagine the feeling of despair that would lead to such an act.

MANY people in the above quarters can be named, most especially those in high places: Pope Benedict XVI with his medieval take on reality, seemingly able to overlook the fact that he is acting about as un-Christ like as one possibly could. Boyd Packer of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints– and that’s another laugh– came out mere days after Tyler Clementi’s suicide with a diatribe against gay people. How tactful was that, Mr. Packer? Is that sort of behavior going to get you through the Temple veil and onto your own planet at your glorified death, where you will be able to procreate throughout eternity with your countless wives? (It’s the biggest part of your dogma, sir.) And don’t forget the rest of the leaders of organized religion, who pander fear to their flocks so as to fill their collection baskets. Horrible, disgusting people.

And elected officials? Don’t get me started. To my eternal chagrin, I am living during a time of history when much of the political body of the United States has been hijacked by the insane religious types who think that SELECTIVE sections of the Old Testament should be used to govern the people. SELECTIVE. If they ever tried to apply the complete letter of the law, women would be scourged for wearing red and the rest of us would be sent to concentration camps for enjoying clams on the half shell. And the horrifying latest: a gay teenager at the Norman, Oklahoma city council session deciding whether or not to declare October as Gay History Month in town kills himself after witnessing many of his fellow citizens basically saying that he and his ilk didn’t deserve to live in America in pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Way to go! Nice Christians, eh? (Yet the measure passed… ) 

The “bullies” we hear so much about– have they been taught that this is WRONG? Where are the parents? What have had to teach their kids about basic decency? In many cases, apparently NOTHING. So many of these parents are intent on acting like eighteen-year-olds themselves… so I’m not surprised. I’m sorry, but everyone seems to want to pas the bully blame onto the schools. But kids go FROM home TO school. They should be better prepared in how to treat their fellow men! But yes, schools should be held 100% responsible when action is NOT taken, even after one complaint.

(And not that she was gay, but that poor dead girl in Ohio who was STILL made fun of in her coffin by the girls who bullied her to death– I hope, somehow, she will be able to watch as the lot of them are horse-whipped in the town square.)

And what of parents who decide to throw their gay children out into the streets? It happens, over and over. Rather than love their children, they succumb to some crackpot religious or political theory, and their kids end up lost in so many ways: lost, helpless, on drugs, perhaps even dead. THIS is parenting? These parents need to be 100% culpable– this is child abuse at its most heinous. Parents like this need to be hauled in and made accountable.

And the rest of us… how many of us just watch? I’m thankful for those of us who love unconditionally: the people, gay and straight, who build the help centers and march in the parades and reach out and try to LEARN. These people are COOL. Those little fundamentalist congregations marching against their OWN children? Not cool. Major religions swimming in their own decadence, yet loudly proclaiming who is or isn’t going to heaven or hell? Not cool. There’s so much NOT cool… yet there’s a lot that IS cool. There is hope.

 Personally, I’ve tried. I don’t hand myself medals, but I’ve helped the gay community in many ways over the years. But besides helping to establish a community center in Orlando, and donating a lot of volunteer man hours, I’m proudest that I was able to help two young men with issues as they were teenagers. And it wasn’t anything extraordinary that I did– but I listened, and I coached when asked, and I tried to comfort. And I need to do more. I applaud Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign, because that is exactly the line I used years ago with these young people. And did you see Fort Worth councilman Joel Burns’ plea? You should not miss this:

Gay teens need more role models like him. I am grateful for people like Joel’s parents, who loved him unconditionally. I’m grateful to my Mom and family, and I’m sure my Dad would have been just as cool had we ever talked about it. (That’s another story.) I just wish– I wish– that there were a lot more people to be grateful to, and that these people voted and drove the haters and the religious crazies from office.

Innocent kids are dying, and I’m angrier than I’ve ever been. I am truly sick and tired of the “gay issues” mire that has engulfed the people of this country, when the real crimes are being committed by the very people who profess to be in charge of our spiritual and political welfare.

Things HAVE TO CHANGE. It’s time. No more. Enough with the dead kids, and enough with the rest of us standing idly by in shock when it happens. It’s time to hold people accountable for the deaths that are caused due to abuses by the churches, the politicians, the bullies, and the parents.

Enough is enough. Now, what do we have to do to stop this?—save-their-lives–a294775






9 responses

  1. Jim, you are one of the finest people I’ve ever known, and I am so proud to be your friend. I am the mother of a gay young woman, and I am so proud of who she is and all she has accomplished. Three words in your excellent essay jumped out as what we need to do as responsible adults whenever a child – gay or straight – is being bullied: Listen, Coach, Comfort. I am going to help you spread the word.

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  3. Amen. What is it going to take for our society to bring civility back as a virtue? Too many present-day rightwingers seem downright proud to flaunt their hatred and intolerance. This “trend” is destructive and, as you have pointed out here, potentially lethal. For the first time in my life, I am truly afraid for this country. People like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh–all hate mongers–foster and inflame these attitudes. When I was a kid, I was taught hatred was a bad thing–what the f–k happened?

    I’m with you, Jim. It’s time for a renewed activism. Citizens should be marching in the streets in displays of unity against the agents of hate that are threatening to “take our country back.” They want to return to the 1950s when kids ate baloney on Wonder bread, white males ruled, women stayed home and popped out babies, African Americans drank from separate water fountains and gay men and women remained in their rightful place–in the closet. The fact that these current haters have formed a political party that is about to make major gains in the U.S. Congress is frightening. Again, what is it going to take for people to wake up?

    Bravo, Jim, for your passion for humanity. I hope you will continue to blog about this subject.

  4. Thank you, Patricia! Odd that most all the few (Facebook) comments I received came from people who are NOT gay… interesting !! Why is that?
    Thanks again… and keep fighting the good fight !

  5. Jimmy, I agree with your article 100%! When I was growing up in the 70s Christianity still appeared to me as a force for good. Then the “Moral Majority” came out of the woodwork and all of a sudden Christianity became a force of right-wing reaction and totalitarian busybodiness. Now that religion is almost nothing but sheer unadulterated hate for me and my kind. What happened to the Christians??? And it’s thanks to them that I had to prove the basis of my own faith, and found it utterly disproven. So much so, I now consider myself an Athiest.

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