Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Canada, Bullies, and the Silence that Kills

These are some of the gay kids who died  in the last two weeks in the United States.

Casualties of the war on homosexuality.

Homophobia is now not only affecting the day-to-day lives of homosexuals, but it is taking away their lives...Seeing no other option out of the intense and real emotions they feel trapped within, they end their lives – leaving the LGTBQ community and its supporters grasping at straws, trying to find a way to help stop the hate.

In New York last night, thousands gathered to let other gay kids know that they are not alone, and that they are loved.

Other rallies have been held all over the U.S. The media is full of stories about the problem. And a YouTube site is sending out the message that it does get better.

Meanwhile in Canada, where bullying is also a huge problem.  

High schools are "the land that time forgot" in the ongoing battle to eradicate homophobia, laments University of Winnipeg education and communications Prof. Catherine Taylor.

"It's a non-issue for so many people these days. They don't recognize how bad the situation is for so many people. Kids are being tormented and terrorized, and very little is being done about it," she said.

Nothing. Rien. Nada. Even though bullies infest our schools, our sports, and our politics.

I'd like to think it's all the fault of the Harper regime, whose hatred for gay people is so intense they have never done ANYTHING to fight bullying in Canada. Never funded ONE  public service announcement. Just pleasured their rabid religious base who don't care who they hurt or kill. 

But sadly it's more than that. It's a generalized indifference to gay issues, all over the country. In the media. Even in the progressive blogosphere.

In the last few years I think I have written more than ninety per cent of the posts on bullying in our schools. And still I feel guilty for not doing enough. Because if you want to build a gentler, kinder, society where DO you start? 

When my gentle brother Mark tried to get something going with this story.

It went nowhere. You could count the number of people who wrote about it on the fingers of one hand.

Or hear the silence, like the sound of crickets on this satirical website.

Or the silence of the bullied dead. Who nobody even tried to help.

Passively standing by will only lead to more tragic deaths of talented LGBTQ students – whether openly identifying as gay or not – and I, for one, am not willing to let that happen. Remember those who have perished this month alone. Do not forget that many more individuals like them are out there, silently suffering. Extend a word, a hand, a hug. Speak up. Act out. Let’s end homophobia.

What happened Canada? How did you become so old and callous? 

Our poor country.

Our poor children...


Marissa said...

When my gentle brother Mark tried to get something going with this story.

The link you posted here doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

Received info about this from my niece. We lost her uncle to AIDs.
I noticed she posted on Facebook, too. I'll send her this; she knows I support what she's doing but she lives in a closed-minded rural community and gets discouraged.
Thank you for your continued strength, Simon.

Simon said...

hi Marissa...Ugh...thanks for pointing that out. I was so tired when I wrote that post I must have clipped the link. And one reason I wrote it was because I wanted to give another mention to Mark's project. Oh well. More proof that he's a genius and I'm an idiot. I'll have to find some way to link to that post again... ;)

Simon said...

hi anonymous...thank you...for encouraging your niece. It takes so little and it can help so much. As for me I hate any kind of bullying whether its directed at kids or seniors or whatever. So in a way I guess I also have to thank the bullies for giving me the strength to continue. As I said in the post we can't build a better, kinder, gentler world unless we defeat them...

Beijing York said...

Simon, I thought you would love to see this:


Made my heart melt.

Dan Savage is doing an excellent job with the "It Gets Better Project". It's getting major media coverage.

Beijing York said...

Damn, last link is to the overall project videos.

Here is the specific one I loved:


Simon said...

hi Beijing...thanks for that link. I just finished a post on a vigil I attended tonight. I had a YouTube lined up from a young lesbian. But I decided to use yours because I wanted to end on a happy note... :)

Tonya Callaghan said...

Hi Simon,

Thanks for this post. I just wanted to let you know that I read your blog all the time.

I know in the blogosphere there seems to be an oppressive silence regarding homophobia in schools, especially considering that you are one of the few who takes up this subject so eloquently on the net. Don't despair! You are not alone in this fight. You probably already know this, but there is an entire field of education devoted to anti-homophobia and anti-oppressive research in schools. My most recent study was published as a book under the title That's so Gay! Homophobia in Canadian Catholic Schools. If you are interested, you might wish to check it out some time.

I really appreciate all that you do to bring this topic to light in the online community. Ours is a David v. Goliath fight, but the more we raise awareness of this issue, the more likely we are to change it. So, don't feel alone in this battle. Many of us are also fighting with you on separate fronts.

Yours in solidarity,

Tonya Callaghan

Simon said...

hi Tonya...I'm extremely honoured that you read my little blog. And congratulations for writing that book. That's EXCELLENT. And I'm definitely going to buy it.
I also know that despite that horrible silence in the blogosphere, I am not alone. There are good teachers, and kids, and people like you, so although sometimes I do despair, I know I'm in good company. :)
Right now I'm practically walking on clouds, because of all the coverage the issue of bullying has received in the U.S. It's fantastis and I'm sure a lot of gay kids are feeling better, now that so many people are telling them it does get better. I saw a report on the CBC last night so who knows? Maybe Canada is next eh? Thanks again for your comment...