Friday, October 08, 2010
Seth Walsh and the Homophobic Bullies
When I read the story of Seth Walsh and how he was bullied to death, I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.
My first thought was how could anybody bully such a gentle child?
He was a gentle child, they say, who preferred to "relocate bugs" rather than kill them, who made sure his younger brother got his share of Easter eggs and who once apologized to a bed of flowers when he picked one and placed it on the grave of the family dog.
"I had no idea there was that much pain inside of him. He was a sweet kid who found the world cruel ...but he didn't understand cruelty."
Then I wondered how many kids like Seth Walsh are there in Canada ? Where bullying is a huge problem.
A kid is bullied every 20 seconds in Canada. Every day in the U.S., an estimated 20,000 students don’t go to school because they are afraid.
And not enough is being done to fight it.
Then I got angry. My head started pounding, my face turned red, and I had to go down to the basement and kick the old punching bag, and pretend I was fighting the bullies again.
Because only two things got me through high school. My ability to run faster than my enemies, martial arts, and my blind hatred for bullies.
So the last thing I needed to do was read this headline.
I have a hard time believing that if these kids had been bullied for their race, not for their sexual identities, that the adults tasked to protect them would not have reacted differently, or at the very least would have reacted at all.
Which makes me think that the kids doing the bullying are not really the ones at fault. They are simply taking their cues from adults. And the message they are receiving is that today in 2010 it may not be okay to call someone the N-word on the playground, but it is okay to call someone the F-word.
But you know what? She's right. Bullying is an adult problem. A societal problem. If you don't nip it in the bud, one day it could crawl in through your window.
In a study of more than 500 children, University of Michigan researchers discovered that children who were viewed as the most aggressive by their peers at age eight grew up to commit increasingly more serious crimes as adults. Other studies indicate that, as adults, bullies are far more likely to abuse their spouses and children.
And anti-gay bullying is a direct product of homophobia, that still spreads like syphilis, even in a place like Canada. Thanks to people like the Harper Cons and their rabid Christianist base.
Then when my anger subsided, I was just glad I attended this vigil.
Glad that they read Seth Walsh's name out, in that sea of candles, so that gentle child won't be forgotten.
Glad that we sent out the message to other suffering kids that it does get better.
And of course glad that I got to belt out my favourite message...in a country where too many adults don't care enough. And bullying is a non-story.
Wake up your humanity you LOSERS.
No more dead kids.
End the silence about homophobic violence...