Future generations will look back on this one and think that we are all batshit crazy… the way we think it’s crazy that people used to be beaten and killed for being left-handed. There are even other similarities. For older left-handed folks, how many of you were forced to learn to write with your right hand even though your left hand was what felt natural? How many of you who were forced to learn to write right-handed stayed with it past high school? For every person who has ever said, “I don’t really hate gay people, I just disagree with their lifestyle. I love the sinner, and hate the sin…” put your goddamned rhetoric behind you and stop KILLING CHILDREN. Fuck your feelings. I’ll clean up my language when every last gay kid is safe. I’m sure that your argument isn’t that these kids were bullied into killing themselves, they chose to. You’re wrong, and you know it. Juries acquit women for killing their husbands due to Battered Wife Syndrome. Military families take months to regroup when a soldier comes home shocked and disoriented from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Is it so unimaginable that a child, with his/her brain not fully developed, would take those messages of hate and internalize them so that they think killing themselves is their only option?
This kid was 14 years old. FOURTEEN. He never got to drive a car, sip a beer with buddies, vote for the President. He’ll never take someone to the prom. He’ll never meet a man with cute glasses who wants to buy matching towels and small dogs.
This is absolutely insane, and if you think I’m mad about it, you’re right. There is no reason why bullying should lead to post traumatic stress disorder. There is no reason for a child to become a statistic. And if you’ve ever said anything about Christianity and homosexuality not being compatible, you have HELPED. You have spread the message to your own sons and daughters that being gay is wrong or bad- you have shades of gray… your children don’t. They take your messages of self-righteous but mild-in-tone segregation of good and evil and turn it into kids being shoved into lockers, beaten to a bloody pulp, and in a lot of cases, rape.
I was bullied myself all through school. I was lucky in that I had a woman I could trust- my own personal “It Gets Better” campaign. But these kids didn’t, and they’ll never know that for every day of absolute hell that is high school, there’s a joyous day of celebration with the one you love when you find them.
I’ve been rough in this essay, and I know it. But for the Evangelicals in my Friends list, you’ve got to know what you’re setting your children up to do to other children when they’re in school. You’ve got to teach them about the love and compassion of Christ, and stop dwelling on the jealous and angry God of the Old Testament. The more you do, the more you give your children ammunition to beat the crap out of someone else. And someday, someone’s going to put it together that bullying causes post traumatic stress disorder and it will cause a prima facie landmark decision that will legally find you responsible if your kid murders another one.
It will happen, and until then, I will be as rough as I need to be, because there is no excuse for a dead child. None.
Good night, sweet James. I want to send you home with the song that carried me through high school.