My brother sent me a link to something which led me to search for something else which led me to yet something else. Amazing thing, this Internet.
Bro sent me a link to Fagbug.com, a site dedicated to a victim of a (mild form of) hate crime. Erin Davies had her car vandalized because she had a rainbow sticker on it. No other reason. They wrote “fag” and “u r gay” on her Volkswagen Beetle. Hence the “fagbug” term. She got mad (yes!) and drove around the US and parts of Canada with the graffiti still on the car. There’s a documentary about her journey, some cool stickers, and some t-shirts to support anti-hate crime groups.
What got me on a search was that her car was vandalized on the 11th Annual National Day of Silence (2007). One, I hate it when I hear about ‘day/year/month of’ events the day after, at the end of the month, or near the end of the year. Two, that day was the ELEVENTH and I’d never ever heard of it. So I looked it up. The National Day of Silence (it is April 16th this year) is geared toward schools to stop verbal and physical bullying toward LGBT kids.
The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year the event has grown, now with hundreds of thousands of students coming together to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.
That site (and it’s great!) led me to Think Before You Speak. This site is dedicated to word usage that is degrading to others. Such as using words like ‘fag’ and ‘dyke’ and phases such as ‘that’s so gay’. I’d heard that phrase many times but wasn’t sure what it meant exactly. I knew it wasn’t a good thing but it wasn’t an all out bad thing either. They have some public service announcements that make it clear just what it means. My fave is the one with Wanda Sykes. They also have doohickeys to add to websites and posters you can download. I like the posters a lot, especially the That’s so “Cheerleader who can’t like, say smart stuff” one. (posters are at the bottom of the page)
Frankly, it is about time something is done about bullying in school. Because it has always happened, it’s just become accepted, a kind of rite of passage. Except some kids don’t make it through. Some kids, like Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover can’t take it anymore and commit suicide. At age 11, Carl hung himself. Eleven years old. Think about that. Any time an 11 yr old kid kills himself because he was being daily bullied and humiliated, that ain’t normal. It should never be accepted. Sadly, Carl wasn’t the only one. There were at least four other middle school age kids who committed suicide due to constant bullying.
You a kid? Stop bullying. When you see someone doing it or suffering it, step in. Yeah, you’ll get bullied, too, but now there’s two of you. Talk to your friends and soon there’ll be more of you. Make it stop. It is easier to stop bullying than it is to attend a funeral.
You an adult? What the fuck are we doing? Carl’s mom repeatedly talked to the school, trying to get them to do something about the bullying. Nothing was ever done. Carl had to die to make it stop. We need to talk to our kids, our nieces and nephews, our neighbors, our friends’ kids. We need to make them aware that bullying isn’t good for anyone. It doesn’t matter if a kid is being bullied because they are small or because they are Hispanic or fat or smart or dumb or whatever. Feeling belittled for whatever reason feels the same.