Sadly in the United States hate crimes against gay people continue. Just today Tyler Clementi of New Jersey committed suicide because he was "outed". Last week Seth Walsh of Texas committed suicide because he was taunted by his junior high school classmates.

Recent studies show that nine out of ten gay kids are harrassed and gay kids are four times more likely to commit suicide than straight kids. Blame it on outdated religious principles, blame it on the political right, blame it on conservatives of whatever sort but no matter where we place the blame - injury to another person for whatever reason is wrong.

I am fortunate to know about the presence of the Gay-Straight Student Alliance that exists at Albuquerque High School. I hope that exists in every one of our junior high and high schools. I am also aware of the LBGT Student Union on the UNM campus. And here in Albuquerque we have Common Bond and many other venues for the LBGTQ community & their friends. These are great organizations that teach acceptance and celebrate diversity.

But there are so many who never make it safely into these groups either because they are scared of family & friends, shamed by their religious traditions, bullied by their peers, or simply unaware that safe havens exist. "Tolerance" is not acceptance; tolerance promotes policies like Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which are neither healthy nor honest.

While so much violence is perpetrated on the LBGTQ community in our nation and around the world I can say that at least here in Albuquerque there are great strides to make us a truly diverse and accepting city.

A word of advice - if you think some young person is coming into their identity as a gay, lebsbian, bisexual, transgendered, transexual, queer person please don't chastise him or her. Simply love and support him or her and help this person to find good and safe places so they can discern and come to a loving and valued sense of self.

So while people mourn again over senseless deaths we can find hope that It Gets Better.

http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject

Views: 19

Comment by Rich Boucher on October 1, 2010 at 8:55am
"Simply love and support him or her and help this person to find good and safe places so they can discern and come to a loving and valued sense of self." - Amen to that, Vince. Good post!
Comment by JJinNM on October 1, 2010 at 9:04am
Good post Vince. Thank you for reminding us all of the importance for simply letting our children know that we love and value them as they are.
Comment by mombat on October 1, 2010 at 10:00am
The Tyler Clementi case to me is not just about support for guy youth , but also about the lack ethics around current technology.

When I was in high school someone could make some phone calls or talk to people or pass some notes to spread personal information. Now within in minutes everyone you know can have access to this information. Maybe you don't care if your friends know, but your parents and grandparents? all of your teachers? your boss?
My heart goes out to this family and hope this case is able to set a precedent.
Comment by vinceinburque on October 1, 2010 at 10:05am
Good article. Thanks.

The concluding lines in the Journal's article speak to the suicide issue:

"...children can face a crisis anytime that can trigger strong emotions, he said. School districts and public health agencies need to continue efforts to provide education, counseling and crisis intervention services that can help a child weather difficult periods, he (Dr. Alfredo Vigil) said."
Comment by vinceinburque on October 1, 2010 at 10:06am
@Granjero My apology. My comment was unfairly board.
Comment by James Wilson on October 1, 2010 at 2:06pm
What will Rutgers do? They are waiting, I read, to even comment. I would have kicked that little p___— Ravi and his little girl friend right out into the streets.
I suspect that it just happened that this kid who was videoed was "gay" A child like Ravi would have found another target for his evil and immature acts.

This goes way beyond some gay issue. It has more to do with a self-centered, me first attitude, a bully nature, a lack of manners and respect for others, poor if any good parenting, ad nauseum. This kid Ravi, in my opinion, is not ready for life much less college.

There is too much of this. Last year it was a little girl in New England; Phoebe Prince. The other day it was a little 8 year old who was being bullied and blew his brains out. I read and inquire, there seems to be a pervasive lack of concern and respect for others. Children are being bullied from grade one. The public schools, across the nation, say they have a "zero-tolerance," policy. If so, it is not working. Yes, it does come back to parent or parents. In today's society we need both the singular and plural form. By the way, the school that the little boy attended says, contrary to what his parents are saying, that they were never notified. Denial will not help, it will hinder any potential resolution and fix for this daily destructive problem.

The only group that I know of who has been trying to reach parents and professionals is Focus Adolescent Services. I have been told that they average One Million Visitors A Month to their web site. Their councilors take over 1000 telephone calls a week, from parents in need of help. They do this for free. They also, I understand, refuse any dollars from the taxpayers either local, state, or federal. They depend on people like you and me to send them a dollar from time to time. Yes, less than the cost of a lousy cup of coffee.

Watch and read, people will polarize this and say every thing under the sun rather than speak to the point. Point; they will point to all things unrelated and make it political, religious, racial, and on and on. I can guarantee this.

In the mean time, I am sending what I can to Focus Adolescent Services in the name of Tyler Clementi, Phobe Prince, the 8 year old kid, and who ever hits the news today.
Comment by jes on October 1, 2010 at 4:57pm
Bullying has never been taken seriously enough. "They're just being kids." Excuse me, they're being assholes and someone ought to take them in hand and supply education and discipline. I wonder how many who haven't gone so far as to commit suicide had to work through deep wounds left by bullying.
Comment by bg on October 1, 2010 at 7:14pm
These tragedies are part of all of us. I recall with horror some things I did in junior high school. We all have to advocate for people who are treated badly. Some people are just not very nice, but we can all do more to support people around us who are suffering from the slings and arrows of life, especially if they come from unkindness.
Comment by Barelas Babe on October 1, 2010 at 11:19pm
@Granjero - can you say some more about people being taught to be victims? This is a new concept to me and I'm trying to wrap my head around it. An example or two might help. I've always thought that a victim was one who was subjected to circumstances (i.e. cancer victim, victim of political oppression), so the idea that one might be taught to be a victim is puzzling.
Comment by hettie on October 2, 2010 at 12:01am
"We accepted responsibility for actions and only after that were there any discussions about "rights". "

I'm not sure how this is related to kids being picked on and, in way too many documented instances, physically attacked for being gay. I was fortunate to grow up with parents who made it clear that as long as I treated people with respect, I had the right to expect the same. so I don't understand where, in the scheme of being the person who feels most real or true to oneself, a kid who is gay has to "accept responsibility for actions"? it sort of sounds as if you mean that being gay, simply being who one is, isn't a right. but maybe I'm reading your subtext incorrectly. can you explain what you mean in the context of the story of this young man?

I'd ask the same of granjero, who seems to imply that the young man who killed himself simply didn't have parents who taught him to be "more than just [a] victim in life." as bb asks above, what do you consider a victim? if a woman is attacked and raped, does that mean she just has the wrong attitude toward life? or maybe her parents didn't raise her right?

I think what vince was saying with his generalizations is that there are many young people who live with an enormous load of fear that they will be "found out" as gay. there are places in our country where that is simply unacceptable. and the beliefs and social strictures that make kids feel as though killing themselves is better than being gay come from somewhere--they don't just materialize out of the ether. in many, many communities that fear of being "other" or "sinful" comes from religious figures and/or political figures at the conservative end of the political spectrum. I'd be interested to hear an argument to the contrary.

vince may have used a broad brush, but what he said is not inaccurate. hate towards people on the lgbtq spectrum doesn't come from the political left or liberal religious theology. what's actually offensive is that there are people who spend their time hating--sometimes publicly and vocally, sometimes physically and violently--people who are simply living their lives.

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