Yesterday was the annual Day of Silence protest. Sponsored by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), the idea is simple: gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students and their straight allies spend the day in complete silence. If called on in class or spoken to in the hallways they show a card that explains they are participating in the Day of Silence to call attention to anti-homosexual bullying in schools and cannot speak at all. In a world where kids are allowed to talk over teachers in class, you’d think parents would be happy about a commitment to remain silent.
Meet the Illinois Family Institute, which described DoS as, “…Day of Silence which is intended to increase society’s affirmation of homosexuality and Gender Identity Disorder.” The American Family Institute said, “on this day, thousands of public high schools and increasing numbers of middle schools will allow students to remain silent throughout an entire day-even during instructional time-to promote GLSEN’s socio-political goals and its controversial, unproven, and destructive theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality.” Concerned Women for America said, “while wearing the mask of a “safe schools” program, this is actually a movement to silence any criticism of homosexuality. It is a homosexual activism day.” All of them supported the AFA’s assertion that DoS is “a waste of taxpayer dollars.”
Okay…I might be able to see some cause for concern with DoS, but a waste of taxpayer dollars? Exactly how does that work? How can you call a protest that amounts to nothing more than silence a waste of anything, much less money? The arguments that I read became more and more ridiculous until finally they called for parents to call their kids out of class during DoS and I just couldn’t read anymore.
What really angered me the most, though, was that these groups called the protest against anti-gay bullying “a manufactured crisis of violence upon gender-confused students.”
I blogged recently about my childhood and how I was bullied everywhere I went. It angers me that these groups would call the bullying crisis a work of fiction, something that was manufactured. I experienced it from the time I was in third grade. That was the first time a classmate called me a faggot. From then on, I had classmates in every school I went to call me every gay slur you can imagine. It wasn’t because of their religion much of the time, I don’t think. It was their ignorance. I was always fairly masculine as a kid, and nearly all of the bullying I experienced involved my peers taunting me for being gay even though at the time I denied it. Much of what was said was far too foul to add, but the most tame of the “jokes” were questions like, “are you a boy or a girl?” “Are you sure you’re a girl?” One Vietnamese kid at Webster got his kicks by walking up to me in the cafeteria and asking, “are you a lesbian?” loudly enough for the entire crowd to hear. On Valentine’s Day one year I was sent a carnation (something my school did at the time, you bought a carnation for $1 and had it sent to a student with a private note on the 14th), shocking everyone in my class. All the popular girls already had nearly a dozen by that time. The note, however, was a profane “joke” about how the boys might want me if I weren’t a faggot. This is all aside from the physical abuse that I simply took without much of a fight; I was always more afraid of getting in trouble with my parents for fighting than I was of taking a beatdown.
Manufactured? Invented? Don’t I wish.
The fact is that anti-gay bullying is as alive as it ever was. Parents, have you ever heard your kids say, “that’s sooooo gay!” when they see or hear something they deem idiotic? Do you know how they treat other kids at school? Do you know what they say when they’re surfing the web or sending 14,000+ text messages to God only knows who? Your little angels can be vicious, vile and cruel and then go to youth group on Wednesday night and pretend that they’re completely righteous. Other kids I went to church with – many of whom I also went to school with – called me faggot, queer, butch, dyke, and every foul gay slur that I can’t write here. Anti-gay bullying is hardly a figment of my imagination.
Of all the bullycides that have happened over the past few years, many surviving parents have reported that their kids were experiencing the same thing. In most cases, the kids weren’t gay or even questioning; but because they were different, the “cool” kids marked them for torture and the way kids still tear each other down is by labeling them “queer.” There is a good reason to have a protest like the Day of Silence. For you to claim that it is a waste of taxpayer money is absolutely preposterous. Yet for you to claim that the bullying doesn’t exist is almost more cruel than enduring it. Here, I have no trouble whatsoever calling you out and telling you that your behavior certainly isn’t Christ-like.
However…to be fair, as I said earlier, there is some small measure of reasoning to their belief that this protest is part of a wider push for indoctrination and even recruitment. GLSEN has a suggested reading list for pre-teens and teenagers among which are books such as “Queer 13” by Clifford Chase, which I forced myself to read after finding it on their suggested reading list for grades 7-12 and have never felt more disgusted by anything I have ever read. There are many graphic gay sex books on the list, none of which I would want available to my nieces and nephews until they’re at least in college. Then there’s the conferences they hold that include both educators and teenagers. Topics range from coming out as an elementary school teacher, incorporating sexuality into world history, including GLBT lessons in the early elementary years and a number of gay sex-ed forums where speakers have shown teenagers the proper hand positioning for fisting and described the different ways lesbians can have sex.
I have to agree with them on one thing. You have no business, nor any right, to teach those subjects. You can teach tolerance without going too far and what I’ve read of your conferences and suggested reading are absolutely astounding.
“Christians”: the next time you hear your kid say “that’s so gay” you might try engaging them in conversation about how they treat their classmates.
Fellow homosexuals: we have gone too far. As long as I am openly a lesbian I will be seen as being a part of your movement, and if that’s the way it’s going to be then I will be heard. You can teach tolerance without having to cross that line and try to shock people to the point that you’ve merely numbed their wits. World peace starts with YOU.
For more information on the most recent cases of severe anti-gay bullying: