Thursday, November 3, 2011
Please Pretend You're Straight Until College- A Texan Mom Blogger's Solution to Gay Bullying.
Where to start? Gawker's ingenious in many ways because it often turns its readership onto the blatant stupid that gets published in other parts of the bloggosphere. I offer this link in a catastrophically sad case in point. TexasSparkle is mad as H-E double toothpicks about gay teen suicides...and she's got the following advice: Stay in the closet, because kids can be mean and it'd be easier to just not talk about it. Because, obviously you can't know who you're attracted to because you're just a kid.
The above blogger misses the point by a country mile at best, when she decides that the answer to bullying is not say....the bullying and the social punishment that comes with the stigmas associated with being gay... and instead about kids who don't know anything being deciding to label themselves "gay" prematurely. Which is just stupidity personified. (Especially if one knows anything about "fag shaming"- one doesn't have to be out to be shamed or bullied for "unmasculine" behavior)
Its wrongheaded beyond comprehension to blame the victim and suggest "Gosh, if only you didn't stand out so much, you'd feel better and everyone would like you more!" Not only is it sadly cynical to say there's nothing that can be done to change the culture, so keep your head down and deny yourself to make it easier. Its lazy and takes the onus of responsibility fully away from parents and educators and the overarching community to try to improve the culture that is crushing these children, and instead imply that its better to have to hide. Because obviously we can't expect (younger) people to be treated equally and held accountable for their conduct.
There's so much wrong with the commentary here it almost pains me to dissect it further. How she pretends to be well intentioned while taking about the least thoughtful view on sexual orientation I've seen since Jerry Fallwell. Sure, she's not an outright homophobe, but the very idea that even discussing the idea that gay teenagers exist perpetuates the problem is empty and false. The problem, much the way abstinence only education policy have unfortunate effects, is that NOT discussing them serves the larger group and leaves an already victimized group further isolated. So yes, the "It Gets Better" campaign is far superior to suggesting that gay kids would be better off if they just didn't think about dating while all their heterosexual counterparts suffer no penalty.
The simplest point is that her idea that being gay is "all about sex" is so outdated (and insulting) its practically primordial. The purest, most innocent connections to attraction (be it emotional or sexual) associated with dating and relationships begin when we're moving into adolescence. The blogger in question feels perfectly fine with perpetuating the notion that its fine for straight kids to have functional normal relationships with intimacy and crushes but for the love of god keep your head down if you're "conflicted" about your sexuality before being an adult. If she can't comprehend how alienating and lonely that prospect might be, and how little that serves to address the problem, I'm at a loss how to clue her into this novel concept called empathy.