Thursday, 3 November 2011

Why we need a campaign against anti-GBLT bullying

So, Michigan has passed a “bullying is bad but bullying GBLT kids is a-ok, here's how to do it” bill (there's a vid at the source featuring Senator Gretchen Whitmer doing a splendid and emotional slap down of this fuckery).

Basically, it's a law against bullying – unless totally justified by religion! And that's not coded language at all, is it? Afterall, it's not the exact same excuse that bigots are using to undercut everything from marriage equality to discrimination laws, is it? But the religious have a right to hate! How can you possibly oppress their hatred!?

So, if you're a vicious little arsehole bullying GBLT kids until they kill themselves, this law won't stop you. And if, by the slightest possible chance, you do actually find a teacher who is willing to act against your vicious homophobia and transphobia, don't worry, just claim the Bible (or religious text of choice) says you can be a vile little bigotry and the law gives you an instant loophole! After all, the right of hateful religious types to drive us to our graves is far more important than the rights of GBLT youth to, y'know, live.

This is a classic example of straightness taking the reigns and how we're so quickly cast aside.

And this is exactly why we need to push for GBLT anti-bullying provisions. This is the very reason why GBLT people need our own bullying campaign and one that acknowledges that there are specific problems when dealing with anti-GBLT bullying – not least of which is the justification and excuses from organised religion, state and authority figures – and the outright banning of intervention from those who do care. From section 28, to Tennessee's “don't say gay” (do say, Takei, though) law, to Anonka-Hennepin's “neutrality” position to GSAs being banned in all Ottawa Catholic schools - there's a concerted effort to deny any possibility of help or positive reinforcement for bullied GBLT youth (or GBLT people in general)

When movements like the It Gets Better project (and other, similar, projects) started as well as the numerous tragic news stories of the straight, cis media finally paying attention to what we knew was constantly happening because of gross homophobia and transphobia; several privileged, homophobic, straight, cis folks lost their shit that the GBLT community had DARED to focus on a major problem affecting our community. In privilege, they screamed at something that wasn't about them and how we should instead be focused on all bullying (i.e. straight, cis victims) and never mind the specific problems that afflicts us, never mind that there were specific weapons being used against us that they knew (or cared) nothing about.

Rather than set up their own campaigns or push for more campaigns, they decided to lash out at GBLT people who dared to do something to try and protect our youth while the straight, cis world – THEIR world – actively hindered us (even now you get It Gets Better videos from people saying “hey, I'm not going to talk about GBLT people, but I'm going to use your campaign to talk about me and my issue instead! How dare you guys have something for GBLT people!”)

Well, this right here, is why we need to address anti-GBLT bullying specifically, why we need to look at the unique elements of GBLT bullying and why straight, cis people whining that we dare to look at this and fight this should not only check their privilege, but stuff their prejudice as well.