Being gay is not a crime. It is not a sin. It is not a sickness that can be ‘cured’ and it is not a choice than can be made. It is just a fact, like having brown hair instead of blond, blue eyes instead of brown.
Kenneth James Weishuhn was 14 years old when he committed suicide. But he didn’t just jump, he was pushed, by other teenagers who bullied him until dying was better than staying alive.
Why was Kenneth bullied? Because he admitted to being gay. Some small minded, homophobic teenager objected to this and the feeding frenzy began. I’ve seen kids do it in general chat on mmo’s like WoW and Aion. Someone picks on someone else. That someone else can’t fight back effectively and then suddenly all the others realise that here is someone who is vulnerable and they go in for the kill. It may only be a verbal frenzy but it is ugly. And now I know it is much more than that. It is a part of the culture we have allowed to flourish both online and off. A culture of hate that may start with the parents. Or perhaps it starts at church on Sunday when a man of god thunders about the sin of sodomy. But the worst part is that the rest of us just look away, pretending that we hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Yet by not speaking out we are condoning a great big evil called deliberate, willful cruelty.
Cruelty killed Kenneth James Weishuhn and it’s time we stopped averting our eyes. It’s time we stopped telling ourselves that it’s not our business. It is our business. We helped create this culture of anything goes and we helped make it possible for bullies to flourish. But what we create we can undo. If we have the will.
The first step is to do what the organizers of the Kony protest did – start a wave of protest and make it so big that it cannot be ignored. Protest online using your blogs. Protest on FB. Protest on Twitter. Protest in the supermarket and protest in your church.
Most of all, the next time you see ANYONE bullying someone else, at any age, say something. Shame them. Make them realise that they cannot do something cruel and get away with it. Show them how small and pathetic they are. Show them that bullying has consequences for them, not just for their victims. And if enough of us fight on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves perhaps we will give them the strength to stand up to these cretins. Or if they can’t fight perhaps they will gain enough strength to keep living until they can fight back.
Our children are our future. We need them all, the straights and the gays, the strong and the weak. But there is one thing we do not need and that is the cruel. Cruelty is an evil seed that just keeps on growing. Cruelty leads to bullying and bullying leads to death. It has to stop. Today.
Declare war on bullying and save a life.