It has to stop right fucking now.
It has to.
Someone has to tell these kids who think it’s cute to harass gay kids to fucking knock it off. There has to be consequences for this and it can’t just be a “oh well, I guess we’ll give them a dorm demerit” or some fucking stupid thing. It can’t be an “invasion of privacy” suit that will almost certainly result in probation, if anything.
It has to be severe.
It has to say, “You do this and we will penalize you so fucking badly that you will wish you had died as a child.”
It has to be on par with our penalties for hate crimes.
It has to demonstrate that we, as a society, view things like this as being no less vitriolic than race-based hatred or gender-based hatred.
It has to.
Someone needs to tell high schools, universities and colleges that they need to put forth stronger and stronger initiatives to stop this kind of thing from happening. It’s not good enough to have an “awareness week” every so often that tells people that “the gays” won’t give you “the cooties” and then lets the campus move on to “left-handed dentists named Ted awareness week.” There needs to be a comprehensive plan for eliminating hatred on campus, akin to Dan Savage’s approach.
It has to tell people that we are serious about how we treat one another.
It has to help break a trend in which gay, bisexual and transgendered teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. Data suggests that for every suicide, there are between 100 and 200 attempts.
It has to be something that doesn’t coddle the offenders but doesn’t infantilize those perceived as different.
It has to.
Someone needs to tell the media to stop writing shit stupid stories that start like a fucking Seinfeld routine about airline peanuts. This isn’t a trend story, asshole. There’s not a critical mass of dead gay kids that have to crop up before we start viewing this as serious. One kid is enough, gay, straight, black, white, whatever. How many do you need before you stop writing about Lindsey Lohan going to jail of which Hollywood twerp Jennifer Anniston is blowing this week?
A story on this needs to examine the underlying causes of the problem and provide information from people who know something and can give us answers, even if those answers are incomplete.
It has to go beyond the three phone calls you make to get the coroner’s official cause of death, the university PR twit’s “We are heartbroken” bullshit line they’ve got as a MSWord macro on their keyboard and a quote from a kid who sat near the victim in econ class and “didn’t know him all that well.”
It has to show over and over again that this isn’t just a random set of events, leading to the suicide of an unstable kid.
It has to follow the public health model of journalism that got us vaccines, automobile safety and higher-order crime reporting.
It has to provide value.
It has to.
Someone needs to tell these kids, kids like Tyler Clementi, kids like Raymond Chase, kids like Seth Walsh, kids like Billy Lucas and all the other kids who feel like they need to die just to stop the dervish of horror that it will get better.
They need to know that there are assholes everywhere and that high school sucks for everyone.
They need to know that someone, somewhere is going through exactly what they are and that it will not always be this bad.
They need to understand that they are stronger than they think they are.
They need to feel the power of persistence, the power of defiance and the power of self.
They need to know that they are not alone.
They need to know that we all need them here and we need them alive.
Someone has to do this.
I have to. You have to.
We all have to.