Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rick Mercer rants against anti-gay bullying

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Seeing as I don’t exactly keep track of Canadian pop culture much, all I know about Rick Mercer (who’s show I caught once or twice some years back) is that he’s something of our version of Stephen Colbert, though with a bit less persona. But one gimmick of his I do still enjoy now and again is his recurring “Rick’s Rant” segment, and this recent one on the subject of gay teen suicide and homophobic bullying is definitely worth sharing around:

My transcript: (click the [+/-] to expand/collapse →) []

Every year in this country, 300 kids take their own lives. It is a mind-boggling number, and this past week, one of those kids was Jamie Hubley. He was 15, he was depressed, and he happened to be gay. And because this is 2011, we just don’t read about a kid like Jamie; we can Google him. And then, the next thing you know, you’re sitting at home, watching his videos on YouTube.

And he was gay, all right. He was a great, big, goofy gay kid singing Lady Gaga on the Internet. And as an adult, you look at that and you go, ‘You know what? That kid’s going places.’ But for some reason, some kids, they looked at that, and they attacked. And now, he’s gone.

And because this story is all too familiar, we know exactly what’s gonna happen next. Grief counselors will go into the school, as they should. But what about the old-fashioned assembly? You know, where the cops show up and there’s hell to pay, and they find out who’s responsible? You know, like when the lunchroom is vandalized? Because the kids who bullied this boy, they know who they are, and more importantly, other kids know who they are.

It’s no longer good enough for us to tell kids who are different that it’s gonna get better. We have to make it better now. That’s every single one of us, every teacher, every student, every adult has to step up to the plate. And that’s gay adults, too. Because I know gay cops, soldiers, athletes, cabinet ministers; a lot of us do. But the problem is, adults – we don’t need role models. Kids do.

So, if you’re gay and you’re in public life, I’m sorry, you don’t have to run around with a pride flag and bore the hell out of everyone, but you can’t be invisible. Not anymore. Three hundred kids is 300 too many.

I think he makes an excellent point: As an adult, even if you don’t go around participating in pride parades (which I personally find rather silly and even somewhat counterproductive, anyway), the very least you could do to make this a better world for LGBT youths is to not remain invisible and silent when injustice is taking place. You don’t have to launch a blog to speak out against homophobia. Who knows how much harm could be prevented if only bullies were told to knock it off every now and then, rather than being allowed to run around with impunity under the false and destructive notion that bullying is just a normal part of childhood. It fucking isn’t. Bullying is abuse, and as long as people actually defend it, nothing will ever change.

Every step in the direction of acceptance and equality is one that’s needed.

(via Joe. My. God.)