‘This is why we need a GSA’

When bullies tear down notices for meetings of one Wisconsin school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, they find a message underneath just for them: “Stop! THIS is why we need a GSA.”

A 2003 National School Climate Survey performed by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (results of the 2007 survey will be available soon) found a “direct link between at-school harassment and the declining grade-point averages and college aspirations of LGBTQ students.”

“It’s really simple: If you don’t feel safe at school, you can’t learn — you’re thinking about the next insult, the next throw against the locker,” says Brian Juchems, program director for GSAs for Safe Schools.

Or, you hang yourself with a scarf.

UK teen hangs self after anti-gay bullying

British 14-year-old Belinda Allen committed suicide because of gay taunting at her school, London’s Daily Mail reported.

Allen’s body was found in Southwater, in West Sussex county. Investigators said she had tied a scarf around her neck and hanged herself from a tree.

While it is unknown whether Allen was gay, she had been continually bullied over her choice in clothes and called names like “lesbian” and “dyke” by her peers at Tanbridge House School in Horsham, West Sussex.

Allen’s suicide is not the only such incident. Last year an 11-year-old boy, Ben Vodden, at the same school, hanged himself from his bunk bed using his shoelaces.

In December, British government officials urged schools to create anti-bullying programs to protect LGBT students, saying that homophobia would not be tolerated. (The Advocate)

Two suicides in one year. The “adults” in charge of this school must be the same breed as this one.

A Gay-Straight Alliance at this school would have provided this young woman with somewhere to go for support, and a group of allies to intervene with her harassers. And that’s exactly what the morally bankrupt bullies behind Focus on the Family’s “Citizen Link” are so afraid of. Incredibly, they claim that these real threats to the lives of real children don’t exist (such as the Barbara Curtis characterization “no more than routine verbal insults”) – and then engage in pathetic mewling about the non-existent “problem” of where other people go to the bathroom.

Here they are yapping about the recent expansion of New Jersey’s hate crimes law:

Caleb H. Price, research analyst for Focus on the Family, said the New Jersey legislation is not necessary.

“Not only is there no need for adding the category of ‘gender identity or expression’,” he said, “but this category is inherently ambiguous and unlimited – and is subject to an ever-morphing understanding of a person’s ‘perceptions’ about their biological gender.”

Quinlan said the bill puts families, particularly women and children, in danger.

“What is the protection from these people going into a restroom where they identify themselves as a different gender, yet they’re using the facilities at the same time you are?” he said. “It’s exposing children – an unintended consequence of the law.”

The legislation also creates a Commission on Bullying in Schools, which has nine months to investigate and make recommendations to the governor.

“New Jersey already has anti-bullying laws in place,” Quinlan said, “but the bullying commission is set up to be totally sexually oriented.” [Perhaps this is because they have found the bullying to be largely sexually oriented.]

The bill is on Corzine’s desk.

“The people of New Jersey have got to stand up,” Quinlan said. “It’s time to speak up.”

The people of New Jersey have spoken up, Mr. Quinlan. Given that they support marriage equality or civil unions by 80%, I imagine that they find your promotion of anti-gay bullying to be as disgusting and inexcusable as I do.

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One Response to ‘This is why we need a GSA’

  1. David says:

    One more thing – notice that the harassment was focused on this student’s gender expression, not her sexual orientation. This is very often the case with gay bashing and discrimination – the individual is targeted because of others’ interpretation of their gender non-conformity, not knowledge of their orientation. This is only one reason that anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies that don’t explicitly refer to “perceived orientation” and/or gender identity and expression are inadequate.

    Legislators currently in Richmond and those of us intending to speak with them need to take note of this.