From the Archive: Why Are “The Gays” So Special Anyway?

Originally posted (elsewhere) December 12, 2010

I have found myself engaged in numerous conversations, of late, in which I have felt compelled to defend the idea that LGBTQIA+ suicides, and the bullying that often leads to them deserve special attention.

The fact is, all bullying is abhorrent. No matter the cause. This campaign simply attempts to shed light on one specific facet.

This country has a very short attention span. We seem to move on from one issue to the next without ever really solving them.

Being bullied for being an outsider has been addressed. Am I the only one who remembers the coverage after the Columbine High School tragedy?  Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 15 people and injured 24 others, purportedly as a result of being bullied.  There was great attention paid to bullying, and the ‘outsider’ status.  (I happened to catch a little bit of a break from being bullied in the immediate aftermath.)  The media attention focused on these teens as having been part of a small band of outsiders known as the ‘Trenchcoat Mafia.’

While we have no statistics on the incidence of suicide attempts among those wearing black trenchcoats to school, it has been shown (and I just went back and looked over my stats on this one) that LGBT youth (especially males, and those rejected by their parents say at least some of the numbers) Have a significantly elevated suicide risk. The numbers show differences of 300% to over 800% among the various demographics evaluated, as opposed to their non-LGBT counterparts.

Here’s the thing, though. As a member of the LGBT community myself, I think it is fair to say that many of us would be the first to stand up against the bullying of trenchcoat wearers. I would buy the tee shirt…attend the rally…call my elected representatives.

The bullying of any one minority is an offense against us all. Perhaps that is the real lesson. Call it Gay, call it Trenchcoat Mafia, call it Little Rock Nine. We all suffer when any one suffers. The idea of using our differences to divide is hardly a new one. But, rest assured…whatever the next group to be singled out is….I will be there to resist.

“They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

-Martin Niemöller

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