What a pity the clerical leadership of the Roman Catholic Church remains silent on this issue. Did you know, though, that there was actually a time when the local clerical leadership defended efforts to make schools safe for LGBT students? Off course, in terms of articulating its official teaching on homosexuality, the clerical leadership has not been silent. And that's the problem. For as I note here, its anti-gay rhetoric and teachings contribute to and legitimize anti-gay behavior, including bullying behavior from our own Archbishop Nienstedt.
Let's face it: whether it's from an archbishop or a high school jock, bullying is dehumanizing, life-denying, and potentially death-dealing. It must stop.
You can help stop the bullying by attending and/or helping to spread the word about the two events outlined below.
When: Thursday, October 14, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Loring Park, Minneapolis, MN
We will stand together to demonstrate we are allies for those who have been bullied and vow to create safe schools for all.
Recent suicides of youth in Minnesota, Texas, Indiana, California and New Jersey have shocked a nation. These suicides of Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Transgender/Questioning or Queer youth did not occur in a vacuum. Many of these teens reported being bullied for being, or presumed to be, LGBTQ. Visible and vocal allies play a vital role in making schools safer for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We will stand together to demonstrate we are allies for those who have been bullied and vow to create safe school environs for all.
A safe atmosphere allows for a positive sense of self, which is the basis of educational achievement and personal growth. Homophobia and heterosexism undermine a healthy school climate. We understand the damaging effects these forces have on youth and adults alike. We will hold vigil for those already lost, those enduring taunts and bullying, and we will vow to be allies for LGBT/questioning or queer youth. We stand against anti-LGBTQ name-calling, gender slurs, bullying and harassment in our schools. All students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression deserve to feel safe and supported to develop a positive self identity.
Being a young person and discovering who you are is hard enough – without someone attacking you. There are messages everyday in our society that validate bullying, and we need to make it stop. Intolerance and ignorance cannot be allowed to take another life. We will hold vigil to remember,
NOTE: Parking available in Minneapolis Community & Technical College Ramp, a pay-as-you-enter facility, $5 all.
In the event of inclement weather the candlelight vigil will take place in the sanctuary of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral on 519 Oak Grove Street, across from the south-west corner of Loring Park.
When: Wednesday, October 20,
7:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the six gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes and at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools.
R.I.P. Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas. You are loved.
Join this event and invite your friends to do so too. Don’t let these six young men’s deaths be for nothing. Let it mean something, and let’s do something to change this country for once.
Recommended Off-site Links:
Faith, Hope and Love: Ending LGBT Teen Suicide – Rev. Patrick S. Cheng (The Huffington Post, October 6, 2010).
Preventing Tragedy in Our Schools – Al Franken and Joe Solmonese (The Huffingtn Post, October 5, 2010).
Homophobia Hurts Straight Men, Too – Jonathan Zimmerman (Christian Science Monitor, October 6, 2010).
Parents of LGBT Kids Can't Let Bullies Win – Connie Schultz (Cleveland.com, October 6, 2010).
Dan Savage Aims to Save LGBT Kids with “It Gets Better” Project – The Advocate (September 21, 2010).
Make It Better: Celebrities and Activists Rally Against Gay Bullying – Victoria Fine (The Huffington Post, October 4, 2010).
Why Anti-Gay Bullying is a Theological Issue – Cody J. Sanders (Religion Dispatches, October 2, 2010).
Gay Teen Suicide and Our Loss: A Personal Reflection – William Lindsey (The Open Tabernacle, October 6, 2010).
Judy Shepard: A Lack of Empathy Helps LGBT Suicide Thrive – Michael A. Jones (GayRights.org, October 1, 2010).
Bullying Victims Speak Out – CNN (October 6, 2010).
The Trevor Project
“It Gets Better” Project’s YouTube Channel
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Dave Navarro to LGBT Youth: "We Need Your Voices"
Confronting Classroom Homophobia
Catholic Church Can Overcome Fear of LGBT People
A Girl Named Sara: A "Person of the Resurrection"
The Triumph of Love: An Easter Reflection
"A Valiant Effort"