"The real issue is not the kid coming out, but the kid sitting next to him."
You haven't seen this story on the evening news, and none of the presidential candidates has mentioned it. But earlier this week, a 15-year old boy was shot in the back of the head by a classmate. Students were just sitting down in their seats when the 14-year old assailant suddenly pulled out a gun and shot Lawrence. He shot Lawrence because he was gay and it freaked him out.
From the LA Times:
Police have not determined a motive in the slaying but said it appeared to stem from a personal dispute between King and the suspect.As regular readers know, I used to teach middle school. So I know, it doesn't take much to freak out the guys. I also know that when something like this happens it is imperative that the adults make a clear sign that this is wrong -- very wrong -- and it will not be tolerated.
[S]everal students at the south Oxnard campus said King and his alleged assailant had a falling out stemming from King's sexual orientation.
The teenager sometimes wore feminine clothing and makeup, and proclaimed he was gay, students said.
"He would come to school in high-heeled boots, makeup, jewelry and painted nails -- the whole thing," said Michael Sweeney, 13, an eighth-grader. "That was freaking the guys out."
Yet the LGBT community is still waiting to hear one of our "adults" (i.e., elected officials and those who would hope to be elected) stand up and make a statement about this tragedy. As blogger Sara Whitman has noted:
The message of hate is getting through to our kids, loud and clear. It’s okay to kill someone who freaks you out because they don’t fit a gender role to your liking.
And think about these words spoken by Lorri Jean, CEO of the L.A Gay Center, at a memorial for Lawrence King:Superdelegates? Really? Michelle Obama's clothes? Clinton's campaign manager? Is that what's important? Of course not. So when will either Clinton or Obama show some real leadership, refocus on the priorities, and make a clear statement denouncing this act?
No one is born hating gay and transgender people or believing that we should be denied equal rights. Such hatred and bigotry must be learned. It is learned in families that don’t accept their own children if they’re different than the norm. It is learned in right wing churches where ministers preach abomination or in schools where teachers and administrators don’t protect LGBT kids from bullying and harassment. It is learned from political leaders who support blatant discrimination again us or whose leadership fails them when it’s time to speak out and take action on behalf of our equality and our humanity.