No Pressure on Obama
As I predicted yesterday, GLSEN's statement on the recent deaths of gay or questioning kids - Seth Walsh, Asher Brown, Justin Aaberg, Billy Lucas - and the suicide of college student Tyler Clementi, fails to call on either President Obama or the Education Department and its silent Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings to raise their voices about the suicides and bullying.
From the get-go, the statement is not about the kids and the bullying. It's about the media stories:
Recently, there has been heightened media attention surrounding the suicides in New Jersey, Texas, California, Indiana, and Minnesota of several youth who were known to be bullied relentlessly because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Must be too much trouble to name the victims. Why the silence about the names?
These horrific stories across the country reflect on school bullying culture and how it can lead to tragedy. Such cases are not new, but actually do reveal an important trend: the public is becoming more informed and in tune to the realities that adversely affect our youth. However, it is now up to the public to not just be aware, but to be active in changing this reality.
Um, allow to disagree and say the cases I named above are indeed new and represent a frightening rise. And what important to GLSEN out of the anguish the families and friends of the dead are going through right now, along with the grief and anger in the gay community? An unsourced claim of a trend of a more informed public.
Instead of demanding at least some speaking out from Barack Obama and Kevin Jennings, GLSEN says "the public" has change the situation. Might be easier for "the public" to do that, if our Fierce Advocate and the Safe School Czar were lobbied to end their silence.
Groups like the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and The Trevor Project have been working to educate the public on this issue, and, more importantly create ways for us to put an end to these tragedies.
Okay enough, the standard self-promotion of the orgs behind the weak statement, but what are the ways in which they're trying to halt the deaths?
Through policy efforts to pass legislation like the Safe Schools Improvement Act (HR2262 and S3739) [...]
Like a law is going to change the public? Sorry, can't say I've seen much love coming from the public since the hate crimes law was signed last year, ostensibly to help gays. In case these orgs haven't noticed, the White House, the House and Senate, along with our Democratic Party friends are exactly burning the midnight oil or breaking into a sweat to pass any freaking law for fags. Suppose that Act did become law, I'd like to know how it will affect the thinking of the bullies.
While the orgs behind the release are too fearful of coming right out and saying the recent cases represent an escalation, none other than the p.r. guy for GLSEN said EXACTLY that yesterday to the Christian Science Monitor:
“It appears that what has always been a crisis is that much more severe right now,” says Daryl Presgraves, spokesman for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
In the five years that Mr. Presgraves has been tracking media reports of such cases, this past year has included the largest spike he’s seen, including the suicides of four students in Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District who were reportedly discriminated against because they were gay or were perceived as gay.
If Presgraves can tell the Monitor that the latest deaths and bashings are more severe and causing a spiking, then GLSEN ought to say so in a statement. And now that we have this statement, what about some visible action, GLSEN?