Bullies Against Homophobia
Ellen Page gave a moving speech Friday night in which she came out of the closet, and it got me thinking. One of these days, people will be able to come out of the closet without much fanfare, and we should all look forward to that day when sexuality becomes a non-issue. But there’s a reason anyone famous coming out these days is celebrated with such pomp and fanfare: because it sends a message to bullied LGBT youths all across the country that they are not alone.
In high school, as a matter of solidarity one year I participated in the Day of Silence. And look, I know nothing about the gay experience or what it’s like to go through life dealing with that level of prejudice, but I do know this: bullying sucks. I’ve been bullied, you’ve been bullied, we’ve all been bullied. And when I participated in the Day of Silence––everyone who participated, by the way, was followed around that day by the chorus of silent judgment––I learned about a whole new level of bullying. Gay bullying is much nastier and more personal than normal bullying. Most bullying is about mannerisms, attire, little minor things that people pick on you for because they think it’s hilarious. Gay bullying is about who you fundamentally are as a person.
But there I go, being serious about people’s basic rights. What I propose is a new organization called Bullies Against Homophobia. We’re never going to stomp out bullying once and for all; like the passage of time or the smell from that weird carpet stain, it will stay with us forever. But there is something our nation’s bullies can do: take a stand and say no one should be bullied because they’re gay. They should be bullied for other reasons.
The credo for Bullies Against Homophobia is simple: We have a dream that one day, people will not be bullied based on their sexual orientation, but by the content of their wussy, nerdy character.
You could do a PSA with a bully holding a dork’s head down a toilet and saying, “I may be a bully, but I’m no idiot. Bullying someone because they’re gay isn’t cool. Bullying someone because they looked at you funny or won’t give you your milk money is. Isn’t that right, dweeb?” This is the part where the kid with his head in the toilet would give a gurgled “yes.”
Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be a perfect message, but at least it’s a start.