Art © Emma Norström
According to the organizers at GLAAD, Spirit Day is “an annual day in October when millions of Americans wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.” But Anti-LGBTQ bullying is a problem that affects more than just youth, and it happens year round. Owldolatrous press devoted the week leading up to Spirit Day 2012 to the issue of bullying in our community.
Joshua Harrison and Jeremy Jeffers, a gay couple in small-town Texas, thought things were looking bad when their home was vandalized with a gay slur and a death threat on October 1, 2012 but when they took their plight to the media, the national attention actually made things worse. What can they do when the bully is their entire town? Wayne Self had a chance to speak with Josh and Jeremy on the phone about their lives before and after the vandalism, the media attention they’ve received, and how their circumstances have changed in recent weeks.
Owldolatrous Press set up a fund, and our readers generously donated $2690 for Joshua and Jeremy to help them with the expense of moving to a safer city, where they might find peace and community.
Bullying is a lot like smoking—you’re never an ex-bully, you’re just one who doesn’t.
Contributor Ryan Legg offers an angle on bullying that doesn’t get heard often. He was, as he puts it, a tall, angry kid with a bad handle on his physical strength and some lousy coping mechanisms. Fortunately for Ryan, he developed some better ones, and some real perspective along the way.
If you want to live in a world where bullying doesn’t happen, it is your business to try to make it stop.
Zach’s long-held resolve never to stand idly by when someone is being bullied was tested when he and a friend intervened in a street altercation and found themselves the bullies’ new targets.
by Ross Murray
The New York Times reports today that Bryan Fischer and his Family Research Council are protesting an anti-bullying program, asking parents to keep their children out of school while the program is in effect. This sermon from GLAAD Director of Religion, Faith & Values, Ross Murray, serves as a reminder that Fischer has again substituted his prejudices for the teachings of Jesus.
by Michael Baugh
An experienced dog trainer knows that aggression, even the internalized kind, is about fear. For a dog, it usually comes from direct experience. But we humans can learn to fear each other without direct experience. We are particularly clever about spreading fear with words. It’s the rhetoric that turns us against each other and, eventually, on ourselves.
What can we do about it? Here’s what Michael Baugh learned from dogs:
“Be kind and compassionate. Aggressive dogs are suffering. I make it my business to help them. They may want to hurt me, but they are not the enemy. If I lead them out of anger and hate, I win. If I hate them more than they hate me, I lose. My hunch is the same with humans. It’s hard to calm someone down and bring them around by trumping them with more anger.”
“Let our hearts speak louder than our fear.” Listen to this beautiful song about bravery, love, and healing in a Spirit Week edition of Hootenanny.
Hugo Award Winner David Gerrold offers a Spirit Day challenge to do more than simply wear purple. Wayne Self offers several suggestions for doing just that.
For additional resources on bullying, check out these links:
- The Trevor Project runs the Trevor Lifeline, a 24-hour, national crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for gay and questioning teens.
- The National Center for Bullying Prevention is helping to promote awareness and teach effective ways to respond to bullying.
- STOMP Out Bullying is focused on reducing bullying and cyberbullying.
- Check out the Make It Better Project to learn about anti-bullying resources for adults.
- Stop Bullying provides a tips sheet on preventing bullying.
- Girls Against Girls was written by a mother whose daughter was bullied for liking Star Wars.