Did you know that yesterday was the National Day of Silence? This event has been happening for 13 years but I only just heard about it. It was created by a group of students in 1996 to bring attention to anti-gay name-calling, bullying, and harassment in schools. Now hundreds of thousands of students participate each year to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior in the schools, behavior that causes so much misery and an appalling amount of teen suicides. Just last week, an 11-year-old boy named Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover hanged himself after enduring endless taunts about being gay at his middle school, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. That makes at least four suicides of middle-school children this year linked to bullying.
As was the case with Carl, you don’t have to be gay to be attacked with anti-gay language. Students learn to use anti-LGBT language as the ultimate diss of their peers when they are very young. According to a recent study of more than 6,000 LGBT students, 9 out of 10 reported being verbally harassed at school during the past year because of their sexual orientation. Half reported being physically harassed and about a quarter reported being physically assaulted. Those numbers don’t apply to Leah’s progressive school, I’m happy to say. I don’t think the school observed the Day of Silence but the day before they celebrated Diversity Day which included workshops led by the openly gay students and teachers at the school. Of course it's mostly about what happens at home. Children learn these things by example and modeling, and if the parents of the children in the above photo who encouraged their children to demonstrate with those hideous placards aren't guilty of extreme child abuse, I don't know who is.
A group called the Illinois Family Institute created an obnoxious anti-Day of Silence PSA that I almost included here but I couldn’t bear to see it on my site so I’ll just link to it. It would be quite laughable if it weren’t so packed with lies and absurdities. Can I ask one question: why are anti-gay people such bad writers? Their ads are always horribly written and always include crazy theories about the “gay agenda” and claims that gay people want to stamp out religion in this country. Yuck.
But that PSA looks like a Gay Pride parade crossed with a Liza Minnelli concert compared to the much higher budget anti-gay-marriage PSA called “A Gathering Storm” that is currently making the rounds on national television. It was made by a group called the National Organization for Marriage and is unparalleled in its scare tactics:
The actors pretending to be real people whose lives have been negatively affected by same-sex marriage were exposed when someone found and posted the audition tapes for the spot. I don’t care how desperate those (awful) actors were, their reputations deserve to be blackened by their participation in this outrageous bullshit. I looked up the guy representing the organization, Damon Owens, and found him involved in some weird offshoot of extreme Catholicism and Opus Dei (that secret group at the center of “The Da Vinci Code”) called Theology of the Body or the Spirituality of St. Josemaria. Oy.
The National Organization for Marriage pulled the embarrassing audition tapes from YouTube as soon as they could but you can still see excerpts from them on this Rachel Maddow report:
The names of these organizations make me want to hurl. The so-called Illinois Family Institute has nothing to do with MY family, and God knows the alleged National Organization for Marriage has nothing to do with MY marriage. It’s not that I’m this repulsed by every group or individual who doesn’t share my views. I admit that it’s probably impossible for someone to make an argument that I would support against gay marriage but I do think it would be possible for people with different perspectives to present their case without resorting to outright lies, distortions, and crazy paranoia which they include for the sole purpose of scaring the bejeesus out of their followers. It’s truly reprehensible. Instead of students remaining silent as a sign of protest I wish we could get the blowhards in these groups to shut their traps.