Thursday, 6 September 2007

I am human just like them

Johann Hari may have got it wrong about Iraq (and, if I remember correctly, he's acknowledged this more than once) but he's spot on when he talks about homophobia. His article in today's Independent, examining the way gay kids are the victims of bullying in schools, points the finger not only at the bullies themselves (victims of food additives?), but, more significantly, at teachers, who fail to do anything, blame the victim or actually support and substantiate anti-gay behaviour, and, of course, at the government, which seems to think the problem doesn't exist.

He's particularly incensed by the fact that homophobic bullying is more common in faith schools. This is hardly surprising; monotheism doesn't have a great record when it comes to recognising gay rights. But I wonder what would happen if someone suggested that the government fund, or even recognise, a school for gay kids along the same lines as those used for faith schools. It might be a ghetto (though this would be no truer of a gay school than of any other selective structure - including one based on class; it's significant that ghetto is only ever used pejoratively), but I'd rather be in a ghetto than standing alone in a hostile playground.

And if you aren't convinced, read this suicide text, quoted by Hari, sent to his sister by Jonathan Reynolds, a 15-year-old boy who'd been bullied after coming out to friends:
"Tell everyone that this is for anybody who eva said anything bad about me, see I do have feelings too. Blame the people who were horrible and injust 2 me. This is because of them, I am human just like them. None of you blame yourself, mum, dad, Sam and the rest of the family. This is not because of you."
Ten minutes later he'd been sliced in half by a train.


Anonymous said...

the note is so heart-wrenching...
I am glad I am alive myself so I am able to write about these still mainly ignored facts (at least in Italy)

Ms Baroque said...

So awful.