by Simon Sheppard
originally published 10/4/2010
Sorry to be a buzzkill, but sometimes it's hard to be witty, or snarky, or much of anything but sad.
And it's been a depressing, deadly month.
See, this gay kid named Asher Brown, tired of being relentlessly bullied in school, grabbed his stepfather's gun and shot himself in the head. Another boy, Seth Walsh, an openly gay 13-year-old tortured by his schoolmates, hung himself in his backyard and later died. In one those Web-related sensations, Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers, discovered that his roommate was streaming spycam video of him having male/male sex and, after leaving a suicide note on Facebook, threw himself off the George Washington Bridge. A 17-year-old gay activist, Cody Barker, killed himself in Wisconsin. So did college student Raymond Chase—another hanging. And 15-year-old Billy Lucas? Dead, too.
These are not Matthew-Shepard-type assaults (there's still some question whether the motives of Clementi's roomie were even homophobic), but six young gay men are dead all the same. Despite all the progress that's been made in the ages and ages since I was a queer teen, homophobia—including the internalized type—can still be fatal.
Which doesn't cause homophobes, apparently, even one eensy-weensy moment of unease. The homo-hating group Focus on the Family, which seems more focused on cocksucking than anything else, even more obsessed with sodomy than I am, has tiresomely, predictably condemned anti-bullying programs in school. Because, of course, even implying that Asher Brown deserved not to be hounded to his death is just a sneaky tactic to promote the dreaded Gay Agenda.
And then there's the lamentable case of the reliably loathsome Ann Coulter, and the right-wing homos who court her. In a stunning act of political masochism, the boys of GOProud invited the anorexic loudmouth to their very first national gathering, Homocon 2010. Ms. Coulter, known among other things for her carefree use of "faggot" as a slur, pointed out to the well-heeled crowd that same-sex marriage was not a civil right because "you're not black." (And I'm betting that she was pretty damn accurate when it came to the racial make-up of that bunch.)
But then, on Larry King Live, she had the effrontery to interrupt an African-American professor to say, "Let me tell you how black people think about this…Civil rights is a black issue.”
Well, I'm kinda betting that at least a few queer African-Americans think, "Who the fuck does that skinny blond bitch think she is?" But hey, I'm just some white guy, and I might be wrong.
And anyway, I should lighten up, right? After all, as she astutely pointed out, "The people who get gay jokes are gays." But I can't help wondering what Asher Brown or Tyler Clementi would have thought of Coultergeist's fun-and-games.
Hey, Asher, why'd you get upset because your classmates called you a faggot? Coulter said the very same thing about John Edwards. Ha ha ha. Couldn't you take a joke, Seth Walsh? A laugh riot right?
And anyway, how dare gay teens complain about being bullied, when it's the Christians who are the real victims, their Jewish and atheist and gay classmates taunting them with cries of "Christ worshippers!" and "Goyim!"
Speaking of worshipping some dead dude on a cross, a recent poll demonstrated, rather unsurprisingly, that atheists know more about religions than Christians do; that the deeper you are in the Bible Belt, the less likely you are to know much of anything about your religion, much less anyone else's; that a shocking 40-plus percent of Catholics didn't even understand that transubstantiation thingy (though they might just have been in denial about ritual cannibalism, who knows?)
So you got Pope Bigcheese saying that queer families are threat to peace. You got a bunch on right-wing queens whose spokesfag tweeted, "Dear Gay Left--save your ’outrage’ over Homocon. We could give a shit what you think." You got your Focus on the Family spewing shit in the name of love. And bleach-jobbed Ann Coulter and the pale horse she rode in on.
Meanwhile, there's young Seth Walsh, discovered hanging from a tree in his Tehatchapi back yard, being cut down, and dying after nine days in a coma. There's Asher Brown—taunted not just for being queer, but for being a Buddhist, fer chrissakes—walking into his parents' closet, taking a Beretta from the shelf, and blowing his young brains out. Billy Lucas, an Indiana high schooler bullied for being gay; his tormentors told him to kill himself, so he went to his grandmother's barn and hung himself. And Tyler Clementi. Just days before the gifted violinist threw himself into the Hudson River, his webcaster boasted, "Went into Molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."
Now, I'm sure that if you asked the Pope, he'd say that anyone's death is a shame…though suicides, of course, aren’t entitled to full Catholic burial, killing oneself being a sin, but sowing antigay hatred a Biblical obligation. The Focus fuckheads will surely insist they're not pro-bullying; they're just anti-anti-antigay.
And Ann Coulter? Well, I bet she'll deny having any part in the seething hatred in the American heart that makes gay kids want to kill themselves…and that, fortuitously enough, sells Coulter's anti-liberal books.
Listen, I wish I could think of some upbeat note to end this on. I wish there were some good to come of all this. I wish I could be witty instead of furious.
No luck. At least, not right now.
Tyler, Asher, Billy, Seth, Raymond, Cody, I wish I could say you haven't died in vain, but at the moment, I'm not feeling optimistic.
I don't believe in an afterlife, but if there is one, I hope you guys rest in peace.
What a waste.
What a fucking waste.
copyright 2010, Simon Sheppard