Occasionally, though rarely, a reader will leave a comment on a post that I feel demands a response.
Yesterday I posted a notice on the fanpage about Wear it Purple who are an Australian organization supporting rainbow youth at risk and their second Wear it Purple Day coming this September 2nd.
“You have the right to be proud of who you are
Wear it Purple exists in order to help GLBTIQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) youth at risk. Run by students, we aim to stop the ignorance, bullying and suicides.”
These are the words that greet you on the home page of the Wear it Purple Day Organisers
The group was started by two local students after the aweful series of Gay youth suicides in the US last year culminating in the death of Student Tyler Clementi in September 2011.
Serkan Ozturk from SX News writes,
“Less than a year after launching advocacy group Wear It Purple, even its young co-founders, Katherine Hudson and Scott Williams, are amazed at its rapid success and reception by schools seeking to make their classrooms more welcoming and accepting places. This year’s Wear It Purple Day will be held on September 2 with at least 15,000 people expected to take part by donning the colour purple at up to 100-200 schools and seven universities across Australia.”
the article further says,
“A study last year by La Trobe University on the sexual health and wellbeing of same-sex attracted and gender questioning youth, found that 61 percent of respondents experienced homophobia verbal abuse at school. It is also estimated that GLBT youth attempt suicide at a rate three or four times higher than that of their peers. “We are saying it’s getting better, and it’s getting better every year so fast that I’m still excited about how different it is now than when I came out and that was only two or three years ago,” Hudson says.”
The commenter on the Fanpage asked the question, “at what point does the fight for oneself become that…just for themselves?”
The whole point of standing up for yourself is precisely to do that… stand up for yourself. If you don’t stand up for your rights or the rights of others then who will? Further more these people have begun a movement to create awareness, show solidarity and educate. For all of their efforts they should be applauded. The implication that what these people have done is selfish, is offensive.
The commenter then says,
“remember we had to fight through it in a less complimentary environment then these young ones today…have them pull their weight”.
It was at this point that I gritted my teeth clenched my hands and contained what can only be described as rage.
The simple fact of the matter is that Gay youth today certainly don’t have it easy. Discrimination today can be just as heart breaking, and can just as easily destroy lives as it has in the past. Great strides have been made in equality legislation but the work is hardly finished.
But more than that, the idea that Gay youth are some how not pulling their weight is appalling. Past advocates for Gay rights have done an outstanding job and things certainly are better than they used to be but the work is incomplete and Gay youth today are still paying the price for this. The idea that the bashings, murders, suicides and all the other terrible things that are happening to Gay youth today are some how owed to us, and that we should be paying our dues is utterly offensive!
Have them pull their weight! Are you serious?
There are young people out there everyday working for the rights of the entire community, there are youth workers dealing with suicides everyday, there are families being broken apart by hate crimes, doctors mending the broken bodies of gay youth, councillors dealing with depression and trauma and you have the gall to say “have them pull their weight”.
The point is that nobody should have to pull their weight because these things should never have happened in the first place. It is disgusting that these things happen at all.
Gay youth right now need just as much help as any other past generation and having members of the community spinning the old “back in my day” routine, and saying that the discrimination and suffering GLBTI Youth endure now somehow has less value than that which happened in the past is not helpful.
Angry rant over.