Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day of Silence

Friday April 20th, 2012* is the Day of Silence.
On the National Day of Silence hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools.
This is a fantastic student/youth movement that illustrates how attitudes have changed rather quickly in recent years. Media reports of violence and harassment committed against LGBT teens and adults has made hateful actions and rhetoric against these groups  taboo.

Of course, progress in human rights is not easy. Hate groups, such as American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Save California and many others are opposed to this event or anything that does not conform to their theocratic, Christan Nationalist worldview.

Focus on the Family, by way of their True Tolerance website (*stifles vomit and anger*) spreads propaganda that anti-bullying campaigns are actually an elaborate plot by “teh gays” to indoctrinate our children. THE HORROR!

For example:

In public, they claim it’s all about protecting kids. But behind the scenes, they are using these policies to accomplish three things:

1. Get the leverage they need to get what they want into public schools—such as mandatory diversity trainings, homosexual-themed curricula all the way down to the elementary level and school wide assemblies and/or celebrations on homosexual and transgender issues.
2. A tool that lets them evade parental rights.  
3. A way to circumvent traditional, marriage laws.

As the Friendly Atheist pointed out:  “Apparently, GLSEN is telling everyone they should be engaging in sodomy. I don’t remember getting that memo.”

These hate groups (always Christian and always claiming concern with “family values”) will make the claim that ALL bullying needs to come to an end and LGBT bullying is only a fraction of the reported bullying cases and shouldn't be singled out. While correct on the first point, the second point is only correct in the sense that they are intentionally ignoring population numbers and significance. While the numbers are always in question, it is likely that the population of LGBT people is somewhere between 1.5% and 10%; probably around 3%. Even with this uncertainty, anyone familiar with statistics can tell what is wrong here. The populations of LGBT teens and adults is vastly smaller than the rest of the population. Why is this important? A 2009 National School Climate Survey found that

  • 84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
  • 63.7% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 27.2% reported being physically harassed and 12.5% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their gender expression.
  • 72.4% heard homophobic remarks, such as "faggot" or "dyke," frequently or often at school.
  • Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (39.9%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression.
  • 29.1% of LGBT students missed a class at least once and 30.0% missed at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns, compared to only 8.0% and 6.7%, respectively, of a national sample of secondary school students.
With a smaller population size, any group that is specifically targeted for harassment and violence will have a higher incident rate within their group. Sure, other kids might be getting picked on for their clothes or wearing glasses, but the hate and vitriol to a minority group is more of a constant barrage and on a fundamentally different personal level. It’s not that their clothes or glasses are perceived as wrong...”they” are perceived as wrong.

This is what these Christian hate groups do not want to address. It is religious-based discrimination - plain and simple. Anything that their religious scriptures, clergy and beliefs have taught them to find abhorrent must remain abhorrent regardless of reason. There is not another single valid reason for the majority population to discriminate or persecute LGBT people except that it is ingrained in the cultural ethos of monotheism. Do you know why? Because the ancient Hebrews were fixated on human sexuality as a negative. Additionally, they hated their neighbors (the ones they were commanded to kill and steal their land) and these neighbors participated in homosexual practices during their religious ceremonies. Yahweh didn’t find that kosher. That is just one more cultural inheritance from religion we need to realize and discard.

Human progress has largely occurred due to secular principles replacing or influencing the “sacred” principles of religions. Any religion that finds secular humanist principles and goals to be against “god” and resists change is the enemy of human progress. You will be hard pressed to find a religion that does not do this at some point and to some degree.

*originally posted on April 15, 2011