A Silent Holocaust

Maddie Snelgrove
By Maddie Snelgrove
November 30th, 2010

No teenager, or anyone for that matter, enjoys hearing the words fag or dyke said to them or anyone else. But why is it still ignored when it does happen? The first few weeks of the school year, I read about six teens from the USA who had committed suicide. All six of these adolescent boys were gay. They’re not the only teens who go to school every day scared that they’re going to be beaten up for being a “homo” or afraid that someone will tell their parents before they do. It’s a never ending cycle of fear. That’s not the kind of the thing that someone forgets. Can you imagine the feelings of these boys who took their lives because they were bullied for who they love?

I follow a page on Facebook (link is at the bottom) that lets me know what’s going on in the gay rights movement. For instance, I read that a high school teacher was suspended for disciplining an anti-gay student. Not very long after, Graeme Taylor, a 14 year old openly gay boy spoke in front of the school board. He told them that when he was only nine years old, he attempted suicide. This young boy stood up to the school board to speak about how this teacher stood up for him and all other LGBT (lesbian gay bisexual and transgender) people. In the words of Graeme Taylor, “There is a silent holocaust out there, in which an estimated 6 million gay people every year kill themselves.” This is true, the fear that gay people have is tremendous and when they feel like no one is there to help them, they think there’s no other way but to end their life.

There have been other incidences such as the news about a 12 year old girl who was being beaten by her peers for having a “boy’s name.” This may not have anything to do with being gay or lesbian, but the cycles keep on going. Apparently students can no longer be judged on their character; they now have to be judged on their sexuality, whether their name is feminine or masculine. To me, that doesn’t make sense, I sure hope it wasn’t written in some handbook, “How to be Discriminating 101.” I just don’t understand the power that people feel when they say the words that I hear every day in the halls. I know for one that when I hear the word “gay,” I think of either happy or homosexual. But when I hear kids saying, “Oh that’s so gay!” that’s just not logical. It’s not like they’re meaning to say, “Oh that’s so happy,” or “Oh that’s so homosexual.”

As I’m writing this, I found another story. And it reminded me, Snoball is not even a week away! A teenage girl attending a high school in Mississippi was told she could not bring her girlfriend to prom. The school cancelled the prom after some interesting scenarios played out, but then news spread that they would be holding a private prom, that continued to deny the two girls. Would you deny a girl or boy from bringing a certain date to Snoball? Prom?

I challenge all of you to do this: Try to spend at least one day where you do not use the word gay as a derogatory word as well as to try and not be discriminating to anyone else. Just do something kind for someone. You never know, maybe in the long run, you could be helping that person more than you think.

Check out some very inspiring websites and speeches to see how you can help. The Gay Rights Facebook page or their official website have great information .  A wonderful video of 5 gay women in Toronto speaking to all LGBT’s about how “It All Gets Better.”  Graeme Taylor’s speech to the school board and his interview on “Ellen” are both definately worth watching.   

A really cool site that posts about good things going on in the world is a must! Very inspiring!

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