Start here. Go carefully, though; it’s heartrending stuff.
Here’s the thing; I get that the people who tormented this kid are largely responsible for his death. I understand that the people who interacted with him in inappropriate and inhumane ways are the ones who made his existence so intolerable that he’d rather die than endure it any longer.
So, too, are the people who perpetuate, condone, and encourage the kind of thinking that allows people to treat each other in horrific ways responsible for this boy’s death. Every pastor who’s told his or her congregation that gay people are less than; every self-righteous, holier-than-thou who believes – and then teaches their kids or their neighbors – that it’s okay to treat someone else as less than; every person who believes that someone weaker is a fair target just because they’re weaker (or any kind of different) is responsible.
What I’M saying – and what I spend a great deal of my time and energy shouting from the proverbial rooftops – is that the people who stand on the sidelines and watch this happen but don’t speak up (SCREAM!) against it are equally culpable. I’ve had it up to here with the “there’s nothing I can do about insert-tragedy-here (gun violence, homophobia, racism, misogyny, and on, and on..). *I* don’t do it, but there’s nothing I can do to stop it.”
I’m calling bullshit. You can talk about it. You can support causes that fight against it (and withdraw your support, loudly and in public, from those which perpetuate it). You can call out the people you see behaving badly and hold them fucking accountable for the evil that they do, whether they do it in person or through a proxy (or through inaction). You CAN do something about it; you just choose not to. Let’s be very clear about that.
I’m currently getting some heat about the energy with which I engage these topics and, truth be told, this is not something new; I’ve been told for most of my life that I “feel too much” and that it puts people off, and “shouldn’t you be more “even keeled” and relaxed about things?”
You know what?
I. DON’T. CARE if you’re uncomfortable with my activism.
I’m sorry, but I don’t. I’m not responsible for how you feel about me; I’m only responsible for being true to who I really am.
I could not live with myself if I kept quiet. Part of my struggle to be authentically me is to feel everything as vividly and openly as I can, and I make noise whenever I see something that wounds another. Of course, the irony of this is that, in speaking out, I’m wounding those who are doing the wounding (or who are allowing that wounding to happen, either implicitly or explicitly), and sometimes they get offended when I do that.
I’m finding I’m having to come to terms with the idea of being intolerant of the intolerant, and of what that’s come to mean in my day-to-day.