The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Take Children Out of the Culture Wars Cross Hairs NOW!!!

This is not the opening of a debate about an overheated culture wars issue. This is not a grenade thrown in that war awaiting the explosion and response. This is a call for peace and sanity. This is a call to save lives and protect vulnerable teens. There will be no arguments on the central issue one way of the other (and I could make many). There will be no invitation to debate (frankly because "debate" has devolved to who can scream loudest with neither side willing to hear out the other and consider their remarks).

We attended a benefits show the other night, a community theater play titled Dog Sees God (title is not disrespectful: it is taken from the line ... badly paraphrased here:  "When a dog looks at its master it sees a reflection of God. To accomplish the same thing a cat merely looks in the mirror.") It is powerful, frank, and very adult. The program featured the following disturbing statistics:

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24. More than 5,000 teens and young adults take their own lives each year.
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youths are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
  • In September 2010 alone, at least six youths who endured a relentless stream of taunts from their classmates chose to end their own lives.
  • 53% of students report hearing homophobic comments made by school staff.
  • 45% of gay males and 20% of lesbians report having experienced verbal harassment and/or physical violence as a result of their sexual orientation during high school.
  • A 2002 study found that bisexual students were three to six times more likely than their straight classmates to be threatened or injured with a weapon at school.
  • 84% of LGBT students report being verbally harassed (name calling, threats, etc.) because of their sexual orientation.
  • 82.9% of LGBT students report that faculty or staff never intervened or intervened only some of the time when present and homophobic remarks were made.
  • 64.3% of LGBT students report feeling unsafe at their school because of their sexual orientation.
  • LGBTQ youth are seven times more likely than other students to be threatened or injured with a weapon at school.
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity alone are not risk factors for suicide. LGBTQ youth face many social factors such as isolation and rejection that put them at higher risk for self-destructive behaviors.
It is time to stop and see who is being harmed in this culture wars debate. It is time to set aside the rhetoric and protect the children. No, I'm wrong; truthfully, it is LONG PAST TIME.

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