While the experience was rewarding for organizing and activism experience, what stuck with me most were the stories I heard from students who had been bullied simply for who they were. I do not have enough words to reproduce them here, but needless to say, they were heart-wrenching.
I raise this anecdote to illustrate something the editorial board seemed to misunderstand in its editorial “LGBT petition highlights anti-bullying legislation.”
Anti-progressives have always cynically dismissed those who push for true equality in America as “special interests.” They seek to flip the diversity argument on its head by asserting they are the ones who are truly pushing for equality under the law by arguing that the law must be “neutral” in all cases.
What these folks do not understand is that groups pushing for greater inclusion and protection under the law are not arbitrarily demanding special protection. They seek protection because they realize and experience the consequences of the fact that the law is not blind. It is administered by men with personal biases and prejudices that very often do seek to disenfranchise minority groups.
The work of the members of Spectrum Alliance and countless other LGBT activists around the world is no different. They are fighting for policy changes because students from grade school to college are DYING. We’re not just talking about failing a class here. LGBT suicides that can be attributed to bullying are becoming more and more public, and the cases are horrifying.
We were all bullied for something. But the vast majority of us were not bullied for who we were as human beings. LGBT students cannot change who they are. Bullying based on a student’s race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. is different. It’s the kind of bullying which seeks to tear down and isolate the individual on a fundamental level.
This is not a game. It’s a human issue with (literally) life and death consequences.
junior, political science