What could possibly be so bad in the life of a teenager that they would want to end it all?
This heart wrenching spoken word piece by Kevin Morrison, filmed in our home base in Washington D.C., lays bare what it feels like for a 13-year-old to be rejected by his family, ridiculed by his church, and called the f*ggot by his peers. To feel like he was dead on the inside. To believe that there was no other way out than to take a knife to his veins.
The recent epidemic of teen suicides has directed national attention to the severity and pervasiveness of homophobic bigotry and harassment, but it has not deterred the religious right from continuing to battle against any measures to protect students who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. As we tour the country with the Out in the Silence Campaign for Fairness and Equality, we continue to be dazed by the brazenness of our opponents.
Just this week, the principal of a small midwestern high school refused to allow students to announce an Out in the Silence outreach event because it was "too provocative." When a guidance counselor made the announcement anyway, local fundamentalists called for her to be fired and demanded a special school board meeting to address the "problem" of students showing and discussing an educational film with their peers.
Right wing religious groups such as the American Family Association and Focus on the Family have long contended that diversity training and enumerated anti-bullying measures are nothing more than a "Trojan Horse to legitimize the homosexual lifestyle" and "a gateway for homosexuality promotion in school." According to them, students are harassed and bullied for a variety of reasons, so why bother to specify who should be protected?
Perhaps if they could stand for just one moment in the shoes of Devon, the teen described in At 13, they would understand.