I know this is a humor blog but here’s something I wrote on my personal Tumblr. My coeditor/writer for this blog (from the always wonderful STFU, Teabaggers) gave me permission post it here because she’s wonderful and supportive and appreciates the fact that this is important to me. So let me just get this up and then we’ll go back to telling jokes. Promise.
Look, I poke fun at the young people on Tumblr quite a bit. I appreciate the fact that I’m above the median age of Tumblr users and, honestly, you guys sound just like me when I was 16 and I look at myself at 16 and say, “What an idiot.” But right now I’m being serious, and I’m telling you that YOU are the ones that can stop gay bullying.
I’m loving all the purple. I saw the Tumblr conversion last night at around midnight. Since then I’ve been seeing a lot of purple reblogs and words of support and that’s great. It’s great to know that there are gay teens on Tumblr that could be reading their dash and seeing that there are people out there who love and support them for who they are. But it’s only half the battle, honestly.
Actually, scratch that…it’s not even half the battle.
The battle is being fought in your schools. No amount of blog posts can help a kid that gets picked on everyday or gets the snot knocked out of him just for being gay. What it takes is intervention. What it takes it for someone to see what’s going on, confront the bully, and comfort the kid who’s being picked on. Be a friend to them. Don’t just tell them everything will be OK. Make it OK.
There are good fights in this world. I know it doesn’t seem that way. We look at recent wars and we say, “There are no good fights.” But this, right here, is a good fight. And this post, right here, is your call to arms.
Look, I know what it’s like. I was picked on in school and I watched people get picked on in school. It’s really hard to take a stand, especially if taking a stand can put you in harm’s way. Maybe you’ll be picked on, too. Maybe some of your friends will think less of you. Maybe the kid you’re trying to help won’t even appreciate it and it’ll feel like you took a stand for nothing. But you have to take a stand despite the consequences. Because, if you don’t, nothing will ever get better.
Rebellion is infectious. If four people see you standing up to a bully, one may join you next time. If six people see the two of you standing up to a bully, two of them may join you next time. The more people you can recruit by your actions, the greater your impact will be.
You are the only ones that can stop this. Teachers can’t regulate behavior. Parents can’t tell their kids to be compassionate (and some parents even tell their kids not to be). But you kids barter every day in social exchanges. You define what’s cool and what’s right and it trickles up. You can’t tell a kid what to do, but if enough people show a kid what to do the kid will be forced to change. Or else he’ll become the outcast.
So when you’re in school, stand up for the kids that are being bullied. Take a punch, if you have to. Throw one back if it’s in you. This is a good fight, but most fights are long and hard and take a while to gain momentum. But if history has shown us anything, it’s that the ruling class has trouble turning the tides of the masses if the rebellion is strong enough. You may not be able to ever change opinions, but you can at least offer real support, show strength in numbers, and the bullies will have to at least placate you.
So keep reblogging the purple. But don’t ever forget that eventually you may need to actually do something.
This. & I think, more than that, those of you above the high school age should remember that harassment goes well beyond the teen crowd. This call to arms is just as relevant for adults as it is for teens, and it doesn’t just apply to cases of sexual orientation-based harassment. If you see someone being harassed for any reason that you feel is unjustified, take a stand.