By: Amani Tarud
How often have you heard your friends say that their math homework is gay? More often than you can count, I’d say. Or how about someone’s t-shirt? That yellow t-shirt with red writing? Yeah, so gay!
Truth is, all these are acts of homophobia. (Not to mention stupidity; inanimate objects cannot be happy nor homosexual.) And these acts are what NT’s Gay-Straight Alliance is trying to combat.
It is estimated that ten percent of the world’s population is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trans-sexual. Shrunk down, that is one in every ten people. So, every time one of your funny friends cracks a joke about how gay something is, or just says something demeaning about gays, you’re hurting three people in every classroom. Doesn’t seem like much, but when you take into account that there are 1200 or so students in NT, that little three grows to 120. That’s about as many people as you encounter in your four classes everyday. And that is, well, a lot of people.
That is why the GSA exists. It’s here for people who want to stop others or themselves from hurting. It’s here for those who know what crosses that invisible line between a harmless joke and an insult or degradation. Or worse, a hate crime.
A hate crime is when a victim is targeted because they belong to a specific social group. In 2008, sixteen percent of all hate crimes were motivated by sexual orientation, almost double the percentage of those in 2007. Approximately seventy-five percent of these hate crimes were violent in nature. Eighty-five percent of these hate crimes targeted males.
As well, out of the approximate ten percent of teenagers who attempt suicide, one of them does it for fear of being homosexual or trans-sexual.
Do any of these statistics seem acceptable, unimportant, or even funny, like a joke?
The GSA is not only for gays. The GSA is open to anyone and everyone who feels that it is important to put an end to homophobia. This year we are putting up anti-homophobia posters in all classrooms, as well as selling rainbow sillybandz to promote our cause.
We are all born with the capacity to love, but we learn how to hate. School should not be teaching us how.