by Dan Savage
on Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 12:01 PM
This letter just arrived...
I am going to make a suggestion that will sound terrible—but I would like you to think about it, if you have time. It's just a thought I had while reading your first blog posts about BIlly Lucas. I think that you, and other members of the media should refrain from publicizing suicides that result from bullying, and any disciplinary action taken or criminal charges pressed against the bullies in such cases. Not out of concern for the bullies, but for the bullied.
As someone who grew up and was severely bullied (though not because of my gender presentation or sexuality) in a small (Canadian) town in the early 90s, I regularly had the though "I should just kill myself. Then they would be sorry. Then they would get in trouble. I should just kill myself." I didn't. But if I had lived in a world where my suicide might have brought the actions of my tormentors to national and international attention, and might have seemed likely to result in criminal consequences for them, I might have found the nerve.
I think you should consider publicizing the stories of young gay adults who showed bullies up by living. I don't mean to say that my heart doesn't bleed for the kids who feel so alone that they kill themselves, or that I don't think they did their best in terrible circumstances. This isn't a "don't give them what they want by giving them (posthumous) attention" letter. I just don't want to see another child follow them there.
All I'm going to say in response right now, Cate, is that you'll definitely want to read this week's "Savage Love."