by Dan Savage
on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 1:04 PM
...err on the side of overreacting. Err on the side of doing something drastic. Err on the side of turning your own life inside out. Because you don't want to find out the abuse was more than your kid could bear when it's too fucking late to do anything about it:
A Gordonsville, Tennessee, boy's parents say bullying caused their son to take his own life. Phillip Parker, 14, died this week. His parents said he was constantly bullied for being gay.... "He was fun, he was energetic, he was happy," said Gena Parker, Phillip's mother. To his many friends, Phillip was known as the boy who told everyone they're beautiful. "He kept telling me he had a rock on his chest," said Ruby Harris, Phillip's grandmother. "He just wanted to take the rock off where he could breathe."
Phillip's family said they reported their concerns over their son's bullying to Gordonsville High School on multiple occasions, but the bullying by a group of students just got worse... "That's my son," said Phillip Parker, Phillip's father. "I love him. I miss him. He shouldn't have had to kill himself to be brought to life."
Straight parents: If you know your gay kid is being brutalized in his school and you've complained and it's gotten worse, get him the fuck out of there. Homeschool him. Homeschool him and sue the school. Move away. Move someplace more tolerant. Move someplace better. If you can't move away—or if you can't move right away—send your son to live with relatives in another city, a better city. Send him to live with relatives in a state where the elected officials aren't bullying kids like yoursfrom the fucking statehouse. (Maybe a state where elected officials are working to make things better.)
And straight parents? Once you realize your kid is gay—which parents of gay kids usually realize long before their gay kids realize it themselves—take a long, hard look at the community in which you live. Take a long, hard look at the church where you worship. Take a long, hard look at the schools your kid will be forced to attend.
Then decide if staying put is worth your child's life.