Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bridge over troubled water

On Sunday, Loren and I went for a bike ride over in NJ. To do this, we ride over the George Washington bridge, something thousands of runners, walkers, and cyclists do every weekend. Riding over the bridge is just that, a bridge, a bridge to great escapes and adventures. A beautiful view of the Palisades and of the Manhattan skyline. As we rode over, I noticed striped of rainbow crepe paper hanging on the bridge, I noticed it but really didn't think very much of it and soon forgot about it.
This morning, I went out on my own over the bridge. The paper was still hanging from bridge and it suddenly hit me like a punch to the stomach. It was there for Tyler Clementi.
As I continued to ride over the span, I noticed a new sign (3 of them actually). They weren't there over the weekend.

Ok, at this point, I nearly burst into tears (damn PMS).
You'd have to live under a rock to not have seen all the publicity about bulling in schools and the recent suicides of all these young LGTB kids. While it's great that it's getting publicity, this really isn't anything new. Queer kids have been killing themselves at much higher rates than their straight peers for a long long time. It's just now that it's getting some real attention. Bullying and name calling is nothing new either. I clearly remember the first time someone called me "dyke" to my face. I'm sure it never occurred to this person that I would hold that memory some 25 years later, but I do. When I heard he had dropped dead before reaching 40, that's the first thing I thought of. Who wants to be remembered for that?
While I think I got through my teen years relatively unscathed from actions like that (even surviving catholic HS) a lot of my friends have some real horror stories. A lot of kids today have horror stories, some so bad they feel they have no other way out other than to kill themselves.
I started this blog to be about my training and racing and that kind of thing, but for now, I'm stepping on my soapbox. I'm asking everyone reading this to please make a donation to The Trevor Project or donate $20 to GLSEN to give all schools a Safe Space. Skip the Starbucks this week and help a kid out.


casual entropy said...

well shit, I mean, i'm not PMSing and I teared up. So.

This world.

Elizabeth said...

Great post. I think it's horrifying about the bullying and the suicides that are going on, and HAVE been going on for quite awhile. I'm off to go donate now.

jesse.anne.o said...

Agreed, PMS or not - it's nice to see people stepping up. I just hope it's enough.

It does still astound me that adults say the anti-gay things they say - in public and without apology. I forget, sometimes, that people like that are still here. And that for some kids, it's the majority of what they're exposed to.

L.A. Runner said...

As a teacher, I want to apologize for the teacher and adults that were unaware, unable, or afraid to do anything about bullying you (or any other teen) suffered. FWIW, there are now national projects educating teachers on how to handle bullying, even as young as elementary school. Our school is currently involved in a series of lessons addressing all types of bullying, including training for teachers and educating students, too. It's sad that human decency and compassion has to be a TAUGHT skill.

Ok, I am off my box now.

farrca1 said...

Timber Creek HS (hopefully) enlightened