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A Mother's Plea

I wrote this two weeks ago when I came home to find that all hell had broken loose in my family, wanting to find a way to publish it, to get people to THINK about how they treat each other and the lessons they inadvertently teach others, and decided that our situation is dire enough here that I just really need people to think NOW and can't wait for an editor to decide this works for them. I posted this to my FB yesterday and it went "viral" among my friends and their friends. I don't think that's really the definition of the term, but it's nice that people want to share this. :)

And I want you to share this through links. Please link people here to my blog instead of reposting this elsewhere, if you do. I feel that having a concentrated group of comments for kids like my son to read through and know that people CARE will do wonders for them. (And if you know me in RL, please - I beg of you - do not share anything personal like where I actually live or my child's name. We have had people stalking our house to the point where my husband called the police.)

Thank you. It's a little long, but I mean every word of it. (And if you've ever called someone the names I've referred to in this article, or hurt someone, I want you to look at my icon. That's my son. That precious little thing has had all of this ugliness thrown at him.)

Warning: Frank talk of homophobia, suicide attempts, and bullying.

Tolerance doesn't mean what you think it means.Collapse )

Comments

( 135 comments — Leave a comment )
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velvetwhip
Nov. 6th, 2012 12:27 am (UTC)
I am so enraged at the people - both children and adults, but especially the adults - who are hurting your precious, wonderful child so much that dying seems like the only way to make the pain stop. How can people be so disgustingly inhuman?


Gabrielle
winterlive
Nov. 6th, 2012 12:55 am (UTC)
it's hard to know what to say beyond i'm sorry, i love you, and i'll try like hell to make it better.
stultiloquentia
Nov. 6th, 2012 01:06 am (UTC)
Even from your few brief details, it's so clear that your son is and is going to be an incredibly valuable person, not just for the people who know and love him now, but for the world. We should all have that much bravery and generosity.
strtmyorange
Nov. 6th, 2012 01:53 am (UTC)
Thank you for writing this. I read it and cried and nodded my head. And will pass it on.

I'm so sorry. I don't know what else to say except I keep you, your son, and your family in my atheist prayers.
slaymesoftly
Nov. 6th, 2012 02:16 am (UTC)
I'm amazed at your ability to write so calmly and eloquently when your family and your child are struggling with such hatred. It was painful to read this, knowing that yours is not the only child this is happening to. Will do all I can from here, which is simply to send you my support and sympathy, and to share your post.
lissysadmin
Nov. 6th, 2012 02:20 am (UTC)
All possible positive and supportive thoughts, feelings, vibes to you all
No one should ever have to endure being tormented by the "normal, straight, Christian" kids (all cynical facetious overtones are deliberate.) No one should encourage or even tolerate the "normal, straight, Christian" kids behaving in such abnormal, twisted, evil, un-Christian ways. Lots of love to you and your family, Stoney, and all my admiration for still being able to take the high road. Your son has a great ally and role model in you, and you should both be proud of yourselves and each other. Tell the Boy that we are all encouraging him to stay strong and hang on in there.
rebcake
Nov. 6th, 2012 02:48 am (UTC)
It's been 15 years since my stepson quietly decided not to go back to Texas for senior year, and instead stayed in San Francisco with his father and I. Sounds like things haven't changed all that much, alas. Well, they've changed some, because the people bullying him were mostly teachers and administrators. He actually got along okay with the kids, as far as I know. The girls, anyway. ;-)

Something stuck though, because he still hasn't come out to anyone in the family, in spite of a very clear and welcoming path. We lived in the Castro (SF's gay district), for FSM' sake! He's doing okay, but I can't help but think that continuing to keep such a fundamental part of himself secret (or so he thinks, I guess), has made him angrier and more emotionally closed off than necessary. I just want him to be happy, you know?

So, I'm going to suggest a small sliver of a silver lining for your son: he's out, and he's gonna be proud. While getting through the next few months is a frightening prospect, once he does, his life is going to open right up.

I've got all this advice about gay teenagers, depressed teenagers, teenagers with Asperger's, and being an advocate for teenagers, but it sounds like you know the score on all those counts. Knowing it doesn't make it easy, does it? Even though I am a big public education supporter, it's obviously not the right thing for everyone, for a variety of reasons.

On Terry Gross this morning, she interviewed the parents of a kid in much the same situation as your son: gay, (mis)diagnosed with Asperger's, an accepting, loving family, bullying at school and suicide attempts. Here's the link:

http://www.npr.org/2012/11/05/164201946/an-oddly-normal-outcome-for-a-singular-child

You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child? Well, it also takes a bunch of villagers with torches and pitchforks to destroy one. My thoughts are with you and I am hoping for the best possible outcome for your wonderful, beautiful, exceptional son. There aren't enough hugs in the world.
dulcinbradbury
Nov. 6th, 2012 03:00 am (UTC)
Hope
My brother is a transman. In high school, he was still sorting all of that out. His gender presentation was fairly androgynous (as much as he could manage in a school with uniforms). He dated girls and guys. His best friend was gay, and struggling. Most of his friend circle struggled with their sexual identity at least some, or were "weird" and different in some way.

They were all bullied, though most of it was verbal. They each took turns talking each other down from suicide attempts. Sometimes organizing shifts to talk to someone all night long, if that was needed.

My brother is married now. He's finished transitioning. He's happily living with his wife and son, on a microfarm. He loves the life he has. His friends from high school have all survived and, as far as I know, have all thrived as far as we know. He's still close to two of them. Surviving this bullsh*t can be hard, particularly at the time. It will be worth it.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 6th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
book recommendation
hi. i don't know if you'll have time to read this. you certainly have more important things to focus on right now. i just read a book recently that you and your son might be interested in. it's called Born on a Blue Day and it's by a man named Daniel Tammet who is both gay and on the autistic spectrum. perhaps you've heard of it, but if you haven't i just thought i would leave a little note. the book doesn't really discuss bullying or depression, but it's a wonderful memoir, and sometimes it's nice just to know that there are people out there like you.

your family is in my thoughts
anotherviolentv
Nov. 6th, 2012 03:22 am (UTC)
I love everything about you'r post, even if my heart breaks because of the pain and the reality it tells about, and also because this situations are so real and usual.

I think this part is the key: "What does affect your children is your hate."

Difference doesn't hurt anybody. I think that the fact that there are different ways to live, to love, to understand the world and the meaning of happiness, is what makes a community rich, it's what makes life interesting and what gives us the opportunity to discover how strong and how deep our connection with other human beans is. I think that connection is like a precious gift, that is there for us to discover if we are wise enough not just to tolerate differences, but to treasure them.

What hurts, what makes the world a scary and violent place to live is hate and discrimination. That hurts everybody, not just people who are discriminated, but all the other people in their community who lose the opportunity to meet them without prejudice, to make their lives richer because they know these others, and to live surrounded by love and acceptance instead of hate and distrust.

As always I wish you and your family all the happiness in the world. I don't pray either, but I hope for a better world for you and for all of us. Big hugs and a lots of strength.



Edited at 2012-11-06 04:05 am (UTC)
knotted_rose
Nov. 6th, 2012 04:58 am (UTC)
You and your family are in my thoughts. I wish the best for all of you. ::hugs::
bibliokat
Nov. 6th, 2012 05:14 am (UTC)
I'm glad your son has you. I'm so sorry he has the bullies. I wish people would be more logical too. Best thoughts, wishes, and hopes for your family ♥.
spankedbyspike
Nov. 6th, 2012 05:26 am (UTC)
I am a little lost as to what you would want us to do to help.

I am a "normal" person that has been prejudiced against and bullied oten (mostly due to the fact we moved often, accent, color, etc...).
Sometimes fighting back helped, sometimes moving helped because fighting back led to a lot of retaliation both ways...
Sometimes creating a group of friends that supported you and were a buffer between you and the world helped.

My experiences says that options are always available but the one thing I knew at the time and I enjoy today is that the future holds plenty of 'favor' for each of us.

All these bad times, I forgot them as soon as I reached 18. I changed continent, country and the world opened to me and the gems made my life exceptional enough that I don't even want to imagine if I had died before knowing these incredible experiences.

No one ever ask you if you were first of your class at work... No one even bother asking you if you graduated... No one will confront you that way once you reach a certain age and maturity is finally equally spread among human beings...

There is no need to find Jesus, there is maybe a need to change school but never to kill one self over stupid things that will not stand the test of time.

Your son, and all these children (different because of their races, their sex, their sexual orientation, their handicaps) will live a marvelous life and change so many other lives, think about the children they can bring happiness too (I have two amazing daughters that deserved to be here and wouldn't have if I had thought suicide was the best way), folks that need their touch, their skills, their output on life to grow and enjoy life.

What is bleak today will be a dark moment that can be forgotten and shouldn't preclude further and future happiness in particular in such a supportive environment. Your family is unique, stretched thin because of the stress but you have incredible love, patience, understanding in store too.
Your son is going to be alright if only he can see that worse happen (ok, I've actually met women that were raped, burned, dismebered by militias in Congo and came back the other side more vibrant than I could ever imagine and my family worked with survivors of the Rwanda genocide) and yet tomorrow is still a better day. Killing himself will have no real weight on these bullies' lives but it will have on him and his family and in a way his duty is to you, the folks that love him and will survive him.

Of course if he is depressed, he may not see this yet, so let's travel... let's put some room between that world and real life and find an appropriate medication that can help stabilize his mood if/when needed.

I don't do 'hate', my family doesn't do 'hate' but if we do not stand up when we see it, we are accomplices... We teach our kids to intervene, run for an adult, call with their cell phone so we can make this world a better place when abuse take place but I also hope they will never face such meanness and evil in their daily life.

The laws exists but sadly the culture is not there yet, and that's kudos for Europe, I spent some time in France, Belgium, Switzerland and oh how these problems seems antiquated...

I feel your pain, the sense of inadequate answers provided by the world at large around you, and I wish I could be close by and help in anyway you need.

Be courageous, and take some solace in the fact that plenty of people care, do make a difference, and want to help.

If you find a way for us to have more impact, please share it.

In any case, this open letter already may make a difference, it showcase a beautiful soul that we all want to be closer to; Thank You.
aatln
Nov. 6th, 2012 05:28 am (UTC)
The world that we live in. My kind, sweet, and beautiful niece was bullied through middle school because she was kind, sweet, beautiful and had an opinion. The other girls didn't like it. She made it through middle school and is now a well-rounded high school student; happy and content. Your story is all too familiar. The world has hope as long as there are people like your son living in it.

kita0610
Nov. 6th, 2012 05:44 am (UTC)
I love you.
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( 135 comments — Leave a comment )

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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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