i am wearing purple tomorrow, october 20. k-state is not playing that i’m aware of. i am wearing purple because, as a follower of Jesus, i want to see an end to bullying of all kinds, but in particular that is directed at young people because of their sexuality, perceived or otherwise. specifically, 6 gay young men have recently taken their lives because of homophobic bullying, but the “spirit day” event is intended to show solidarity with all lgbt youth.
to be clear, i am neither pro-gay nor anti-gay. (i will only say that Scripture makes statements against same-gender sexual expression that have been used to inflict a lot of pain on hurting families.) rather, i am anti-bullying. and while bullying affects both boys and girls of all sorts, there is something particularly heartbreaking about bullying that targets boys who are gay, or who do not fit the stereotypical masculine image. as someone who has devoted over half my life serving students, i believe we must step up our awareness and join the effort to end this.
here’s a scenario: a young man walks into a church youth group meeting with a friend. he has questions about his sexuality, and is considering coming out as gay. he isn’t sure what he believes about God or faith, but he is open and looking for satisfying answers. as he enters the youth room, he is introduced to the youth pastor and several friends of the person who invited him. as the kids mingle, he happens to overhear some boys his age talking about their school day. one says another, “mrs. smith wouldn’t let me make up my homework because she said i cheated – how gay is that?” the young man listens throughout the rest of the evening, but declines further invitations to church.
this situation is fictional, but it could have happened in my own youth group, or in hundreds around the country. the church must be a place where students of all types are welcomed, loved, and feel free to ask and engage. and for heaven’s sake, stop letting your students use the word “gay” as an all-purpose insult.
(very interesting discussion over at beliefnet on this event.)