Dear Gordon World of Parents’ Voice,
I’m writing this open letter to you about your recent statements to the media, and I’m posting this letter on the website which I edit, Erotic Vancouver, and also on Facebook; I’m doing this because months ago when I wrote to you privately about your role in Parents’ Voice I received no response. In the parlance of bullying awareness, you gave me the silent treatment.
Gordon, I’m writing to you on this, Anti-Bullying Day, to say STOP IT. Stop bullying our kids, stop bullying our open-minded teachers, and stop bullying a school system that’s adapting to the times. Better times.
Look, I don’t know if you remember how it was back when we were in Garibaldi Secondary together, but I do. You got flack for regularly going to religious studies in the morning before even arriving at school, for being devout, and I got flack for being, well, faggy.
For years I thought we stood in solidarity, outsiders that we were, and I counted us among the lucky ones when it came to being bullied. It was clear that our parents had vested us with self-confidence–so that we stood up and recognized that the crap we were taking was just that, crap. If you’d asked me then whether kids would face that same crap twenty years down the line I’d have said no: because people like you and I wouldn’t stand for it, because our parents had taught us better and we in turn would teach the generation that followed.
Or so I thought. It turns out that while my parents taught me that I needed to respect all people regardless of race, religion or sexuality, your parents and your church apparently taught you that respect didn’t extend to homosexuals , that they and their supporters were worthy of being bullied or at least not deserving of protection from it.
Excuse me if I can’t get behind that creed.
The latest protestations from Parents’ Voice, specifically voiced by you, concern an anti-bullying video depicting students from various BC schools dancing to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” You stated, “They claim this sends a positive social message of acceptance of self and others. Not for overweight kids, anorexic kids or those who don’t dance well. Not those who resist their school’s promotion of Lady Gaga’s ‘sex sells’ world view.”
Did you watch that video? There are kids of all shapes and sizes there, and some of them dance little better than I remember being able to as a teen, whether at school dances or dances organized by your church. It’s a video that celebrates diversity, just as the song celebrates diversity of race and diversity of sexuality. Your attacks against it are for the most part bearing false witness; you don’t believe this video bullies kids of various sizes, you don’t believe it mocks bad dancers. In looking for intolerance in this video you are looking for the mote in your brother’s eye, and it simply isn’t there.
What bothers Parent’s Voice isn’t, as you suggest, that this video doesn’t send a positive message of social acceptance. It’s that Parents’ Voice doesn’t see such messages of social acceptance as positive.
Gordon, I know you’re just trying to be a fine and upstanding parent to your children, the parent your parents raised you to be. I’m not a parent myself, but I am an uncle, and I’m an activist. And my parents raised me with a voice too, and I wouldn’t shame them by being afraid to raise that voice to speak out against bigotry simply because it masquerades behind a façade of religious freedom.