An Open Letter To Parents’ Voice: Stop the Bullying

March 1, 2012 at 5:06 am  •  Posted in From The Editor, Public Acceptance by  •  1 Comment

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.


Reive Doig


Read the article about Parents’ Voice here

See the Anti-bullying Pink Project 2012 video here


One Comment

  1. Miriam / March 14, 2012 at 4:25 am / Reply

    When I was in school, eiefdrfnt was bad, conformity ruled. Most of the male students I went to school with had a philosophy that if you were a guy and you danced you were gay. Bullying was a natural part of life and NO ONE did anything more than tell me to ignore them. My own brother use to call me gay boy and worse all the time. The ironic thing is that at a very young age, 3rd grade, I knew that I was straight. The problem was I did not act macho enough for the other boys. Oh sure girls liked that I was more understanding but boys saw this as a weakness and the bullying was horrendous. IT DOES GET BETTER! Now I work in the NYC school system. Each year I am responsible for the Anti Bullying bulletin board at my school and teach the Respect for All component to my students. I have vowed that I will be a voice for ANY student who is victimized in my school and I feel it is truly a safe space. While I cannot change the way some of my students feel about certain issues, I can change how they act on those feelings. I hope that my small part in this collective called life has helped at least one student.

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