Conservatives say gays should be bullied

It was a story that must nearly have disappeared against the ongoing drama of attempts to ensure that bankers—particularly “too big to fail” bankers—are protected, better known as the battle to raise the federal debt limit,[1] which if we could accept the veracity of President Barack Obama, would be reminiscent of Charlie Brown, Lucy, and a football, in which “the goal post will be moved again, further right. Again, and again, and again.”[2] But as tempting as yet another harangue about jobs or Obama’s malfeasance might be, the story I’m thinking of was about a law passed in California

to teach about gays and lesbians in a public school curriculum.

Advocates say the new law will teach students to be more accepting in light of the bullying that happens to gay students. It also ensures that students are taught about the contributions of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender in social studies.[3]

I have little doubt about the existence of bullying in schools, and how that bullying takes the form of gay-bashing to enforce a particular standard of conduct among school-age boys. I needed C. J. Pascoe’s book, Dude You’re a Fag,[4] to explain this aspect of my own high school experience, in which I was labeled a “fag” despite being heterosexual, because I was not athletic, not interested in sports, and more intellectually inclined.

That experience was brutal; it combines with my father’s brutality (my earliest memory is of, having whipped me on a roadside in the state of Washington, my father warning me not to get back in the car), with how I have been treated by the job market, and how I have been treated by a majority of my employers to explain in large part my situation today, where I’ve just been beaten up on too many times. It’s hard to keep getting back up when this happens so reliably that the only question is when it will happen next rather than if. In my case, and I assume for others, the damage has had lifelong effects.

But “conservatives opposed the law [on social studies curriculum], saying it would teach children to accept homosexuality.”[5] In other words, conservatives want any students who do not seek to dominate girls, who lack interest in sports, who show any interest at all in what they’re supposed to be learning, to continue to be bullied, with all the venom that kids display.

In other words, because abused kids often grow up to be abusers, conservatives advocate a society whose members are violent to whomever is more stigmatized.

  1. [1]Daniel Indiviglio, “Another Casualty of U.S. Downgrade: Too-Big-to-Fail Banks,” Atlantic, July 15, 2011,
  2. [2]Joan McCarter, “Obama on progressives, deficits, jobs and entitlements,” Daily Kos, July 15, 2011,,-deficits,-jobs-and-entitlements
  3. [3]Associated Press, “Push begins to overturn teaching gay history in CA,” Sacramento Bee, July 15, 2011,
  4. [4]C. J. Pascoe, Dude You’re A Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School (Berkeley, CA: University of California, 2007).
  5. [5]Associated Press, “Push begins to overturn teaching gay history in CA.”

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