Trying to make sense of the rash of gay youth suicides is an impossible mind twist. Like Ellen, Dan Savage, and all of the other It Gets Better supporters, I just want to grab every kid who thinks life is so awful and explain how they will move so far beyond the messed up situation they won't even recognize themselves.
In the meantime, one of my favorite writers, Kate Harding, has decided to take on the bullies. The people who make kids like Tyler Clementi believe they have nothing in their future but humiliation and despair. These same kids who are being defended as "good kids" even though they taped Clementi having sex and shared it with the entire world. They may not be homophobes, but they're not "good."
In fact, Kate has a perfect description of kids that take advantage of other kids and do horrible things --
Total Fucking Assholes.
I think that sums it up. I can't do justice to Kate's piece that eviscerates not just kids who behave like subhumans, but adults who brush off taunting, repeated humiliation, and general nastiness as "just kids." Harding (rightly, in my opinion) says that adults who defend bullies were probably total fucking assholes themselves. And, thus, are still total fucking assholes.
"Bullies" really is losing its power as a descriptive. If we all say what these kids really are, total fucking assholes, perhaps some shame will finally come to those who make kids like Clementi, Seth Walsh, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Phoebe Prince, and the thousands of other teen suicides feel like there is no other choice.
Go ahead, call your local bully a total fucking asshole today. See how it feels.
Image via trix0r/Flickr