As most of us know, last Thursday was National Coming Out Day. In the past couple of years, National Coming Out Day has been established as a day to not only disseminate the message that it’s okay to come out, but also to commemorate those that have been bullied and victimized in a hate crime. This past week, in light of this event, Ann Coulter, tweeted:
Last Thursday was national “coming out” day. This Monday is national “disown your son” day.
Not that the author/columnist/political commentator isn’t notorious for these types of jarring and outlandish comments, but this is not being taken lightly in the LGBT community. GLAAD responded with a post this Tuesday addressing the tweet and noted some unsettling statistics. They wrote:
Approximately 50% of LGBT youth experience some degree of family rejection. There are as many as 100 thousand homeless LGBT youth on our nation’s streets, and it’s estimated that LGBT youth make up as much as 40% of our nation’s homeless youth population. LGBT youth who are completely rejected by their parents are more than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide. Pretty funny, right?
The issue with the tweet was not just that it was offensive, it is actually too true. This is not a topic to be taken lightly. People need to stop joking about these real life struggles that LGBT everywhere face. If we stopped laughing and started acting to support these brave people, they would not have to feel abandoned or rejected by their families or by society.
Today, in fact is, Spirit day. According to glaad.org, “Spirit Day is annual day in October when millions of Americans wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.” Many supporters and organizations participated in Spirit day such as, Facebook, the NBA, “Good Morning America,” “E! News,” “Chelsea Lately,” and American Apparel.
The point is, that we need more people to recognize and try to solve the social problems that face the LGBT community instead of laughing at it. Once this is acknowledged as a serious issue, the space outside of the closet can be one step closer to becoming a more sensitive and welcoming environment. Under the Obama administration, we have seen great strides in progress for anti-bullying legislation. In August, President Obama endorsed the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which protects LGBT students against hate crimes, many of which that can be caused by Ann Coulter’s ill-thought-out and sensational tweets. According to the Washington Blade, this bill proposes that:
Both pieces of legislation address bullying in different ways. SNDA would prohibit and harassment in public elementary and secondary schools based on a student’s actual or perceived LGBT status. SSIA would require schools to adopt anti-bullying codes of conduct and submit to states data to the Department of Education on bullying.
The LGBT community needs a president that will be outright in support for such legislation, not waiver and flip-flop, such as candidate Governor Mitt Romney.