Standing up to bullies

BTL Staff
By | 2006-06-22T09:00:00-04:00 June 22nd, 2006|Uncategorized|

If you were ever bullied in school, you know that it didn’t matter whether the kids who were insulting or attacking you did so because you wore the wrong clothes, had the wrong hair style, or were the “wrong” sexual orientation or gender identity.
All you knew — all any kid who is being bullied knows — is that it hurts.
Sadly, at least two Michigan Republican legislators just don’t get it. Not that it’s anything new for members of the Republican Party to be clueless on human rights issues. But when members of the party that pretends to trumpet “family values” don’t seem to give a damn about kids, it’s time to call them on their hypocrisy as well as their cluelessness.
There is a bill currently pending in our state that would protect all of Michigan’s schoolchildren by requiring school districts to adopt specific anti-bullying policies. But state Senator Wayne Kuipers (R-Holland) of the Education Committee says that, since individual school districts already have the power to create anti-bulling policies if they want to, the legislation isn’t necessary. Don’t think for a moment that Kuipers really cares about kids, though — especially LGBT kids. According to Sean Kosofsky, Kuipers told him that as long as the bill dares to include LGBT kids, as long as “the groups that are advocating for it are special groups of people,” the bill will not move in the Senate.
Kuipers is joined in his anti-child stance by Rep. Brian Palmer (R-Romeo), who chairs the House Standing Committee on Education, and has refused to schedule hearings on the bill.
Be sure to read the BTL update on this important legislation in this issue. Then give Kuipers and Palmer a call and tell them to get off their bigoted butts and support our children.
Oh, and when your child is afraid to go to school again this September, have him or her give Kuipers and Palmer a call as well. Perhaps you could even send these good public servants copies of your child’s counseling bills. Republicans, after all, understand money — even when they don’t care about kids.
It’s maddening, isn’t it? The number of non-LGBTs of whatever political persuasion who have yet to get a clue that our civil and human rights are so closely linked to theirs? Fortunately, our community is supported by an ever-growing cadre of allies who truly do “get it.” Whether they “got it” on LGBT human rights because of a personal acquaintance or just because they are socially competent, caring individuals, we at BTL are proud to have them in our corner. And we are grateful to be able to profile some of them in this issue.
Meanwhile, Pride marches on — read about Pride celebrations in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, and enjoy that warm glow that so many of us get from the knowledge that our community puts on the best parties. Finalize your plans to attend Michigan Pride in Lansing this weekend, then check out and help out the fine folks at the Rainbow House Project, who will begin to build the first-ever Michigan LGBT community Habitat for Humanity house in Ypsilanti on June 23.
Somebody better alert Kuipers and Palmer that the LGBT community is helping out the homeless, don’t you think? After all, the family that’s going to move in to the Rainbow Project house probably doesn’t care that it’s being built by gays and lesbians — they’re probably just happy that they’re going to have a roof over their heads. God forbid that they will think that, just maybe, our community’s kids deserve the same kind of love and caring that LGBT folks are showing the larger community.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.