This week's issue of the Advocate leads with a cover story about Lawrence King and asks who is to blame for his death? Please review the excerpt available online and join us in our effort to refocus this conversation on the important work we are all doing to change the climate for GLBT kids in their schools and communities.
For those who are interested in the complete article we are discouraging the purchase of this issue and suggest you stop by your local book store or newstand to read it. It is not available on line at this time.
If you would like to be a published signatory of the following letter simply e-mail including your organizational name as you would like it to appear. The letter will be posted to our website and updated several times a day. On Friday morning, March 28th we will send the completed letter to the Advocate with a request that they take the time to feature the good works of our organizations rather than writing articles which imply that perhaps our GLBT youth are safer in the closet.
TransYouth Family Allies Board of Directors
Kim Pearson, Shannon Garcia, Amy G., "Just Evelyn", Bruce Parker, Jamison Green, and Andrea James
Letter to the Advocate after the jump.
To the Advocate:
We, the undersigned organizations, wish to respond to the article "Mixed Messages" by Neal Broverman in the April 8, 2008 issue of The Advocate. The front cover of the magazine asks: "Who's to blame? We told Lawrence King he had the right to express his sexuality. Did we send him to his death?"
We feel the article discusses an important topic in an unnecessarily provocative way. The undercurrent of blame in the line of questioning posed to activists and administrators is unproductive and seems to be a cynical ploy to increase Advocate readership and revenue.
It's unfair in the wake of this murder to ask those people working to make schools safer to second-guess their work. While incidents like this remind us of the climate that leads to violence against LGBT youth, that climate is where the blame lies.
Thoreau wrote, "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." Rather than pointing fingers and using inflammatory language, we wish to bring focus back to the root of this problem.
As groups united in the struggle to make schools safe for all youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, we say there is no "mixed message" here:
- The blame does not lie with Lawrence King.
- The blame does not lie with those working to make schools safer.
- Allowing intimidation and violence to force youth to suppress their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression will only prolong the struggle to end that violence.
Other youth will be taunted, harassed, intimidated, beaten, and even killed before this struggle ends. None of them will be to blame, either. Those who tell them it's OK to be gay, and those who advocate for LGBT youth are not to blame. Rather than finding fault with them, we hope this incident will motivate everyone to work with us to change the climate in schools.
Our unified message: this climate of fear must stop, so all youth learn to respect diversity rather than fear and hate it. Those who wish to join us in this struggle can learn how to help by contacting any of the organizations below.