Guest Blogger

A Belated Apology: Should We Accept?

Filed By Guest Blogger | March 18, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: anti-gay bullying, Google problem, Ryan Miner, Sean Carlson

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Sean Carlson is a writer and organizer from Washington, DC. Sean is the co-founder of Talk About Equality, an LGBT blog focusing on personal stories and leveraging narrative for social change.

SeanCarlson.jpgComing out was easily one of the best times of my life. One simple action filled my life with unexpected and wonderful clarity and honesty. For the first time I was truly being honest with myself and those around me. It was a fresh and invigorating time for me and was very nearly ruined by a fellow student: Ryan Miner.

The very week that I began telling my colleagues and friends, brave students at Duquesne University were attempting to start the first gay straight alliance on our Catholic campus and one student, Miner, stood in their way. He took to facebook, a brand new platform at the time, and lead the charge against the GSA with characteristic arrogance, filled our community with anti-gay animus, and even went so far as to say that gays were subhuman.

Ryan Miner almost single-handedly created a hostile and disrespectful atmosphere on our campus. Though he eventually lost, his comments helped me understand the stakes for LGBT people and provided the motivation for me to get in the game.

Now he has again taken to the internet seeking absolution:

“I did not measure my words; I did not think clearly. I made a statement in haste and words can sincerely have hurtful consequences, and that’s the message to students or anyone who uses the Internet,” Miner told Channel 4 Action News reporter Shannon Perrine in a Skype interview.

He believes it’s important to tell others to stand up for what you believe in — but to be careful about the words you use to do it.

“You have to have some principles behind you, and at that time, I just didn’t have it. It was immaturity and I’m profoundly sorry,” Miner said.

What you write on the internet lasts forever. Ryan Miner didn’t get it at the time, but now he’s starting to learn the hard way. After being fired from one job and having difficulty finding others he is finding himself in a Rick Santorum situation (just google it).

Only Ryan knows what’s in his heart now. If he has come around and now regrets his statements, not just how he posted them, then I, as someone most directly affected by his remarks, am willing to forgive him.

But absolution won't come that easy. He’s still paying for his mistakes, and rightly so. I think a demonstration of his commitment to making it right is in order. Spending a few hours volunteering at an LGBT youth center, making an It Gets Better video, or issuing a public statement about school bullying.

That, more than a surface attempt to fix his Google problem, would go a long way to making it right.


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Forgiveness has to come from those hurt. Only they can decide if they are ready to let go of the pain and turmoil he has wrought upon them. With that though forgiveness does not mean you have to forget.

Let him rot, Telling him that he is forgiven is simply making him feel better. Why would any of us care how he feels?

i don't know about accepting an apology or forgiveness, that is an individual decision by the person who has been the recipient of the abuse, but i do think that there are always 'underlying' issues that the perpetrator needs to address for himself; apologizing doesn't in and of itself work; it's a sense of false closure.

one of the things i always told my teachers when we were dealing with an issue about a student is "There is nothing wrong; only things that are missing..." it almost always bore out; when we found out what the missing information was, everything fell into place.

the one thing we can only hope is that Ryan Miner (and other like him) can confront and deal with what is missing for himself...

It didn't sound like a true apology to me. It sounded like an I'm sorry that my words are still out there... sorry that I got caught... sorry IF my words offended anyone.

Maybe his bearded old man in the sky will forgive him and make people stop remembering what he did.

Personally, I don't believe in the old man, but I strongly believe in karma.. and it's a bitch!

He needs to do something to deserve it.

I think it's important to point out that in a comment left on Sean's site, Miner admits that his positions haven't changed - his focus is on how you frame the debate. So he's not sorry for causing damage with his positions, just sorry that Google is highlighting them while he's job-searching.

They should have made him write a 10-page paper on the crimes of the Catholic Church! He's only sorry cause it's come back to haunt him and screwin' HIM over. Too bad, so sad! Dennis is right: Karma is a bitch, and Ryan is dating her!

Sandra Louise | March 19, 2011 2:08 PM

Could it be that Mr. Miner experiencing a taste of the kind of discrimination that we in the community experience when we stand up for our rights?

When we come out and proudly say we are trans, or lesbian, or gay, we are met with a lot of hostility, fired from jobs, and missed job opportunities.

That seems to be what Mr. Miner seems to be complaining about.

When we are discriminated against because of our statements and our lives, do we ask that everyone forgive us for we spoke out of turn? Hardly.

Reading the article and viewing the news report, I get the impression that Mr. Miner is profoundly sorry for getting hurt for his choice of words, but not his basic beliefs.

Well, I think that if Mr. Miners personal beliefs have not changed, then he should stand up for those beliefs. Just as we stand up for ours. And endure the results of those beliefs.

Just as I say "I out and I'm Proud! Get used to it!"

Perhaps he should say "I a homophobe! And proud of it!"

Instead of saying "I got caught. Please forgive me. *but i'm still a homophobe*"

His "apology" seems disingenuous at best.

-Sandy

At first, I thought you might be advocating for not accepting the apologies of formerly aggressive homophobes, but your questions at the end make it clear that you believe in absolution, and that the penance must fit the sin.

I agree wholeheartedly that former bullies like Miner need to come out and identify themselves as such, and then implore that others see the error of their ways through media viz a viz It Gets Betters, No H8, etc.

We must always remember that to forgive is to take the high road. So many of us suffered at the hands of folks like Miner, and forgiveness is a crucial part of self acceptance.

Response to: A Belated Apology: Should We Accept?

I have known ryan miner or ryanrminer. The majority of the the above writers' suspicion regarding the lack of sincerity in his video message is consistent with all I have witnessed around him in person this year.

I have seen him lie in order to get what he wants. Whether it's a job, special attention, or prestige, his actions are devoted to serving himself more than anything.

He is often rude, argumentative, shallow, manipulative, and outright nasty to anyone who disagrees with him, and people who have worked with him and throughout the community have shared similar experiences.

Ryan Miner has been described by former friends and employees as a "clown," a "total fake," and "completely full of himself."

Currently he has no stable job and goes drinking at night using money his parents seem to dish out to him. Here in 2011, he continues to rant about not just gays, but anyone he wishes to belittle, especially those he dislikes, or anyone who causes him an inconvenience.

This video is very disturbing, and the worst of someone playing "politician" of lying, saying things to get the vote or in this case, some kind of public sympathy so he can somehow build a name for himself and get a job.

Not only does this video fail to prov his character has changed, as it is merely a testimony, it confirms he now wants a job but can't get one. Almost suggesting that HE is the victim.

I admire the writers above and the concerns they had to share. These writers have excellent intuition in reading between the lines of ryanrminer and his clever but unconvincing "apology" video. The wording in the video seemed so carefully crafted, it actually made me wonder if those who do not know him today would realize his behavior - past and prest - shows no sense of character.

Based on Ryan Miner's behavior today, he shows no sign of being remotely sincere or considerate to others on any occasion. As long as he gets whatever he wishes, he seems to become increasingly arrogant and ALL TALK.

As someone who sees him continuing to mistreat others, I strongly advise anyone involved with Ryan Miner to take precaution. He is not someone to throw your trust into on any level.