Anthony Carter

Did I Sign a Youth Death Sentence?

Filed By Anthony Carter | March 21, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: bullying, gay youth, safety

I am a cowardly murderer.

lawrence_king_08.jpgI stood by watching the hate and homophobia of the world devour our youth and did nothing to prevent it. I could have spoken up. I could have screamed. I could have demanded they take me.

Like Sophie, I could have done the unthinkable and offered to sacrifice what I hold most dear. I could have produced my play The Other Larry King Is Dead. What I did was do nothing.

My hands are bloody and my heart is heavy. I foolishly thought that the world didn't want to hear about a young boy's murder. I foolishly believed that the world was not ready and didn't need the complex dialogue required to understand and prevent the murder of our young gay brothers and sisters. I thought, we thought, someone else would take care of it.

My play went unproduced.

My refusal to display my thinking and outrage kept me safe and all the torments of childhood at bay. No play equaled not having to dredge up all the mockery and scapegoating of my youth. In not putting out the work, I was safe, our kids were not.

We have to get in the game. At this point, lives are being snuffed out and every one wants to offer a heartfelt apology for what could have been done.

Young people, please reach out. Find an older person and demand that they listen.

Older persons, shut the hell up and offer assistance and recognition that sometimes things do suck. People are ignorant and cruel and occasionally downright stupid. We have to take responsibility for our young people.

We can no longer depend on people to do what is right and then feign shock when it doesn't occur.

We all have our versions of not putting out our work. Where are the groups that cater to young people's self esteem and life skills? Where are all the religious zealots who love to quote the Bible and yet pretend that God allows discrimination? Where were the adults, the educators who could clearly see what was going on with Larry King and yet thought it would blow over and get better if there was no attention drawn to it?

I am an educator and an artist. Every day in a number of ways, I am presented with opportunities to be complicit with domination, coercion, and foolishness or to take a stand.

Taking a stand is risky and uncomfortable. Witnessing danger that leads to death and doing nothing is heart crushing.


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Thank you for writing this... we need to be brave when it comes to saving/supporting our youth and really, there is no more important issue for LGBTQ people... IMO far beyond marriage equality and DADT.

But just one point, Larry King was just as likely to be trans and female identified as a gay boy. It was really when Larry went to school cross-dressed that Larry's life became intolerable. While I don't want to assign identities neither of us know for certain, I also don't want the trans and transphobic aspects of this case to be made invisible.

Anthony Carter | March 21, 2011 3:33 PM

Thank you so much. I am planning to write a piece on the trans identity regarding bravery and the struggles that I have witnessed by members of this community first hand..

It's true - it's easy to ignore the youth, especially if we don't have children. What's particularly needed, tho, isn't just speaking for them but interacting with them. Volunteer with a local group that provides them with a safe space.

So will you write the play now?

Anthony Carter | March 23, 2011 12:17 PM

Bil,

The play has already been written. I wrote it the minute I read the story in March of 2008. Now it most definitely needs to be produced..