Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Ultimate Price for Atypical Gender

It's not been a good week for gender atypical boys this week.

First the awful news from California that 15 year old Lawrence King had been shot in the head and killed by fellow student, 14 year old Brandon McInerney because he was effeminate.

Read the LA Times Story here

This murder has resulted in a huge outcry from the LGBT community against the hatred and bigotry that encourages anti-LGBT attitudes.

Lori Jean from the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s Jeff Griffith Youth Center said, "Such hatred and bigotry must be learned. It is learned in families that don’t accept their own children if they’re different than the norm. It is learned in right-wing churches where ministers preach abomination or in schools where teachers and administrators don’t protect LGBT kids from bullying and harassment."

Before you start to protest that "this is America," let me assure you that the same issues exist in the UK, however sexual orientation or gender identity are seldom recorded or questioned when children are stabbed or bullied, yet the same bullying goes on 60% of children grow up in homes where that same same bigotry and hatred exist.

Which is why it is saddening and sickening to read of the suicide last Monday night of Cameron McWilliams a 10 year old boy from Doncaster who wanted to be a girl.

Read the Telegraph article about Cameron McWilliams here

The reports in a number of papers focus on the inquest on Friday where details emerged of a young, somewhat isolated, boy who often wore his sisters underwear to school and as a result had been "teased" by other children.

Surely it is time to realise that teasing is not the right term. Teasing is bullying and it is not appropriate. Until schools start to realise the serious consequences of the targeting of children for gender atypical behaviour or appearance and take firm action against the "teasing", these suicides will continue.

What has also emerged from this inquest is that Cameron was well aware of the recent publicity about the spate of suicides by young people in Bridgend, which may have influenced him. Sadly there have been two more connected suicides by young people this week taking the total to 16 in less than a year.

There is little support for parents or children when it come to atypical gender. If you or someone you know does need any help, Mermaids is an charity for trans youth and provides some excellent information on Gender Identity Issues in Children and Adolescents here.

If the events of the past week act as a catalyst for change there perhaps their young lives will not have been in vain, unfortunately noticing that the anti discrimination legislation due to have been enacted on December 21st has still not been represented to parliament two months later I will not hold my breath. Regrettably I suspect that a few more innocent lives will be lost before the government has the balls to tackle these problems.

Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

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