Interesting how two newspapers publish, within a week of each other, identical anti-gay opinion pieces blaming gays for the suicides of gay teens.
The most widely-read of these so far has come from the increasingly far-right Washington Post (aka Kaplan Test Prep), whose neocon(federate?) editor Fred Hiatt saw fit, on National Coming Out Day, to turn over valuable "On Faith" Op-Ed real estate to the rabidly homophobic Tony Perkins of the amusingly misnamed "Family Research Council" so he could blame "the homosexual movement" for these kids’ deaths:
Perkins links to a February 2002 American Psychologist article, which reported on the "results of several breakthrough studies are offering new insights on gay men, lesbians and bisexuals." While Perkins is right, "Several studies suggest that gay men, lesbians and bisexuals appear to have higher rates of some mental disorders compared with heterosexuals," he’s totally wrong that these rates have nothing to do with discrimination. In fact, the article immediately goes on to report that "[d]iscrimination may help fuel these higher rates." The article reported: "In a study that examines possible root causes of mental disorders in LGB people, [Susan] Cochran [PhD] and psychologist Vickie M. Mays, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, explored whether ongoing discrimination fuels anxiety, depression and other stress-related mental health problems among LGB people. The authors found strong evidence of a relationship between the two." Several other studies back up this finding.
But at least Tony Perkins was willing to sign his name to that garbage. Not so the editorial staff of The Daily Targum, Rutgers’ student newspaper, which on October 5 pushed a very similar piece of unsupported "blame the victims" crapola:
The death of University student Tyler Clementi might have been properly mourned if it were not for the massive rallies and aggressive news coverage that altered the nature of the situation. The truth is that an 18-year-old boy killed himself – he was a student just like the rest of us, someone just trying to receive an education. Yet people’s relentless agendas took his death and turned it into a cause based on false pretenses.
Hello?!? He was gay, he was spied on and secretly filmed making love by people he thought were his friends, and when they publicly humiliated him by posting the video for everyone with internet access to see, he jumped off the George Washington Bridge. What part of that is best shoved under the rug, you dipwads?!?
Fortunately, the Targum’s readers aren’t as bigoted as its editorial staff. Here, for instance, is part of one reader’s brilliantly, acidly sarcastic response:
Perhaps Rutgers fine student paper could follow this up with a piece on how rape victims deserve what they get, since they were probably flaunting their sexuality by wearing short skirts.
This could be followed with a few days on a nice editorial justifying lynching of Blacks, especially if they happened to look at a white woman and acknowledge her existence while walking down a public street.
I am certain that with a little research you could even come up with some nice editorials on how all the Black and Hispanic and poor who tried to buy homes over the past decade are the real cause of the impending total collapse of the housing industry and and home values in America, since clearly illegally executed loans lacking required documentation, all folded into toxic securities in a fraudulent manner that has left a huge percentage of mortgages totally lacking proof of what bank owns them had nothing to do with the situation.
Oh, and while we’re at, maybe you could write an nice editorial explaining the justified position of the right wing Christian fundamentalists who consider it a holy act to murder abortion providing doctors.
The fact that remarkably similar "blame the victims" pieces have appeared in two separate publications, one with a national focus and reach, within a week of each other, makes me wonder if there isn’t a coordinated sub rosa push by homophobic groups to use this version of "blame the victims" as their standard defense when called to account for making these gay kids’ lives so miserable that they felt taking their own lives was the only option left them. Keep your eyes and ears open, especially those of you on college campuses, and let us know what’s happening.