Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Kansas: Ann Coulter & Fred Phelps live at the corner of Bigotry & Publicity streets

By Diane Silver

Another day, another cartoon by The Wichita Eagle's Richard Crowson gets right the heart of the matter.

Not only are Ann Coulter and Fred Phelps two of a kind, but these public bullies might well have an impact on the in-the-face bullies who torment schoolchildren. After all, if it's OK for people in the news to say these things, isn't it OK for someone on the playground?

I'm not talking about the normal taunting everyone faces as a kid. A 2005 study comsissioned by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network showed that the bullying faced by lesbian and gays is relentless.

Three-quarters of students surveyed across America said that over the past year they heard derogatory remarks such as "faggot" or "dyke" frequently or often at school, and nearly nine out of ten reported hearing "that's so gay" or "you're so gay" - meaning stupid or worthless - frequently or often.

Over a third of students said they experienced physical harassment at school on the basis of sexual orientation and more than a quarter on the basis of their gender expression.

Nearly one-in-five students reported they had been physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and over a tenth because of their gender expression.

...The study also showed that bullying has had a negative impact on learning.

LGBT students were five times more likely to report having skipped school in the last month because of safety concerns than the general population of students.
We end our meditation on the big-time bullies like Coulter and Phelps by heartily applauding our neighbor to the north. Iowa's governor just signed an anti-bully bill into law. Let's hope Kansas is next. Tell your lawmaker that you support the anti-bully bill currently in the state Legislature.

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