Teens Wear Anti-Gay Shirts on Day of LGBT Bullying Awareness

In Depth

Two students at Oregon City High School in Oregon City, Oregon disrupted the high school’s observance of the LGBT Day of Silence by wearing anti-gay t-shirts to class on Friday.

According to local news channel KATU, the students actually sought out media to be interviewed, after the students were asked to remove the t-shirts or turn them inside out by a school administrator. Whatever the motives, and I have my suspicions, at the core there seems to be the usual conflation of freedom of speech with being able to create a hostile environment without consequences:

I’m not comfortable with you guys making a whole day about what you believe. So if you’re going to make a whole day out of it and not talk and have a ‘moment of silence,’ then I can wear my T-shirt.

Funny, because I sure as heck remember days in my small Texas town at a public high school which seemed to be just a wee bit devoted to what you believe (presumably, given your t-shirt symbol, a crucifix), and I also recall a principal shooting down my proposal for a Gay Straight Alliance when I tried to balance it out.

Sorry, bro, but no. You, as an evangelical Christian in America, have 364 other fucking days. You get Good Friday off, you get Christmas off, as a Catholic I remember that as long as I gave a school notice, I could get off for Ash Wednesday (or at least the morning or afternoon). You get your “totally voluntary, but we’re totally going to pressure you” prayer time at school sporting events.

When you wear t-shirts like this not on any other day but on the one day which is supposed to highlight how the dominant culture, yours, silences LGBT youth by bullying and harassment, this isn’t about you being free to express your opinions. This is about you staking a claim to the right to bully, the right to harass, the right to silence. That’s creating a hostile learning environment, and that is not your right.

But you know, good job. On this day which is supposed to be about your LGBT classmates, you made it about you. Bravo, “Gay is not OK,” dudes. You really stuck it to the always Gays-supporting Man.

Image via KATU broadcast.

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