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21 July 2008

Comments

Ben

This article really highlights the need for education on these issues. People fear what they don't understand, and acting from a place of fear leads to little but tragedy. If people understood gender identity + gender expression + sexuality + some rudimentary psychology, people would encounter the Lawrence Kings of the world with a hug and a chuckle. Not a glare and a gun.

James

I am shocked that Newsweek is reporting this so one-sided. I will have to pick up a copy on the way home or read it online. It's so sad. I feel for this little boy, but I think that someone should have been there for him, to guide him.

I have told some of the children I work with who have come out to me to hold tight until they finish school -- then they can be and do whatever they want.

taylor Siluwe

Well said Ben ...

After reading the article, I now know Larry's loss to our community and the world is a great one. He seemed like an amazing character -- and to be so outspoken and sure of himself at that young age meant he surely would've gone very far.

And when he said, "One day I'll be famous", had not this incident occurred I think he would have been.

Larry's father is understandable lashing out and trying to blame Epstein, when Larry clearly was his own 'man'. I'm sure that will become clear in the trial.

But I think its a great piece by Newsweek, which ended on a note that made me cry -- literally giving his heart away on Valentines Day.

For those who believe Larry was harassing boys anymore than all boys and girls harrass each other in grammer school and high school is just delusional. The only difference here is the gay thing -- which somehow, in some little minds, makes it so much worse and something we need to sit down and "talk about."

That article has me so emotional right now I don't know what to do with myself......

Derrick from Philly

Even if Larry had been quiet, respectful, and unassuming-- he have still been harrassed. His flamboyance was his defense mechanism. Every gender role non-conforming person can tell you that you get to a point where you say, "ok, if they think that was too much, now I'll really show 'em somethin' tomorrow." I remember. But the verbal & physical bashing happens to soft, sweet-hearted fem boys too. I remember.

I also remember a gay teacher (Mr Harmon) who warned gay boys (highschool), "..I've seen your new friend. I don't think he's a good influence for you. I know what it's all about, young brother"

I should have said, "bitch, if he's brave enough to be my friend, then what the hell have you got to warn him about." And the other young gay guys knew more about the "gay life" than I did--they just didn't wanna' look like Ava Gardner.

Me

I read this this morning and I was left feeling a bit confused. I wasn't sure what to think. The fact that teachers thought that the lesbian principal had an "agenda" by giving that child a safe haven pissed me off ... I'm like everybody, regardless of orientation, needs someplace they can turn. (And the comments about her "talking about her girlfriend" annoyed me too.) At the same time, I'm all for kids being themselves - but within limits. As is the case in adulthood, you have to be mindful of the disruptive nature of your behavior and the consequences it may carry, and I do feel this is something that should have been instilled in this child. (But, as Derrick said, in many cases it would not have even mattered. I was a quiet little fem kid who never bothered a soul when I was small, and still caught it from some kids.) But at the end of the day he could have had on a thong with his Target pumps, and he STILL should not have been killed. Educators have to learn to address these issues because they are now a reality they are going to face. I just hope nobody else has to die because of it.

Rob T

Derrick and Taylor are absolutely correct. If this brave boy had not have been himself, if he stayed in a shell, he still would have been harassed simply because he was different. They surely are two sides to every story, but, we clearly only saw one side in the article.

Greg G

How about that father blaming his own child for being a victim and being killed. Takes hubris to a new level.

Corey

Obviously, being a gay youngster in middle-school was not the extent of Larry's problems. A speech impediment, shoplifting at an "early age", at-home behavioral problems, ADHD and other "disorders", being bumped from home to home, and vandalism were just a "few" of the issues mentioned in the article. Like someone else said in the earlier comments, his FLAMBOYANCE was his DEFENSE MECHANISM. Unfortunately, the child fell into his own trap of LET ME TOP THIS, as the student body waited with bated breath to see "what he was going to do next". It could be that Joy Epstein was his only sense of reason or stability. No doubt she offered him advice (and perhaps a safe haven), but if she abused their relationship for her own so-called "agenda", she failed him just as much as the whole school administration did. Viewed from another angle, Epstein now finds herself right in the position a lot of us are afraid of when it comes to the gay youngins' - THE POSSIBILITY OF BEING ACCUSED OF HAVING SOME INTENTION THAT'S LESS THAN HONORABLE when (and IF) we try to mentor or help. So we don't do anything and let them bump their heads against the wall, and get their education "like we got ours". No good deed goes unpunished. I was definitely OUT at 15 in Junior High School, and while I never wore stiletto's & makeup, OUTRAGEOUSNESS was my "weapon". When I spoke up, or lashed back in defense against mistreatment, I WAS THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM. NOBODY, including my own parents, came to my defense. That was over 20 years ago in a small Kentucky town. The "kids" have so much more going on now than I ever could have imagined, but no matter how much things have changed, they've remained the same. And in this case, it's for SHAME ! ! ! !

DR

This is an outrage. This poor boy is being revictimized. The first time was when he was harassed and shot, now, it's the media. Lawrence King was only 14 years old, he was hardly some master manipulator, only a messed up, ignored and overlooked young gay man. I read the article and cannot believe the bias. Shame.

Ant P

Rod, thanks for the articles on gay youth. I am a college counselor and advisor to LGBT students at a small public college. It's great to find all these resources here.

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