As states and school districts work to stem a tide of anti-gay bullying in American schools, a powerful group is out to stop them. The Religious Right has been leading a concerted effort to stop programs that seek to protect LGBT youth from bullying and to deny that the problem of anti-gay bullying exists. Today, People For the American Way released a report exposing the Religious Right's pro-bullying efforts and the myths it is using to promote them.
The report, Big Bullies: How the Religious Right is Trying to Make Schools Safe for Bullies and Dangerous for Gay Kids, can be found online at http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/big-bullies-how-the-religious-right-trying-to-make-schools-safe-for-bullies-and-dangero
"The anti-anti-bullying movement sounds like a joke, but it's frighteningly real. The Religious Right is desperately trying to protect bullies and further marginalize gay and gay-perceived kids by stopping efforts to make schools safe for every child," said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. The Right's anti-anti-bullying effort relies on four central strategies, according to the report:
- The Indoctrination Myth: Religious Right activists claim that anti-bullying policies will result in "homosexual indoctrination" in schools.
- The "Special Rights" Smear: Opponents claim that recognizing and confronting the problem of anti-gay bullying amounts to granting "special rights" to LGBT kids.
- Playing the Victim: The Religious Right has tried to turn the realities of school bullying on their head, claiming that anti-gay bullies are the real victims, and gay rights groups the real bullies.
- Blaming the Victim: In the crudest part of the anti-anti-bullying effort, Religious Right activists are trying to blame the gay rights movement and gay kids themselves for anti-gay bullying.
"The pro-bullying movement shows just how far the Religious Right is willing to go to stop the recognition and acceptance of gay people at every level of society, and to paint themselves as the victims of the gay rights movement,” said Keegan. "The real bullies are the adults who are willing to hurt kids in order to push a political agenda of intolerance and exclusion."