I admit it, I crossed over; I like Glee. But I’m not a super die hard fan where I watch every episode or even know the kids names–baby steps, baby steps. But last night as I watched the episode, one of the cheerleaders–in a diner scene–turns to the other and says, “Do you know that a dolphin is just a gay shark?” Personally, I didn’t find any humor in this joke and I thought it was lame. Then I saw tweets flying around quoting this line on twitter with the following hash tags #glee #gay #true. Now, I love me a good gay joke, in fact, I’ll be the first to crack one in a crowd–wait, was that just a fart joke? Anyway, this Gay Glee joke bothered me and I wasn’t sure why. Was it because it was geared at a young audience and kids can be some of the cruelest people on the planet and will take a joke like that as “permission” to make fun of gays? A mature person can take the joke–any joke–take the humor from it–laugh, then go on with their day. A certain kind of kid though, will take a joke like that, and make it their mission (in order to gain acceptance) to use it against another kid. And just how do I know? Child, I was the object of people’s jokes, pranks, and cruelty growing up in Texas and it just made me scratch my head at how this simple Glee Gay joke could bring harm onto kids that are going through a hard time in school seeking acceptance.
But I thought, Nando, you’re taking it too far–and the Gays already have Rosie O’Donnell for that, so I went to bed and dreamed of shiny hair and white teeth–what? Don’t judge. But this morning when I woke up and checked my e-mail, I found the story of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover who brought his life to an end last year after enduring relentless harassment and cruel bullying at school–he was 11-years-old. When I say, I understand what he went through, I really can. From daily chants of “faggot” to hourly taunts of being called homo, fag, FagNando–I know it all too well. It started in elementary school and it followed me for the rest of my school life. I’d wake up in the mornings with tears streaming down my chubby cheeks, because I knew what the day had in store for me. I’d either get hit, knocked around, or just teased–at every corner. It was a miserable time for me and I only wish Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover would have hung in there a bit longer to realize that it gets better. This is the first time ever, that I’ve written about this personal issue because it’s a topic that can be embarrassing but I’ve learned that accepting myself in life has been a beautiful journey but its been a tough road.
Am I asking for everyone to stop watching Glee? Nope. But just that we think about how our kids will take these jokes and proccess them. I think we all know a Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover in our lives and there’s no need for another one to take their precious little lives over school bullying or even cyber bullying. I hope you take an extra two minutes and sign the petition that little Carl’s mom sent out this morning to help STOP BULLYING in our schools. Click here to sign a petition to support safe schools legislation.
And Carl, I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed someone to tell you that things would get better for you, sweetie. I can only hope that others will see how precious you were to us, even though I never knew you–and they help stop this from ever happening again. Your life was not in vein, little one.