Justin Vivian Bond’s Letter to Heterosexual Americans

Sebastian’s Team Pick:

Justin Vivian Bond has a message for straight Americans about their role in antigay/antitrans bullying and in fighting antigay/antitrans bullying. It’s about responsibility and the fact that LGBTQI Americans need the help of their allies, damnit. And I know straight people make up a small percentage of our readership here at Autostraddle, and most of you probably don’t need to hear this, but if everyone could repost this, email this, share it on facebook, tweet it, +1 it (what social media am I leaving out? Hell, maybe go old school and print this and post it around your town!) maybe we can help spread V’s important words.

Jamey Rodemeyer was 14 when he decided the bullying was so bad that his life was hopeless enough to end it. Or perhaps when he let the bullies’ words get to him and started to feel like he was somehow wrong. We can’t sit by and let this continue to happen. And it’s not the queer community’s sole responsibility to stand up against homophobia and transphobia.

Here’s an excerpt of V’s letter:

“Parents and educators are allowed, even forced sometimes, to be passive in the face of shameful and outrageous behavior on the part of their charges because they have had their own hands tied by legislators and a “moral” minority who claim to represent “our” values. But remember, the civil rights movement would not have been nearly as effective if white people hadn’t joined with African Americans to create the necessary changes to end institutionalized racism. It should not only be the responsibility of the LGBTQ community to protect certain youth. It is time for YOU to stand up for and be accountable to all America’s children. Not only LGBTQ children, but all the children who are forced to live in a world of unnecessary cruelty and also—maybe even more importantly— to the bullies who are being allowed to destroy their own chances at happiness by passive adult bystanders. It is time for all Americans to come together and end homophobic and transphobic language, and to take action to protect the childhoods of ALL of our children, not just some.”

Read the rest at Justin Vivian Bond’s blog.

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Sebastian has written 16 articles for us.


  1. It’s not only America’s problem eventhough I havent heard of a similar suicide trend in Europe. Which doesnt mean the problem doesnt exist here. The education to tolerance and respect and freedom must begin much earlier than only when ppl lose their lives. Also when ppl lose their jobs, home and dignity, this means sth isnt right about the society letting it happen and go without consequences. The suicides of gay teens are tragic, I think it only shows that there always are ppl who wanna pick on others. Should it be for the skin colour, origin, religion or sexual orientation. Sounds sortof funny to talk about sexual preference referring to very young teenagers. This doesnt sound like sth that should be a problem of children. Anyway, bullying is wrong and unless we decide that it’s unacceptable and unless we find an effective way to teach it to those who dont want to accept it naturally, we’ll be dealing with broken lives. I’m sortof sceptical about finding that way, because I’m afraid it’s in the nature of ppl to attack eachother and keep looking for reasons why. However, we mustnt stop trying! Education, teaching ppl to respect yourself and others, that’s important. It’s normal that ppl have different opinions and they as well may keep it, but I believe we have brains so that we use them to find a way to search for consensus or compromise. It would be so easy to live if we all agreed on everything, but that will never happen. So we need to deal with that, as humans with decency.

  2. I have so much cognitive dissonance surrounding this topic of bullying and suicide…

    Visibility is a double edged sword.

  3. I loved this line from the letter: “Why are they forbidden to chew gum in class yet they are allowed to torture their LGBTQ classmates?” It’s so true. I went to a strict elementary school where we wouldn’t dare chew gum, turn in homework late or swear in class, but the bullying went on unabated, unchecked. I can still see the confusion and helplessness on one teacher’s face when we taunted our classmate. She didn’t know what to do, or if she was allowed to do anything. We were Catholic kids and knew that using God’s name in vain was bad, but they never taught us anything in Sunday school about loving the weirdos.

    Also, I have convinced five straight people in the last year to start reading Autostraddle, so.

  4. I feel like enough intelligent thought provoking stuff has been said that I can skip that part (whilst agreeing with all of you) and ask when did they add the ‘I’?! I only just got used to LGBTQ. I like the Q. I think it makes it pop and is fun to say. We got used to each other, we bonded, and now I can’t imagine LGBT without the Q…

    But what does the ‘I’ mean?!?! WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

    This is what happens when you don’t register for the lesbogay new letter that comes with the welcome pack :(

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