Students Stand Up in Pink Solidarity for Bullied Classmate

Pinkshirts

How often does this happen?

When a freshman student showed up for the first day of class at Central Kings Rural High School in Cambridge, Nova Scotia wearing a pink shirt, he was set upon by a group of up to 10 students who called him gay and threatened to assault him.

CkrhsThe next day the bullies didn’t have a chance to repeat their actions. David Shepherd and Travis Price (above), two seniors who had witnessed the incident, showed up to school with 75 pink tank tops for students to wear as well as a pink basketball and material to make pink headbands and armbands, according to the Chronicle Herald. Shepard and Price handed the shirts out before the beginning of class.

Said Price: “The bullies got angry. One guy was throwing chairs (in the cafeteria). We’re glad we got the response we wanted. [The bullies] “keep giving us dirty looks, but we know we have the support of the whole student body. Kids don’t need this in their lives, worrying about what to wear to school. That should be the last thing on their minds.”

According to the Herald, “[Shepard] said one of the bullies angrily asked him whether he knew pink on a male was a symbol of homosexuality. He told the bully that didn’t matter to him and shouldn’t to anyone. ‘Something like the colour of your shirt or pants, that’s ridiculous,’ he said. ‘Our intention was to stand up for this kid so he doesn’t get picked on…It’s my last year. I’ve stood around too long and I wanted to do something.'”

According to Shepard, when the bullied kid saw the group of kids in the pink shirts, “he was all smiles. It was like a big weight had been lifted off his shoulder.”

Are you listening GLSEN? Give these kids a medal!

‘I’ve Stood Around Too Long’ [chronicle herald]

Comments

  1. says

    How refreshing is it to know, that even in this day and age, given the opportunity, people WILL stand up and do the right thing? There’s hope fr the next generation after all, no matter what music they listen to.

    I suppose in some parallel universe, Shepard and Price would be guests on Oprah; in our universe, though, I guess she must be busy with other things.

  2. Derrick from Philly says

    Wow! Some young folks (gay and straight)are so courageous. It gives hope to even bitter old queens(comme moi). But what do you expect? They’re Canadians. There’s civilized folks up there. Down here we got Oscar.

  3. Bill Perdue says

    It may have happened in Canada because gay and lesbian youth feel more empowered there, but the boldness and clarity of gay and lesbian youth and their friends is becoming less of a rarity all the time. It’s characteristic of the emerging GLBT youth movement that US High school students bash back at antigay warmongers, that Australian youth as young as 10 years old self-confidently come out, and that a virile gay and lesbian youth culture is bubbling to the surface all over the world.

    It ‘s very much like the vast changes that took place during the youth radicalization of the 1960’s and 70’s. Young GI’s ‘in country’ and in the US joined millions of other youth in a massive, militant and ultimately successful drive to defeat the Democrat/Republican Party’s LBJ and Nixon and their unlawful war in Vietnam.
    It also help sparked the development our own movement and the fight for women’s equality and found a natural ally in the radicalization of African Americans and Latinos.
    It’s far too early to gauge the depth of the current radicalization of gay and lesbian youth but all the signs look like it’s going to shake up politics spectacularly. Old Farts (of all ages) Beware.

  4. says

    This is such a great story; I got all teary-eyed at the compassion of those athletes… I hope you are correct, Bill, in positing this as part of a widespread, global evolution of consciousness… What a wonderful world it would be…

  5. Zeke says

    I am SO impressed by these kids taking such a stand. They seriously ROCK!

    Though their actions speak well for some Canadian youth, let’s not forget that the bullies were Canadians too. They are living proof that, even in Canada, homophobia and bullying is alive and well.

  6. Leland Frances says

    When I was in grade school it was, “wearing green on Thursdays means you’re a queer.” Think about it: you were reminded of homohatred on a weekly basis throughout the school year.

    So this is great and reminds me of Cyndi Lauper’s blood-inspiring a capella performance of these classic lyrics at Equality Forum in 2005:

    “Come gather ’round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You’ll be drenched to the bone.
    If your time to you
    Is worth savin’
    Then you better start swimmin’
    Or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside
    And it is ragin’.
    It’ll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don’t criticize
    What you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin’.
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’.”

  7. the queen says

    Move over, Derrick, I’m an old queen too. You crack me up, honey. No really, this story is inspiring. I enjoyed all the comments. To answer Ivan’s question, where are the teachers? They must be in the teacher’s lounge doing whatever they do to relax. They are most certainly not where they should be and that is supervising the little darlings. And you’re right Dan, somebody like Oprah should do this story. Kisses to all!

  8. Jordan says

    I think that’s great. More students should get involved like that…especially those from the jock clique. Hopefully each younger generation will progressively get more open-minded.

    I haven’t been out of school that long, but didn’t really have much of a problem (thankfully), and it could have gone down so bad, since I could never hide being outrageously gay. Thank goodness the (very hot) captain of the football team somehow took a very keen interest in me & wanted to be my best friend (or lover? I was totally clueless then) and took up for me (thus ensuring my spot with the cool kids….that plus maybe my drug connections and non-stop shopping sprees could have helped a wee bit)

    The bullies are most likely closet-cases anyway. Homophobes are always the ones with unresolved issues. That’s so psychology 101.

  9. says

    Wow! Bravo for these kids standing up for their classmate. Brings back memories for me…

    I remember committing the then-terrible faux-pas of wearing navy shorts to the first day of jr. high school and I’m not sure I ever lived that down.

    When I was a grade school kid I definitely had my own sense of style, wearing purple pants and not understanding why other boys snickered.

  10. dave g says

    Wow, what a wonderful story!

    I must also say – what a great story to unite all the commenters on this site. So often this area is full of hatred and bitterness, yet here we have overwhelmingly unanimous support.
    Hey homos, take a lead from David and Travis and show some love! Thanks to Andy for sharing this. I am so glad you’re in my life. I Love You!

  11. dave g says

    Wow, what a wonderful story!

    I must also say – what a great story to unite all the commenters on this site. So often this area is full of hatred and bitterness, yet here we have overwhelmingly unanimous support.
    Hey homos, take a lead from David and Travis and show some love! Thanks to Andy for sharing this. I am so glad you’re in my life. I Love You!

  12. Christina says

    Fantastic stuff…it’s so great that these young people had the insight and compassion to do something positive. These kinds of acts lessen the power of hoodlums, and may in fact make them realize how ridiculous their own actions were. It’s an inspiring story, and so refreshing to have some good news for a change..it’s a cruel world, but young people like Shepard & Price show all of us what can happen when people fight for the rights of others….Hats off to both of you and to all those who participated in the cause…

  13. ECONOMISTA NON GRATA says

    “wait..i thought pink was a str8 color to wear now? arent we gays onto purple and lime green? lol”

    I am what you would refer to as str8 and have been wearing pink shirts my entire life. Yes, I have had ignorant morons try to bust my balls on more than one occassion, it’s been fun actually. However, you would not catch me wearing a purple or lime green shirt, gay, str8 or DEAD. Echhhggghhhh….! Might as well wear burgundy… 😉

    Econolicious

  14. Lady Heather says

    You might want to read this story as well:

    http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/Alberta/2007/09/13/4492502-sun.html

    At first, I was irritated by this comment:
    “Phair also said he believes a number of gay and lesbian Americans are attracted to Calgary because of the big oil companies in the city, and a more tolerant attitude compared to some U.S. states.”

    I thought, how the hell would he know? Has he ever lived in the States? A bit arrogant.

    But the more comments I read on this site from gay men in the USA, the more I believe it may be true.

    (And no, I am not gay)

  15. John says

    As someone who was relentlessly bullied throughout school for a sort of unpopularity trifecta–fat, poor, AND gay–this story literally brought tears to my eyes. I’m pretty cynical (it’s part of my charm) but stuff like this melts my tar-covered, deep-frozen heart in an instant. If those students happen to be reading this: thank you.

  16. j-m says

    As a gay male, I am proud of these students. The responded on principle with dignity and humanism. Bullies are a disgrace to mankind and one should stand up to them whenever possible. We are all human beings dispite our sexual orientation and no one has the right to harm a human being for being who they are. If pink is such a girly color, why do business men (heteros and gays alike) wear that color in ties? Stand up to bigots, conservatives who are braindead and for your right to be who you are! Peace!

  17. says

    While I admire the pluck of these kids for standing up to bullies, I’m just curious where the _actual_ gay angle here is. Like the boys told the bullies, it didn’t matter about the gay subtext, this was basically about clothes. I didn’t read that the boys said anything about respecting gays at all. “Kids don’t need this in their lives, worrying about what to wear to school. That should be the last thing on their minds.” That doesn’t sound like this is about defending gay teens to me at all.

  18. says

    It’s about solidarity in resistance to bullying, RSL. If you don’t consider that to be incredibly important to GLBT Youth I really don’t know what to say to you.

    Well actually I DO but this story has put me in too good a mood.

  19. Wes says

    I could never imagine anything like this happening in my old high school. Anyone who wasn’t gay simply didn’t have the courage or desire to stand up for those who were.

    This is very encouraging to see. I wish it happened more often.

  20. banky says

    Those of you who think this happened due to Canada’s (perceived)greater open mindedness about GLBT issues need to keep in mind the immense size of this country.

    Small-town Nova Scotia IS NOT a place where “gay and lesbian youth” are likely to “feel more empowered” as one poster put it.

    More power to these kids who live in a place where such ignorance is common place, and not Toronto.

  21. says

    Proud to be Canadian too, Landis. I’m amazed when Americans say that they live in the “greatest country” on earth. But I’m humble enough to say that I live in one of the greatest countries on the planet. Go Nouvelle Ecosse, Go!

  22. dd says

    That’s amazing. That made me feel great, it’s great to see there’s young people out there to care about issues like discrimination and want to do something about it specially in high school.

  23. Bill Perdue says

    The defining characteristics of the global radicalization of GLBT youth are ubiquity, connectivity and audacity.

    It’s not limited to metropolitan centers or to ‘advanced’ nations – it truly is global. It’s connectivity via the internet and news media gives it an unprecedented scope and a quick response time. Around the globe young gay and lesbian activists and their allies initiate struggles and support each others struggles. That explains why groups of Mexican and Taiwanese GLBT youth will soon demonstrate outside Nicaraguan embassies in their respective capitals against stern Nicaraguan antigay laws: why young EU, north American and Japanese activists launched a massive campaign to save Pegah Emambakhsh, and won; how Italian GLBT youth and others organized mass kiss-ins defying the police arrests at the Coliseum; why there so many GLSEN/GSA high school chapters in towns big and small in the US; how young Iranian gays and lesbians organize in the face of legal lynchings; why the GLBT movement is winning unprecedented victories in many Latin American nations; Etc…Etc…Etc.

    It explains why they come out when they reach puberty and why they’re so level headed about internalized homophobia and bigotry.

    Unhappily, THE defining characteristic of youth movements is that they’ll have to graduate from the school of hard knocks before their impact begins to fundamentally alter the political landscape. Ouch!

  24. LALIA says

    I sent an email to Oprah telling her she should put these boys on her show. If a bunch of people sent similar emails, perhaps we’d see this story go international and inspire more of this type of courage and compassion. Good news stories about teens are so great to hear.

  25. me says

    I know Nova Scotia pretty well, it’s no more tolerant than comparable U.S. areas like northern New England. Gay bashing occurs regually in Montreal, Boston and New York andI’ve seen some pretty wild gay scenes in southern red states so be careful stereotyping. Speaking of stereotyping, someone posted a rant about the the gay rights movement being comparable to African American civil rights movement and self appointed and described radical Hispanic groups. Some of the most homophobic people I’ve ever encountered haven’t been white skinheads; they’ve been everyday African Americans and Latinos/Latinas. Nice try.

  26. UAFA says

    Well, homophobia may still exist in Canada, but at least Canadian gays have the law behind them.

    Unfortunately, this is the type of story that will not be found in the US for another 15 years.

    The US has always been behind in terms of Civil Rights compared to the Canadians; just look at women’s rights, black rights, and gay rights.

  27. UAFA says

    Well, homophobia may still exist in Canada, but at least Canadian gays have the law behind them.

    Unfortunately, this is the type of story that will not be found in the US for another 15 years.

    The US has always been behind in terms of Civil Rights compared to the Canadians; just look at women’s rights, black rights, and gay rights.

  28. Mark says

    If there were two young people like David Shepherd and Travis Price in every community, it would be a fantastic world. The courage and compassion that they demonstrated in the face of ignorance has left me feeling renewed in spirit. To shun complacency and take a stand is a very clear demonstration of a strength of character to which we should all aspire. The old adage “actions speak louder than words” has never had a clearer demonstration. I am bursting with pride as a Canadian but more so as a human being. Every human should be proud. Bravo David, Travis and the Pink Shirt Brigade.

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  30. Clarissa from MRHS says

    okay, to those boys who did this; ca i get your e-mail, at my school we’re doing a presentation on bullying/assult. we’ve been trying to get a hold of you for a while now, and haven’t had much luck, thanks.

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