Comments

  1. Matt26 says

    Very inspirational. For once those people in power needed to listen to someone that young and so much smarter. I see a bright future for this smart young boy. He has done already more than majority of others, stood up for sth he believes. A guide line to all of us.

  2. VAVA says

    @TANK: While I think it’s unfortunate you chose to dwell on one statistic from the entire speech – I do believe if you include the worldwide community of 6 billion people, there is a large global suicide rate of homosexuals. Could be less, could be more than 6 million. We’ll never know.

  3. TANK says

    Large isn’t six million. And if we’ll never know…why say it? I think we can know, we can guess that a disproportionate number of teens who commit suicide each year in the u.s. are lgbt..somewhere between 4 and five thousand.

    So why not just say a billion? One billion gay people killed themselves last year alone…ten billion gay people committed suicide last year. One hundred and fifty billion gay people committed suicide last year alone. Oh, and this doesn’t make me a dick.

  4. Amanda Williamson says

    This student did not only an amazing thing for himself but an amazing thing for that whole community by stepping out for this teacher! What makes you even question the fact to not punish this teacher? What did he do wrong by stopping the bullying? I find this student to be just one of the several people we need in this world to help the GLBT community!

  5. Craig says

    @Tank. You know, really. If a single human being kills himself because of bullying, it is a tragedy. What is your problem?

    You want lies with numbers? You want made up stats? Worry about your buds the Republicans and talk radio. Leave the kid alone. Get a life. You are a truly sad, disgusting feature of human life: the troll. Grow a pair and get out of your pajamas and get a freaking life.

  6. says

    For being just 14 years old this kid is amazing. With more young people speaking up like this – especially with the Internet ready and willing to promote their efforts, we may just see an end to hatred and discrimination of gay people. We can only hope but people like this 14-year old are paving the road ahead. Big applause for this kid!

  7. Philwin says

    I posted for the first time on this site a couple of weeks ago re: Jim Swilley. So maybe you all can help me understand something. What/who is “Tank?” My first impression is he is an obviously self-hating, uninformed fool. But my second guess is he is just a stooge straw man posting to stimulate discussion. Is he for real? If it is the latter, it is not a very effective ploy because his posts are so blatantly foolish. Just wondering what you think the deal is.

  8. TampaZeke says

    Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen the future of gay America and it is frickin AWESOME!

    These kids are Amazing. How courageous, how intelligent, how articulate! They give me hope and the give me inspiration to fight another day.

  9. julie says

    way to go! the student speaker and his teacher seem very special. what, a preteen got a statistic wrong/ Focus on the truth of what he spoke from the heart, and not the number/ too high approximation. LGBT youth account for a very large proportion of suicides.

  10. Mike in the Tundra says

    @Philwin Unfortunately, Tank is real. Self loathing hardly begins to describe what’s going on there. He does seem to be intelligent. Over the past couple of weeks, we learned that he is thirty. He considers thirty to be the end of the road for gay men. He only measures his self worth in his physical appearance. He seems to ignore his intelligence, and I must admit the personality leaves a lot to me desired. It appears that the only worth he sees in other men is their physical appearance. I have never seen him mention a man’s intelligence, personality, or love making ability. I fervently hope I’m wrong about all of that.

  11. says

    Here’s what dictionary.com has to say about ‘tank':

    –noun
    1. a large receptacle, container, or structure for holding…gas.

    –verb (used without object)
    7. Slang. to do poorly or decline rapidly; fail: The movie tanked at the box office.

    —Verb phrase
    8. tank up,
    b. Slang. to drink a great quantity of alcoholic beverage, esp. to intoxication.

    —Idiom
    9. go in the tank, Boxing Slang. to go through the motions of a match but deliberately lose because of an illicit prearrangement or fix; throw a fight.

  12. Gregoire says

    Tank livens up the conversation. He’s like a dead, diseased fly you might find in your martini. It’s never appropriate, but it makes you value a real martini all that much more.

  13. Henry Holland says

    Hey Towleroad, could you at least give the brave young man the courtesy of spelling his name correctly? It’s my favorite male name, GRAHAM, not Graeme.

  14. SFNative says

    This kid is beyond wonderful and inspiring, and his bravery shines a bright hope for our future. At the same time, he says that an estimated six million gay people kill themselves every year, and I would like to know the source of this statement, as that number seems a bit implausible (32,637 total Americans committed suicide in 2005 per suicide.org). I certainly do not negate his entire speech for this, but no matter how well-intentioned the speaker, incorrect facts may adversely affect even the hardiest of credibility, and we must treat our messages with utmost care in order to mitigate the potential for misfortune and keep beautiful and courageous messages like his pure and standing.

  15. mad1026 says

    Oh, Anastasia, I love you, purely platonically, you understand. Tank seems to be a self-loathing 15-year-old who could learn from Mr Taylor; defend your friends, don’t disparage them. Mr Taylor should give us all hope for the future. And BKG, why are you so threatened by a 14-year-old? Skeletons in YOUR closet? Just askin’.

  16. Jason says

    Tank is the resident site troll-one with the emotional intelligence of a junior high school girl.

    His disgusting hubris comes from a self-concept that tells him he is young and attractive on the outside.

    However, on the inside he is a scared and angry little boy who exploits Towleroad to vent his sadness and anger on the older and unattractive because he knows he will be joining their ranks very soon.

    Tank might be a bitch…but so is karma…and what goes around comes around…

  17. Collin says

    Serious question here. The info about the video says that the boy is sticking up for his teacher, yet on the video he seems to say that he goes to a different school, and that Mr. McDowell is known through his father.

    Correction?

  18. Joe says

    This kid is amazing.

    I’m only 7 years older than him and I cannot possibly imagine being out at that age and speaking about our community like this. This is what progress looks like and gives me real hope for the future.

  19. TANK says

    Well, this certainly turned into a comments section about me. For that, I apologize. It’s not about me, at all. I am very proud of this kid. He shows more balls than men in their fifities–more balls than jim swilley has EVER SHOWN. He’s fighting the good fight. I just have a thing for accuracy, and accuracy may not matter to a lot of people…but it will always matter to me.

    TANK:

    •an enclosed armored military vehicle; has a cannon and moves on caterpillar treads.

    an armored, self-propelled combat vehicle, armed with cannon and machine guns and moving on a caterpillar tread.

    ————

    That’s what’s meant by it as everyone who knows me will tell ya, since I’ve been twelve, which is when I got it. Papa was the first to call me…that. And papa and I don’t relate…but he’s a military guy…and that’s all I have to about that. Of course, it’s not what I think of myself; it’s what people think of me…for better or worse.

  20. Steve says

    I think its likely that in the heat of the moment the kid mis-spoke about the number of people who committed suicide. He spoke of the silent holocaust and I think he simply got the numbers confused with those who died in the Holocaust during WWII. Nothing more complicated than that really. Its a pity that it distracts somewhat from his larger message which is a very valuable one. Such an articulate kid. He seems to have a very bright future ahead of him.

    Steve

  21. mike says

    @TANK Besides the fact that you are a total, flaming asshole, zooming in on a minor hyperbole in this young man’s speech is absurd. After watching the speech and doing a little research, I have no doubt that the young man is correct. He did his homework.

    As for you, since your are so obsessed with accuracy in statistics and, um, “truthiness”, here’s a suggestion: there’s an opening for someone in Iraq to continue the hunt for WMD. I think you’d be perfect for the job.

  22. sky says

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    If you have worked hard for your Millionaire status
    and want to meet people of the same class, if you want to
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  23. Paul R says

    Heh, the claim that Tank is fake reminds me of that real fake a couple years ago, Jordan, who constantly posted incredibly vapid comments to kick up dust. I finally called him on his inconsistent lies and endless BS and he disappeared. He wasn’t a real person in the slightest.

    And whatever happened to Derek from Philadelphia? He won the five Towleroad t-shirts. Anyone know what happened to him? Andy?

  24. rascal says

    Is it wrong that I can’t tell the difference between 14 year-old gay boys and petite lesbian women?

    The kid’s awesome, of course, a ton more courage than anyone who ever picked on him.

  25. ratbastard says

    ‘He considers thirty to be the end of the road for gay men. He only measures his self worth in his physical appearance.’

    ********************

    …The gay ‘community’ is pretty brutal in this regards. Anybody who denies this is delusional. Imagine if this young man was fat, had bad acne and a speech impediment?

    …Just saying.

  26. steve says

    I was such a pussy at 14. Never, ever, ever could I have admitted that I was gay. Now, it was 1979 when I was 14 – and gay was something you simply didn’t discuss at that age.

    But forget gay for a minute. This kid has a SPINE. He’s a strong young MAN. At 14, he has such a sense of self! I hope to God his parents are proud.

  27. Rowan says

    @ Paul r

    He left towleroad because of the racism. It was when all you could read in the comments was how Obama was the most disgusting piece of dirt despite all those gay staff, the Matthew Shepard act, visiting hospital visists for same sex people etc..

    He comments only on Rod 2.0 from what I’ve seen.

    A gay website is no place to find nice people whether it’s the owner or the commenters lol!

  28. says

    WoW! How proud Graeme’s parents must be, and his future, and ours look brighter because of him. He is a natural born leader. I was invited to speak and meet with students of the Walter Payton Prep High School’s Gay/Straight Alliance here in Chicago… and wish that organization was around when I was a youth over 60 years ago,and available at every high school in America now. However, that is wishful thinking. With TV shows like Glee, and Ellyn and organizations like G/S/A and P-Flag… there is Hope, where it is needed most, with today’s youth and future
    generations of gay people everywhere. I have seen the progress made in my life time, and it getting better everyday, with students like Graeme Taylor and his teacher JayMcDowell and web-sites like Towleroad.

  29. Mike in the Tundra says

    @ Ratbastard Your right. However, there are many exceptions. A lot of young men enjoy more mature men. Yes, a lot are looking for sugar daddies, but not all. Those young, pretty. tight guys are good for a night, but I think most of us know that many of them aren’t good for a lifetime.

  30. Mike_In_Philly says

    Only TANK can find something negative to say about this amazing young man. That a douche bag. I really do not think this “TANK” is gay. I used to think he was just another sad self hater. But he goes beyond that. He’s a troll whose only goal is to piss people off. Most days I can ignore him. But today his comment pissed me off so badly that I’m shaking. So you won today you sad little bitch. Just remember everyday I can control myself, you lost. Just like in life. YOU LOST.

  31. Mike_In_Philly says

    RATBASTARD and TANK are the same person. Just for you guys and gals who don’t know how to track an ISP address. When TANK gets pummeled he posts under RATBASTARD because he is a coward.
    Oh and sorry I posted twice. I didn’t think the first one worked. And it’s a good thing because I’m so pissed I don’t think the first comment made any sense.

  32. ratbastard says

    Mike in Philly:

    …NO, I am not Tank. I don’t know who he is and have never privately communicated with him.

    …Go back and take your meds,man.

    …People, try and keep on topic; it’s a story about a kid in Michigan, not ratbastard, tank, Obama, Bush, WMDs, Israel, and so on and so on.

  33. bastian says

    @Mike_in_Philly

    Whether you like Tank or not, I call BS. Where exactly are you getting Tank or Ratbastard’s IP addresses from? The comments here don’t list the IP address from which they are posted.

  34. says

    @Tank. First of all, there are only between 6 and 7 billion people on the entire planet. I know that wasn’t your point, but if your going to pull numbers out of your ass, at least stay within the realm of possiblity.

    Secondly, why do you always have to look for the one thing you can pick apart in what is otherwise an inspirational moment, which is, by the way, how most of us interpreted it. Try looking for the good in something once in awhile. You might be surprised at what you see.

  35. Jim says

    Okay… hold everything… this is one of the most amazing speeches I have ever heard! Get this young man on Oprah, Ellen, Anderson, Larry, and Joy NOW! THIS is a leader of tomorrow! He speaks with more intelligence and articulation than most, vastly most, of our leaders in Congress and in the White House! He could be President one day!

  36. EJ says

    Wow . . . . that is one articulate young man! His actions speak so well for the gay youth and their future.

    It reminds me of the Margaret Mead quote;

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.

    There is hope and a future to look forward to !

  37. Todd Andrew says

    An amazing young man — just WOW! So proud of him, and I can only imagine that his parents are too. What a brave thing he did at such a young age. His future looks bright.

  38. patrick nyc says

    Tonight on Glen Beck, my guest is TANK, a self described ‘enclosed armored military vehicle; has a cannon and moves on caterpillar treads. an armored, self-propelled combat vehicle, armed with cannon and machine guns and moving on a caterpillar tread.’

    In other words, a true patriot, a real American who both the GOP and NRA would be proud to have. But he’s much more.

    No he’s not a character from Transformers, he’s a man with daddy issues, one who is still a hurt little 12 year old who was misunderstood by not only his daddy, but his friends as well.

    TANK, welcome, thanks for coming on from your busy day of trolling the net in your jammies in your daddy’s basement.

    Now TANK you are quoted as saying about your name, ‘That’s what’s meant by it as everyone who knows me will tell ya, since I’ve been twelve, which is when I got it. Papa was the first to call me…that. And papa and I don’t relate…but he’s a military guy…and that’s all I have to about that. Of course, it’s not what I think of myself; it’s what people think of me…for better or worse.’

    Where to start sir, what exactly do you mean by ‘that’s all I have about that’? Did daddy touch you in bad places? I have a doll here, show me where daddy touched you? In the head? And if it’s not what you think of yourself, why do you go on about it?

    I know you say it’s not about you, but you constantly go on about yourself, that is when you are not picking apart or trashing others. Care to explain? Feel free to cry, I do all the time, great for ratings and to distract people from the facts.

  39. says

    Bravo!

    I don’t have a real problem with his ‘six million suicides’ statement. Now, if he said ‘all heterosexuals are murderous bullies,’ he would be treading into Tony Perkins / Maggie Gallagher territory.

  40. Andrew says

    Does anyone realize that attacking one person, the “Tank” guy that simply questioned a likely inaccurate statistic given by this student, is an incredible hypocrisy on all your parts? Tank speaks up… and he is criticized, insulted, made fun of… in the comment section of an article about people who are criticized, insulted and made fun of. Wow. You’re no better than the homophobes, people.

  41. patrick nyc says

    Sorry ANDREW, you must not follow TANKS rants here that often, and his picking the obvious inaccurate stat is missing the point of the over all story of a brave young boy, whose life is hell. Comparing people to homophobes because we disagree with TANK, and wish he would go away, shows you miss the point as well.

    You should spend time focusing on idiots like DEVLIN, who posted below you. That the kid is going to hell for being gay. Hopefully ANDY will take it down, he takes down hate, not idiots like TANK.

  42. Chuck Mielke says

    Tank,

    Do the math: 6 million is 0.1% of the population of the planet where reasonable estimates of the gay percentage of the world stand at about 6%. If roughly 1 in 60 individuals attempts or commits suicide, that’s virtually an epidemic in any population. I don’t think you’re a dick for raising the question or for defending your skepticism. I hope the numbers help you to better understand your question.

  43. SFNative says

    To Chuck Bielke, I’m not sure if you read my comment, but if only one million people in total (gay and everyone else) commit suicide every year as surmised based on studies around the world, then I’m not sure how six million gay people in the world commit suicide every year. Six million gay people committing suicide would absolutely be an epidemic, but I don’t think the number is actually that high.

  44. says

    This kid is wicked awesome! 😀

    Note to Tank: so 6 million was a figure that’s a bit overestimated (I know where he got the number from and I’m not holding it against him — just a simple error in memory that’s all). But still, any number of suicides over zero is still a number that’s WAY too high.

  45. mark says

    Nice move from suicide attempt at nine to articulate advocate at fourteen…an inspiration to kids everywhere.

    The upsurge of self esteem in the LGBT community is very refreshing.

  46. Paul R says

    @Rowan, thank you for explaining Derek’s disappearance. I miss him.

    As for the rest of you, please just ignore Tank entirely. Responding to him simply fuels him and gives him the attention he so desperately craves.

  47. says

    Actually, I’m with Tank on this one. Sure it is annoying when someone jumps in and asks a question about a little detail while the whole picture is beautiful, but he corrected that later when stating his full opinion about the speech. Obviously it is incredibly brave and amazing what this boy did, but there are enough comments about that already.

    As any good sceptic will tell you, just because an admirable person makes a claim, does not make it automatically true. Six million sounded a lot to Tank, it does to me too, and I wonder if it’s any way accurate, as did he. I mean, all he did was ask if it was really true. And instead of replying with a link to a credible site, you guys just started insulting him. How about saving the insults for those who say negative things, instead of just people who ask questions?

    For me, I am curious as well whether the student was correct and whether the number is really that high (I doubt it is), but either way I could forgive his non-sceptical behaviour: at that age you tend to simply belief what you read.

    For those interested, 3000 people commit suicide daily, and 60000 people try to commit suicide daily. This means roughly one million a year and about 20 million attempts. See: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/annual/world_suicide_prevention_day/en/index.html

    China has about 300,000 suicides a year (http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=116×10675) and they make up 20% of the population (http://geography.about.com/od/populationgeography/a/chinapopulation.htm). In China suicide rates are higher, but even assuming those rates are representative, then only 1.5 million people commit suicide daily. Even assuming they all did it because they are gay, it’s only a quarter of what the student claimed.

    So no, the student is not correct. Tank was right to point that out. Does it make the boy any less amazing? Not really; it is an amazing speech he gave and I certainly would not have had the courage to come out as a gay person and support a teacher at his age. Does it make all of you dicks for jumping on Tank merely for noticing a tiny error? Yup, pretty much does.

  48. Mark Grantham says

    I am a 49 year old gay man! I am proud of the person I have become! This young person stood up and spoke for those who cannot or will not.
    This young man should be applauded and hugged, it took great courage and strength to speak before a group of people! I truly hope that someday, my actions will be judged, not who I am!
    I take my hat off to this young man, he stood up and spoke! I was a victim of bullies many years ago, I was beaten up, my car vandalized and I was taunted, this all took place on school grounds! There were no teachers or staff willing to come and say STOP! I see the future of the Gay movement in good hands!

  49. Mike says

    The error does not negate the power of the speech or its message. If it were an accounting error that completely through off a balance sheet, for example, that would be different.

    People are not attacking Tank because he pointed out the error. They are attacking him because his idea of a good time is to come on Towleroad every day and be insulting, condescending, or just plain mean.

    His favorite tactics, however, are playing devil’s advocate to antagonize people–and finding fault with things that everyone supports or likes. This is what he is doing here. He’s like the kid who in the classroom who resents the other kids for having fun so he spends his time trying to ruin their fun by tattling or sabotaging whatever they happen to be enjoying. His idea of fun is keeping everyone else from really having any.

    In a child this kind of behavior is called immaturity. But for an adult to sign into a blog and do this daily (and repeatedly) is probably some kind of indicator of sadistic/sociopathic tendencies.

  50. Andrew says

    “Does it make all of you dicks for jumping on Tank merely for noticing a tiny error? Yup, pretty much does.”
    —————-

    Exactly. I came to this blog for the first time with this article through a link on Google News. I haven’t read past posts, and after reading the ridiculously crass and hateful comments attacking one guy, who later added his full support for the kid, for pointing out an obvious factual error — I have no intention of giving the blog further attention past this post. That’s unfortunate, but it is entirely due to the extremely poor impression left on me by the gang-mentality of abuse from the regular commenters… the exact type of abusive gang-mentality that likely led this cool kid to a suicide attempt years ago. To the casual observer, again — you’re all just as bad as the homophobes. Good job on that, folks.

  51. says

    I am thankful that his attempt at suicide failed and that he will go on to do great things for himself and our community. God Bless the Children who often understand more that we adults…..

  52. kahanamoon says

    I have never commented on anything before-but this young star moves my heart. He is brilliant and fearless and as a world community we should hold him high-PEACE

  53. Mike says

    Sorry John–Tank is not the victim here–he just was outnumbered here and couldn’t find a way to continue hating on this kid without looking like total asshole.

    Tank is normally the big bully here on Towleroad. What you witnessed here is all the little kids banding together to kick his cyber bully ass because they are sick of his shit.

    But if you choose to come on and draw conclusions about the situation based on this one posting that’s fine. It’s too bad because this is a great blog site.

  54. Fred Lunau says

    Wow. Graeme, you are one hell of a kid. I felt more conviction in your defense of Mr. McDowell than I have heard in a long, long time. Good for you. I give you an A+!!

    Wisth the best of wishes,

    Fred (52 years old, straight, and proud to support gay rights)

  55. BartmanLA says

    Actually the facts of the story are that Graeme spoke at the school district board meeting in defense of Jay McDowell, not because he’s his teacher, actually Graeme doesn’t go to that school. He was brave and courageous to speak out about the kind of teacher he admires and supports no matter where he teaches. Graeme Taylor should be an inspiration to adults and teens alike. He’s awesome!!

  56. joansey says

    I’m confused as to why this teacher was suspended at all… Isn’t a teacher SUPPOSED to discipline a student for disrupting class and abusing a classmate? I mean, regardless of whether or not you agree with the politics of the whole thing, it sounds like the guy was just doing his job!
    I understand that disagreeing with a student’s personal beliefs is no grounds for punishment (no matter how horrible they are), but you can CERTAINLY punish them for breaking school rules, right?

  57. PauZotoZhaan says

    Let’s consider, just for a moment, that we don’t have all the facts. Let’s consider, just for a moment, that people will seek out their 15 minutes of fame and seek out platforms for their voices to be heard. Let’s consider, just for a moment, that this kid in the video ISN’T A STUDENT AT HOWELL HIGH SCHOOL.

    Let’s consider, just for a moment, that the school administrators aren’t monsters eager to burn witches and gays at a stake.

    Perhaps there is more information to this story? Like the school cannot comment on an on-going investigation that they are handling BY THE BOOKS…

    The only thing I hate worse than the violation of rights, is the exploitation of that sympathy for personal gains.

  58. says

    I really hope that Graeme’s speech can be an inspiration for other altersexual and altergender students, particularly those who are not gay. I know it’s esp. difficult for bisexual and genderqueer kids given the ongoing media frenzy over gay issues. It’s easy to feel invisible and ignored. To all of my bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters, it is important to find the confidence to stand up even in the face of adversity. Don’t lose hope. People might not notice us, but together we won’t remain silent!

  59. Jeanette says

    I find it ironic that we hear that teachers need to control the bullying and violence in schools, but when a teacher actually does, he gets reprimanded. Way to stand up for what is right!

  60. Doug M says

    I am a teacher and I am inspired! I have not found it always easy to stand up to homophobic remarks, but I have done it. I usually just want to “let it pass,” but now, I will never do that again.

    Thank you young man for your inspiration

  61. Patrick says

    Six million gay people every year kill themselves? No, no, no.

    In Graeme Taylor’s defense, though, there was obviously a cutaway to hide editing of his speech, and the editing might just have been sloppy. But it doesn’t really sound that way.

  62. says

    “14-year-old gay student defends teacher for ejecting intolerant classmates
    Posted by duy |
    November 17, 2010 6:31 AM | Permalink
    ”I’ve been in rooms, in classrooms where children have said the worst kinds of things. The kinds of things that helped drive me to a suicide attempt when I was only 9 years old…. He did an amazing thing. he did something that’s inspired a lot of people. And whenever, ever I have a teacher stand up for me like that, they change my eyes. I support Jay McDowell and I hope you do too.”

    Graeme Taylor a student at Howell High School in Detroit. He was defending his teacher Jay McDowell at a public school board meeting. McDowell was suspended for a day without pay for putting two students out of his classroom. One girl had been wearing a belt buckle made to look like a Confederate flag which he reportedly asked her to remove. A second student objected to his teacher’s demand asking why it was any different than wearing a gay pride flag. The second student, according to AP, then said ”I don’t accept gays. It’s against my religion.” McDowell says he explained the difference between the flags’ meanings, but ended up sending the student out for a one-day suspension because he was moving the conversation in a direction he did not want it to go. A third student allegedly asked to join his anti-gay classmate for similar reasons. (MSNBC / AP)”

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