Bullying | Kathleen McKinley

Houston Chronicle Columnist Instructs Parents to Tell Their Gay Kids to Stay in the Closet for Their Own Safety

Houston Chronicle columnist Kathleen McKinley has penned an incredibly homophobic and irresponsible column suggesting that LGBTQ teens should be told by their parents to stay in the closet for their own safety.

MckinleyMcKinley says she came up with her brilliant idea after reading a People magazine about gay teen suicides due to bullying.

Am I mad at the hateful mean kids who bully and tease these teens? You bet I am. But I am just as mad at the idiotic adults who force our adult views on kids, and pull them into our adult world long before they are mature enough to handle it. The 13 year old that killed himself told his Mom he was gay. She said she already knew and hugged him. She said she just assumed that everyone else would be as accepting as she was.

Really? Have you been around teenagers? They are cruel and mean. They constantly tear each other down. It was bad when I was a teenager, I can only imagine what it’s like now. No, I don’t have to imagine how it is now. This is how it is now. Why in the world would you give teenagers a REASON to tease you? Oh, yes, because the adults tell you to embrace who you are, the only problem? Kids that age are just discovering who they are. They really have no idea yet.  The adults tell you to “come out,” when what we should be telling them is that sex is for adults, and there is plenty of time for figuring out that later.

McKinley then trashes Gay-Straight Alliances:

Because we adults and celebrities and our culture are so determined to sexualize EVERYTHING, we have created a climate where everyone is put into sexual categories (gay, straight, bi-sexual, transgendered, transvestite, sluts, man hos, cougars, ect), which is just so high school, isn’t it?  The 15 year old who committed suicide had started a “Rainbow Club” at his high school. Was there NO ADULT anywhere that could have said that maybe that isn’t such a good idea? Oh, no. Because that would be politically incorrect. Good grief. The idea of a high school club based on who you want to sleep with is absurd to begin with.

She accuses LGBTQ kids of flaunting their sexuality:

If my 13 yr old had told me he was gay, I would have hugged him too. I also would have told him that I would love him no matter what. But I wouldn’t have pretended that he could just put that out there among his peers, and everything would be great. There is NO reason to flaunt sexuality of ANY kind that young.

And says that the "It Gets Better" campaign is killing kids:

These kids were sold a bill of goods by people who thought they were being kind. The “It will get better” campaign just didn’t think it through. They didn’t think about the fact that kids are different from adults. They handle things differently. They react differently. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE KIDS...They don’t see it getting better no matter how many times Lady Ga Ga says it will. So, enough with our politically correct campaigns aimed at kids. It’s killing them."

Are Adults Also To Blame For Gay Teen Suicides? Yes. [houston chronicle]

(thanks, tipster nathan)

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  1. @BART:

    You nailed it.

    Posted by: Christopher | Nov 4, 2011 10:41:30 AM

  2. Some kids couldn't hide being gay even if they wanted. Other just know. Sometimes before they themselves know or are comfortable with it

    Posted by: Steve | Nov 4, 2011 10:44:42 AM

  3. "Girls DO dress like boys, actually. And girls that wear modest clothing like LL Bean or Lands End get treated better--well, aren't groped, teased, or sexualized--than girls who wear tight fitting tops or short-shorts.

    Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2011/11/houston-chronicle-columnist-instructs-parents-to-tell-their-gay-kids-to-stay-in-the-closet-for-their.html#ixzz1ckP4hDnG

    Actually, Rin, with all due respect, you're full of crap about this point right here.

    I graduated high school in 1996. I was a pretty average kid, I dressed like a boy in baggy jeans and t-shirts, I hid the shape of my body... and I still got harrassed. Every day.

    People aren't picked on just because they're different. Bullies go after the "weak members of the herd" -- the members that other people won't protect.

    No one protected me when I was being pinned up against a wall and groped against my will. They were too busy being glad it wasn't them, and trying to get out of sight of the bullies attacking me before the bullies turned on them.

    In my niece's school, the Gay-Straight Alliance club protects EVERYONE. When the kids who are in that club see bullying happening, no matter what, they step in. They let the bully know, hey jackass, we're watching you. We see what you're doing and every time you do it we're going to raise hell. And they do. And guess what? Bullying has gone down. Tolerance of others has gone up.

    I find it sad that your solution to the issue of your potentially gay child being bullied is to sequester your child, instead of even trying to stop the bullying. You'll be teaching your children that the solution to all their problems is to pretend it's not happening and run away. Is that the kind of problem-solving ability you want to give your children? Do you really want to create adults that can't help themselves when they're in a bad spot? Because that's what you will be doing if you end up with a gay kid and you turn tail and run away when they're bullied. You'll also be telling that child of yours that you won't speak out for them when they are being wronged, you'll just put them in a new, strange situation instead of helping them stand their ground. How awful.

    Posted by: Wendy | Nov 4, 2011 10:46:21 AM

  4. Not surprisingly, she is confusing sex with sexuality, she is assuming that young gay people can simply flip a "normal" switch, act straight, and therefore protect themselves from being targeted, she is doubtful that any young person could possibly actually know they are gay long before they have sex, she is letting bullies off the hook by focusing the blame on those who are different and the parents and adults who actually embrace the difference in their children. All misguided presumptions based on info pulled out of her a$$.

    So, she prefers the days when bullied gay kids suffered in their silent closets, were afraid to tell any adult or parent about their shameful secret, and those who bullied were never blamed because gay kids thought that being targeted and hated was just how it went.

    I'd prefer to go back to a time when any ignorant person with a bogus opinion didn't have a platform for spouting their cluelessness!

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 4, 2011 10:58:01 AM

  5. Each case of persistent bullying needs to be handled separately because the facts are crucial to the outcome. There is no general pattern nor advice that will apply to all situations. Seeking out helpful adults is the only first step that might be universal.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 4, 2011 10:58:34 AM

  6. Her idea: "gay kids shouldn't think about sex until they are MARRIED ADULTS"

    oh wait..

    Posted by: sarah | Nov 4, 2011 11:03:58 AM

  7. One of my biggest memories of what is now called middle school and high school was boys and girls hanging all over one another and walking around holding hand and even walking around with hands on each others butts. So the straits got to "flaunt" their sexuality while I was a scared rabbit in the closet that got tormented constantly anyway. Its just like the PDA issues going on all over the place. You are oppressed, then just be a good little fag or, dyke and stay in the closet. Don't confuse the small minded bigots that need to see you as an equal human being. Know your place and stay in it! Just keep things they way they were in the past cause that did not work anyway.

    Posted by: Tom in long beach | Nov 4, 2011 11:05:38 AM

  8. Chalk this up to another ignorant blonde! Nothing more. But, as a "natural blonde" (yes, I said that!) I take personal offense to bimbo's like this one who help foster the "dumb blonde" falacy. I'm blonde & from TX...not a good combination...but I'm proud to say that I've acquired my GED and am looking into employment at a Houston newspaper outfit where they hire the learning impaired.

    Posted by: Paul b. | Nov 4, 2011 11:06:44 AM

  9. Somebody needs to tell that bleached-blonde ass-wipe bimbo that being gay is about one's HUMANITY and not just about sex. I knew I was gay, queer, different, long before sex EVER entered the equation. Being LGBT is about who we ARE, the essence of our humanity, our spiritual selves, our emotional selves. She doesn't write this garbage in a vacuum either. Those are the things making the rounds on right-wing media as of late. Blame the victim. Blame the family and friends of the victim. Blame the culture. Blame liberals. Blame everyone and everything except the conservatives, the "family-values" peddlers, the "guardians" of American morality. God forbid that any anti-bullying or anti-hate law should hold evangelicals and the rest of their hateful religious mafia accountable for their complicit if not implicit role in the deaths of those young gay men.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Nov 4, 2011 11:24:28 AM

  10. This woman is ignorant but not hateful. I was out at 13, and that was 26 years ago. So much depends on so much. The state where a kid lives. His or her friends. His or her enemies. The type of school---meaning, the environment fostered by those teaching and in charge. The socio-demographics of the school. The personality of the potential victim.

    I got off easy in one high school, had a hard time in another, and a medium-OK time in junior high (before I came out, but was obviously gay).

    Parents, teachers, and administrators need to recognize (easily identifiable) potential targets and protect them. End of story.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 4, 2011 11:25:12 AM

  11. She's hateful.

    Everyone write her a nice e-mail.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Nov 4, 2011 11:30:05 AM

  12. Fortunately the lines between good and evil are not so tightly drawn as they used to be. I applaud this woman -- and see it as a sign of our advancement -- that she would hug her 13-year-old and tell him or her that she would love them no matter what. That would have made a huge difference to me! It is understandable that parents (like Cher, for example) at first hurt to see their kids have to face a difficult road. The mistake they make is not being able to see that, for us, being closeted is a far worse choice. But, not being gay, it's a little much for us to expect them to fathom this like we do, right off the bat. This woman needs education -- not outright condemnation -- and we need thicker skin, and less name-calling.

    Posted by: Jack | Nov 4, 2011 11:43:57 AM

  13. I can sort of see where the woman is coming from. She's correct that adults too often expect adult behavior from children; but she fails to understand that you don't have to "come out" to get bullied. Worse, she thinks being Gay is only about sex. I wasn't beaten up as a child for who I had sex with. I wasn't having sex. They targeted me because I was too feminine for their liking.

    Ms. McKinley's advice also misses the mark because, just like "It Gets Better", it won't stop bullying. She blames the victim. She's basically saying "this is how it is, and you'd better get used to it. If you're openly Gay in school, you'll get what you're asking for." In the final analysis, she's nothing but a cheerleader for the sh*tty status quo.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Nov 4, 2011 11:58:25 AM

  14. I don't know what to say other than I couldn't disagree with her more. And she presented her views in such a way as to make it seem like she was expressing concern for these students well being.

    But upon closer scrutiny, you see it for what it really is: blatant homophobia.

    Posted by: mytwocents | Nov 4, 2011 12:01:17 PM

  15. My heart goes out to all the young gays in America. I live in the wonderfully liberal UK, and if a columnist was to come out with this tripe she would be proverbially lynched in the national media.

    Posted by: Jay | Nov 4, 2011 12:12:13 PM

  16. @Wendy,

    IF parents had more say in how schools run things then I would agree with you.

    There is reality and then there is philosophy of how reality should be. It is the jobs of good people like yourselves to advocate and promote sound philosophy and political ideology.

    It is the job of parents to:

    1) protect
    2) instruct in how your own child behaves
    3) nurture and love
    4) provide safe haven, food, etc.

    Ask any parent of a dead gay child today what they would do if they could do it all over again and my guess is all of them would say "home school".

    Is it teaching them to run?

    That's interesting because Nature gives us two choices: Fight or Flight. Having grown up in Detroit in an extremely violent neighborhood where fights and beatings were common...I'd say running is an intelligent option.

    Fighting works when the playing field is equal or even, IE if I had control over the school's policies or if my child was the same size as a bully. When outnumbered even the military retreats tactically.

    There is value in living to fight another day, Wendy. I'm sorry, but that is the case.

    Thirteen years olds, first of all, shouldn't even be put into this position where these tough choices should have to be made. Schools should do more to protect children. When they don't...it's up to the parents.

    Homeschooling doesn't "hurt" your child provided there is a good reason for it. To protect them from ideas they don't like is a bad reason. To protect them from being hurt by a mob of mean, horrid children is a good reason.

    All day schools are a modern phenomenon. Ancient peoples spent most of their time, at home, with their families until they were adults and ready to leave. We've been told to put our kids into schools, to give them these huge decisions before they are ready...I'm not sure its always the best.

    There is nothing wrong with being gay or a nerd or chubby or Muslim or ugly or any of the other typical reasons for bullies picking on someone. The WRONG is entirely on the bully.

    By sending a 13 year old to school and telling them that they can join a club when their physical life is in danger is irresponsible and as a parent I'm NOT going to put my child in harms way so that I can have them take a moral stand. That's for adults to do.

    Now, if no one is picking on them and they are happy kids...stay in school. If they are being hurt and abused...home school and extra-curricular activities.

    It is very easy to say what should be done about other people's kids based on what you wish you would have done at their age. I wish I would have turned around and pummeled this girl Julia my freshman year, but...I didn't and that's how it goes.

    My job now is to be an over-protective parent to make up for the fact that crappy, bigoted parents exist and foist their beliefs off on others.

    When I taught I did what I could to try and change things. That was my job as a teacher. Being a mom means that I have to be a Tiger in the shadows. I'll fight so my kids don't have to, or I'll take them somewhere happier if they're unhappy.

    Hate me for it if you will, but I intend to have two live adults that will complain about how overprotective I was during Thanksgiving visits.

    Posted by: Rin | Nov 4, 2011 12:43:38 PM

  17. Kathleen McKinley should stop flaunting her stupidity.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Nov 4, 2011 12:57:27 PM

  18. Anyone trying to say, "I sort of understand this woman, she's not hateful or homophobic, she's just ignorant," ought to click through to her blog post and read her italicized responses as TexasSparkle to the many outraged commenters. Her responses make it clear to me that not only is she hateful AND homophobic, she's ignorant as well. Though I don't wish it on the child, I do wish a gay child on her. I think, then, we'd see the veracity behind her claim that she'd love and support that child.

    Posted by: MrRoboto | Nov 4, 2011 12:59:33 PM

  19. If you homeschool your kids you are a monster that ought to be hung up by a damn rope.

    Posted by: Otis | Nov 4, 2011 1:29:30 PM

  20. Wow, people are really piling on this woman.

    At least, in this day and age, the conversation is about being out as a teenager verses the concerns a parent has about protecting their child.

    Rather than involving parents who completely shut their child out because they're gay (although it still happens).

    Some of these comments suggest this woman is the Anti-Christ. Just wow.

    Posted by: Cinesnatch | Nov 4, 2011 1:57:59 PM

  21. "Kids that age are just discovering who they are... The adults tell you to “come out,” when what we should be telling them is that sex is for adults, and there is plenty of time for figuring out that later."

    This is one of the fundamental hurtles that gay people face in regards to straight people understanding the difference between being GAY, Being a HOMOSEXUAL, and GAY SEX. This ignorance is not isolated, and we have all got to get out there and teach these people the difference.

    Kids should be told that it's okay to be a homosexual. Just like it's okay to be left-handed. Kids should also be told that being "gay," is also okay. You have every right to express who you are and what you like. And, just like straight sex, gay sex conversations should be age appropriate.

    So, educate the people around you at every opportunity you get.

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Nov 4, 2011 2:07:15 PM

  22. This woman is no better than the people who blame women for getting raped. It's not the women's fault--it's the rapist's! This is the same thing--it's not a kid's fault if he or she is bullied--it's the bullies who are doing the bullying.

    Posted by: The Perfessor | Nov 4, 2011 2:38:10 PM

  23. I'm in complete agreement with @TylerNov 4, 2011 9:43:01 AM. For some kids, coming out in a hostile environment is not a healthy choice. There's so many factors involved: school policies, what part of the country, having a mentor or a network of supportive friends etc.

    I came out at the tender age of 14 in 1977 to my best friend, he in turn admitted he was gay as well. Our BFF's were chubby girls who were also outsiders, they were all supportive as well and as time went on other gay kids where drawn to our circle of queer, weirdos, nerds, punks etc, all of us outsiders. And thankfully there was strength in numbers and we helped each other out thru bullying, fights, sexual harassment etc.

    If i had gone thru this ALONE, i would have had completely different experience with bullying and such. But having friends to back you up made a huge difference. It also helped that a grew up in S. California, in a very liberal part of town and where the very progressive gay community center had (and still does today) various teen programs to which my friends and I (gay and straight) were all able to enjoy.

    remember this was the 70's so I was VERY lucky due to my particular set of circumstances and location in which i lived. A lot of kids do not have half if any of the things i had at 14. so if its dangerous to come out publicly, tell you trusted friends, parents if they're cool. and wait a bit till you get older, because it did does get better.

    Posted by: Scrufff | Nov 4, 2011 4:34:44 PM

  24. That's what my parents did too. It was funny how they didn't realize that everyone knew I was gay before I started telling my friends anyway. It didn't make me any safer.

    Posted by: MKe | Nov 4, 2011 4:44:14 PM

  25. +1 JUSTINW

    Posted by: MKe | Nov 4, 2011 4:45:09 PM

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