Bullying | News | Tennessee

11-Year-Old Gay Tennessee Student Speaks Out Against 'Don't Say Gay' Bill and Its Creator: VIDEO


Marcel Neergard, an 11-year-old gay student from Oak Ridge, Tennessee is speaking out in a powerful video against his state's 'Don't Say Gay' bill, and one of its proponents, Oak Ridge Representative John Ragan.

In the video, accompanied by his parents, Neergard talks about realizing when he was gay and the dangers of the bill, and the dangers kids face when other kids aren't educated:

"You have parents who don't want to talk about gays and dont want to teach their children about gays, then they don't know anything about it and they don't get the education about what being gay is."

Neergard has set up a petition asking StudentsFirst to rescind their honor of educational "Reformer of the Year" bestowed upon John Ragan.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Neergard has also published an accompanying op-ed in the Huff Post.

He writes:

During my first year in middle school, I experienced severe bullying. I was called terrible names that were quite hurtful. At that time, I had just realized that I'm gay, and the bullies used the word "gay" as an insult. This made me feel like being gay was horrible, but my parents told me otherwise. Their support was tremendous. But as powerful as their love was, it couldn't fight off all the bullying. I don't want anyone else to feel the way I did. No one deserves that much pain, no matter who they are. This was my reason for writing the petition.


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  1. Thankfully the bill never made it past the sub-committee this year. Brava to this kid... And his parents!

    Posted by: Phil | Jun 1, 2013 9:56:39 AM

  2. What a both nice and sad story. Brave little man. He needs to worry about himself at this age first and foremost. He's very, very young. He needs to be in a comfortable setting safe from abuse where he can study and hopefully excel, and socialize so he can grow and mature. Good luck to him and his beautiful mom and dad.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 1, 2013 10:08:25 AM

  3. Moms and Dads who are this kind and compassionate break my heart. Lucky kid.

    Posted by: sundayboy | Jun 1, 2013 10:12:49 AM

  4. Today's kids are so smart. When I was 11, I might have found some male actors in tv, the ones I wanted to see, but had no idea I was gay, what means to be gay, are there any other people feeling the same way. I guess I had very innocent childhood.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Jun 1, 2013 10:57:56 AM

  5. Lovely child. Crying here.

    Posted by: tagg | Jun 1, 2013 10:59:39 AM

  6. This kid is "Rick's" worst nightmare. He's 11 years-old, not macho, and has more balls than most gay met twice his age.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 1, 2013 11:13:16 AM

  7. @ David Ehrenstein,

    Why do you hate masculinity [clutch the pearls!] in males? Do you ever sexually fetishise [?] 'straight' masculine guys? Just curious.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 1, 2013 11:20:21 AM

  8. may this 11 year old KID inspire more grown-adult gay men to finally grow that spine and COME OUT.

    he's 11. what's YOUR excuse?

    help out. come out.

    and ROCK ON to those dynamo parents!

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 1, 2013 11:29:28 AM

  9. I feel the same way Matt26. I didn't finally accept that I was gay until I was around twenty. I am in my 40's now. Last year I was watching Biography. The star was Shaun Cassidy. I started blushing and these feelings I had forgot, of watching the Hardy Boys as a kid, rushed back. I looked up how old I was when the show was on and I was nine. I think the big difference is not that the kids are smarter now but that we had very few positive gay role models back then. The only positive gay role model I can think of that I had was Jodie Dallas from Soap.

    Posted by: Markust123 | Jun 1, 2013 11:31:25 AM

  10. I've only commented here maybe five times but I smell a troll in ratbastard. It's people like him that actually keeps me out of the comment section.

    Posted by: Markust123 | Jun 1, 2013 11:37:23 AM

  11. @Markust - bingo. ignore the wimp. he's an idiot, but he's an anonymous coward and he'll die alone. so it's all good.

    as for your comment, it's a combo - i knew i was gay, as in i knew that my attractions that i had meant that i was "gay", by around age 9/10. now, by age 9/10 i didn't really have any "gay role models", per se, but by this time it was the early 90s and discussions of "gay" were happening in culture - enough that my lil'ears caught them.

    like your Cassidy-memory, i initially just knew that i really liked to look at Josh Brolin in The Goonies. like, a LOT. and that the best thing about sunday afternoons was American Gladiators. Because "Laser", that's why!

    so it's a combo - "gay" is discussed more, as an actual thing and not just an amorphous term, and that's due to more and more people coming out, be it in real life or fictional characters.

    but as a kid i didnt' have any "gay role models in entertainment" to really look at, at least not in any of the kid-friendly programming i'd have seen.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 1, 2013 11:42:26 AM

  12. Brave little man! I hope everyone supports him!

    Posted by: Reality | Jun 1, 2013 11:45:41 AM

  13. "...but by this time it was the early 90s and discussions of "gay" were happening in culture - enough that my lil'ears caught them."

    I think you've hit it. In the 70's there just weren't any discussions of gay that would have made it to my ears. I grew up in a very straight Beaver Cleaver world raised to be straight. That is why I know the "gay is a choice" argument is such BS.

    Posted by: MarkusT123 | Jun 1, 2013 11:56:54 AM

  14. What am amazing kid and parents. He is wise beyond his years.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Jun 1, 2013 12:03:17 PM

  15. He's a very brave and self-aware young man. I don't really understand where this masculine/feminine business is coming from though. He doesn't seem either one to me, especially if you define masculine as some variation of "macho," but not feminine either. He may have a bit of a speech impediment, as I did at that age, and if it bothers him he can take speech therapy to correct it. It's clear his parents love him either way.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jun 1, 2013 12:12:24 PM

  16. He is a beautiful little boy and so are his parents, there should be more out there like them. I wish them the best

    Posted by: bructer | Jun 1, 2013 12:14:58 PM

  17. the "masc/femme" nonsense comes from one group of gay men only: those whose own family, community, social circle is prejudiced (for no intelligent defensible reason) against perceived-'effeminacy".

    whenever a gay man goes on an "anti-effeminacy" tirade it means one thing and one thing only - that the straight people in that gay man's life are worthless and ignorant idiots who don't accept that gay man, yet tolerate him (if at all...) on the grounds that he join them in hating "effeminacy".

    because to them it's easier to blame "fems" than acknowledge that the straight people they're pathetically sucking up to are neanderthalian bigots.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 1, 2013 12:22:37 PM

  18. Quite right Kiwi.

    I like all kinds of men "ratbastard" Among my major current crushes: Lambert Wilson, Louis Garrel, and Gregoire LePrince-Ringuet.

    A very good friend of mine tricked with Sean Cassidy back in the day.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 1, 2013 12:30:13 PM

  19. What a wonderful family! Glad his parents are more concerned with his welfare than with prejudice or social standing. Like Marcel, I was an "early bloomer."

    I have fallen in love with other boys since I was very little, there just weren't sexual feelings attached until puberty. But before I started kindergarden there was a boy who lived across the street who was a couple years older than me that I was infatuated with. He was half-Philippino as his father was in the service and had married a woman while stationed there. Because there were no other kids on our street, Jimmy would play "Lost in Space" with me. He had a cool playset with the saucer, robot, and crew figures.

    It wasn't until years later that I realized he was my first crush. I still wonder what happened to him, and where he is now.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jun 1, 2013 12:47:38 PM

  20. Marcel, thank you for being so brave and for being you. I'm so glad you are still here and have supportive parents.
    I wish I had the means to go down to Tennessee and talk to these legislators about my experience of losing my son Justin to this exact same situation, and how many other kids up here have also suffered and that we need to prevent this from happening elsewhere.
    I think you did a tremendous job explaining things, especially at your very young age. Remember you are always special and love yourself to the fullest!

    Posted by: Tammy Aaberg | Jun 1, 2013 12:48:35 PM

  21. @Mr. Ehrenstein & Mr. Miller,

    You both routinely come on here and make gratuitous wisecracks and insults against gay males who really are actually masculine and not stereo-typically effeminate. You have many times implied that masculine gay males are acting. Both of you are of course full of yourselves.

    Whenever there's a lovefest starting on one of these threads between effeminate men and the BS starts to fly, I feel it's my duty to represent masculine gay males and burst your inflated, bullying bubbles...a little bit.


    Do you know what a internet troll is? It's not just someone who has opinion you disagree with. Did I mildly bait Mr. Ehrenstein in that last post? Yes. I admit it. But my last post PALES by comparison to some of the brutal, nasty troll posts Mr. Raymond Miller, AKA Little Kiwi, has posted about my mom and dad enjoying being gang raped and murdered. He's done this MANY times. ONLY a truly psychologically sick person would write sh*t like that.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 1, 2013 1:44:11 PM

  22. actually, Trolling Bastard, neither of us have ever done that. You can obsessively search through every post or comment i've ever made, there isn't a single "anti-'masc'" comment to be found.

    neither of us have ever done what you claimed. congrats at yet another strawman argument. no wonder your family loathes you.

    unless they don't. in which case you should make a video like this 11 year old did. you know. to give a voice and face to your opinions.

    i'm raymond miller from toronto and you're a coward. and you can by all means go through every blog i've ever written, there isn't a single "anti-masc" comment in any of them.

    one example of many:

    unless, your definition of "masculine" is "one who hates effeminacy", in which case you're just a complete idiot.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 1, 2013 1:54:09 PM

  23. ratbastard: Nobody hates masculinity, if you are masculine, fantastic, but if you are not, there's no reason to fake it.

    Just be the way you are.

    And the kid is simply fantastic, a lot of people of that age didn't even realize that they are gay and if they know, they are very far from accepting it (wich is pretty normal).
    Hopefully he won't have to endure bullying anymore

    Posted by: jjose712 | Jun 1, 2013 1:54:59 PM

  24. btw, feel free to actually 'represent'..uh...'masculine gay males' - by actually representing them...via Visibility.

    until you do, your apparent idea of "masculinity" is "anonymously saying things on the internet like a wimp"

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 1, 2013 1:55:23 PM

  25. seriously, if this 11 year old kid can do it, what bloody excuse are grown-adults going to continue to give?

    there's an 11 year old helping open the doors for YOU, and it really should be the other way around.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 1, 2013 2:00:13 PM

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