Updated Friday, 2:15 p.m. (EST)
Kathleen McKinley, a columnist at the Houston Chronicle, has responded to the storm of controversy that has brewed after she penned an editorial blaming the parents of victims of anti-gay bullying for their children's harassment. Details follow.
Writes McKinley in the shockingly ignorant and homophobic story:
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.
I always taught my kids to stand up to any bullies they see bullying anyone. I tell them them to imagine Christ standing there. What would he want you to do? Would he want you to step in? Of course he would. I have always taught my kids to be kind to everyone, especially those who seem to have no friends or seem different. I tell them what a simple hello or smile will mean to a kid who is lonely. But for every parent like myself, there are ten parents who either don’t care, or don’t think to teach their kids that. That is when human nature takes over. It’s “Lord of the Flies” in Junior High and High School. Have all the adults forgotten that??
When my 24 yr old was in high school, they started a gay club. But the time my 22 yr old got there, it was gone. The kids had had enough with the teasing and jokes. Do I wish it were different? Sure. I also wish trees were made of chocolate, but that will never happen either.
It seems McKinley is so blinded with her confusion that she doesn't get that realizing one's true self has nothing to do with sex, especially when it comes to LGBT preteens. McKinley blatantly overlooks the fact that it's homophobic dolts like her who are the problem and not educated, accepting parents.
Gawker, however, did not overlook her ignorance, and picked up on the story early Friday to call out McKinley in its trademark irreverent tone.
McKinley really gets inside the head of teens bullies here, I think, who typically wait patiently for some kind of open acknowledgment on the part of a vulnerable classmate as to what their identified sexual orientation is before going in for the kill. Also, not enough can be said about asking teenagers to not think about sex, ever. It's a very underrated and plausible strategy! So smarten up, parents! The next time your kid comes to you and admits to having feelings of same-sex attraction, don't even think about accepting them or hugging them or telling them whoever they are is perfectly fine with you and you'll love them unconditionally regardless.
Well, McKinely, who is undoubtedly ecstatic about all the attention her column is receiving, has responded to Gawker's post with a "clarification" that doesn't much help her case.
First off, I am not telling a kid to “stay in the closet.” A 13 year old doesn’t even know what the closet is! That is NOT saying they are not aware they are gay. That is saying they are not aware of the consequences of coming out or how they will handle it all themselves. Once again, this is adults projecting their world on kids. Secondly, I am not in any way blaming the parents. The parents were in uncharted waters and just did the best they could.
Hold on, McKinley: didn't you title this piece "Are Adults Also To Blame For Gay Teen Suicides? Yes."?
You can read the entire infuriating essay here.