Laurie Higgins of Illinois Family Institute
By D’ANNE WITKOWSKI
It’s almost that time of year again: April 15 is the annual Day of Silence where students across the country choose to spend the day without speaking in order to call attention to anti-LGBT bullying in schools. And this year, like every year, the anti-LGBT right is clutching its collective pearls at the very thought.
Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute is one such pearl-clutcher. She, along with the usual anti-LGBT suspects, is encouraging parents to pull their kids out of school on DOS lest they be indoctrinated with the message that it’s not okay to call a kid “fag” and push him down the stairs after gym.
“Parents should no longer passively countenance the political usurpation of public school classrooms through student silence,” Higgins writes on the IFI website.
Let me take a moment to point out that Higgins doesn’t really give a shit about public schools. The right has been undermining public education for years and support private charter schools where kids can learn that Jesus rode around on dinosaurs. You can go to the IFI’s website yourself and peruse the articles about education. Most of them are about how to keep transgender students out of locker rooms or about how great homeschooling is.
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which is responsible for the DOS, characterizes the event as “a studentled national event that brings attention to antiLGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.”
Sounds like a worthy goal, right? But not for Higgins. She takes issue with the DOS because, as she claims, it’s not about preventing bullying but is actually intended “to undermine the true belief that homosexuality and cross-dressing…are immoral.”
The suicide rate for trans youth is even higher than the rate for LGB youth, so it’s extra nice that Higgins managed to bully them while making her point that bullying isn’t the real issue.
Higgins seems to think that the very idea of being “comfortable” at school is a laughable luxury when it really is fundamental to an institution of learning.