Phillip Parker and the Tennessee Legislation
The more I read about Phillip Parker, the 14-year-old LGBT youth who committed suicide in Tennessee Friday, the angrier I get. According to several different stories, the bullying had been going on for a long period of time. His family was overwhelmed with information about the verbal, emotional, and physical abuse he endured over the weekend when it was, sadly, too late. However, the report is that several of his friends did, in fact, go to teachers at Gordonsville High School to tell what was happening to him, and no one did anything. No interventions. No calls to the family. Nothing. No one did anything!!!! Heads need to roll. Teachers, the principle, the whole school system needs to be held accountable. This is criminal neglect if nothing else. The ones responsible for the abuse also need to be sought out and punished severely. There are people there who know exactly who’s responsible for it. They have already gone forward with it to the school staff. They need to go public with it, as in to the police. Of course, none of it will help the Parker family or Phillips friends at this point. But, it could go a long way to preventing another family in Tennessee from having to go through this.
Or, will it?
It seems that Tennessee, and more specifically it’s legislatures, have a problem with the LGBT community. Tennessee has a “Don’t Say Gay” statute in place that prohibits teachers, basically, from acknowledging that gays and lesbians even exist. Does that mean, then, that they can’t intervene if a LGBT student is being bullied, like Phillip was. Like Jacob Rogers was? Do they, by law, have to pretend that it’s not happening, look the other way when it involves an LGBT student?
In Tennessee, same-sex marriages are illegal.
In Tennessee, LGBT people are not protected from housing and employment discrimination.
In Tennessee, they are trying to pass that bill where bullying against members of the LGBT community will be sanctioned as long as it’s done for political, philosophical, or religious beliefs. That’s a free pass to emotionally, psychologically, and physically abuse LGBT teens! All they have to do is claim it was done because of their beliefs, and they get a get-out-of-jail-free card.
There needs to be outrage. There needs to be petition after petition after petition. Concerned parents need to be voicing their concerns. Loudly! It is mind-boggling that the citizens of Tennessee are allowing this to happen in their state.
Tennessee is apparently the nation’s hotbed for homophobia. Comedian Tracy Morgan went on a homophobic rant at a Nashville comedy club, going as far as to say that he’d stab his son to death if said son was to come out as gay. The significance of this is that it was met with a “thunderous applause”. He said he’d kill his son if he turned out gay, and people applauded!? How is this being allowed to happen in this country in 2012!?
Meanwhile, family and friends of Phillip Parker are searching for answers. And, justice. Unfortunately, they won’t find much justice in a state that passed a law that forbids teachers to even say the word “gay” in their classes. They won’t find justice in a state that, just recently!, made it ok to discriminate against LGBT people in the housing and job markets. They won’t find justice in a state that wants to sanction the bullying of LGBT teens. Is there any wonder why teens like Phillip, and Jacob, felt such a sense of hopelessness that they ended their lives?
There’s a girl named Alissa. She was Phillip’s best friend…”like brother and sister”. Like his family, she’s in an awful lot of pain right now. Another friend started a facebook page to honor the memory of Phillip. Alissa has made painful posts there. Please go and offer her words of encouragement. She, along with the Parker family, needs to be surrounded by love right now. Do it for Phillip.
Written by Ron Kemp
January 24, 2012 at 8:54 am