Bullies Of The Mind

I have just written and submitted an OpEd piece about bullying and suicide to the New York Times, until they decide whether to publish it or not, I cannot post it here.
Hopefully they’ll publish it.

In the meantime, like most people in the States, I am following what is happening as a result of the nine
bullying-related suicides of the past month.

In a poem I wrote seven days after Andrew died, I mentioned the “dangers of the mind”, but I could have equally said the “Bullies of the mind.” People will argue with me that being physically bullied is very different from being
“mentally bullied.”
I don’t know, I have never been physically bullied, but I have been depressed and at the mercy of my own mind.
We must address and respond to everything that triggers the impulse for suicide.

In the meantime the LGBT Community is holding a vigil in Washington Square Park tomorrow evening at 9 pm.

Let us hope that this is the beginning of a constructive dialogue about suicide.


Esmeralda – Andrew’s Mother


16 thoughts on “Bullies Of The Mind

  1. Wondering how much news coverage the vigil will receive as compared to GYWO! Sorry E, while bullying of any type is intolerable, it’s frustrating to me how the GLBT gets prime time while others don’t. Bullying and suicide risk are NOT just a GLBT issue…But yes, “Let us hope that this is the beginning of a constructive dialogue about suicide.”

    • I have been thinking about you, I knew how you would feel. I morn for those lost ones and morn for ALL suicides.
      And yes let’s talk about ALL risk factors.

    • I’m sorry to disagree with you. The GLBT does not get all the primetime. we are mobilizing from within our own community. We had six suicides alone this week, all of them CHILDREN. How dare you bring that attitude here. As said we mobilize from within. The media isn’t giving us any free ride. We have had to learn to organize. I don’t think you realize how homophobic your sentiments are.

      • Be careful about haphazardly throwing labels around like “homophobic”. It’s a cheap shot to discredit a statement. Rise above namecalling the message or the messenger and stick to your points no matter how emotionally invested you are in the discussion. How dare I bring what attitude? I do have a right to freely state my views just as you do. It’s called the 1st
        Amendment. You may justifiably disagree with me which you did
        by saying GLBT organize from within and don’t get media free
        rides. But if there is news footage on tomorrow’s vigils then I’m
        right and you’re wrong. And then what does it matter? People are dying from suicide. I’m just saying bullying and suicide is NOT just a GLBT issue. It’s broader than that so while GLBT organizations have the spotlight right now why don’t they say that to the community?! Why don’t they say just that?! It’s not just about us. Others are suffering too. Maybe I’m wrong and stand to be corrected. Maybe they are pointing to the bigger picture rather than just their cause and agenda. Thanks Dave for looking macro.

      • I do hope that in the end all the attention will help raise awareness of suicide.
        Just found the chocolate cookies yesterday, they’d ended in the box with stuff from the Fair. Yammy, and they appeared at the right moment.
        Love, Esmeralda

    • I stand by my original reply. If 2500 people mobilize and get the media involved through our own efforts that doesn’t make you right. We have been organizing for many years and there was a time when the only attention we got from media, law enforcement, society was negative. GYWO just had it’s first fair. It’s ridiculous to compare the two. You want media attention then go out and get it. fight for it. Find a press agent who will do pro bono work and send out press releases and make calls even if it’s a PR intern And yes your comments are homophobic. I stand by that. I don’t need you to own it because you obviously don’t have the awareness to do that. Your complaining that a community that has no rights to marry, cannot legally adopt or foster unwanted children, have no legal protections in many states to keep their jobs if they are gay, who have teen suicide rate of 4 times higher than other teens, who will be dishonorably discharged from the military if they are outed, are somehow being coddled is ridiculous. Instead of complaining why don’t you reach out to that community and their organizers and say “teach us how to do what you do in order to get press, in order to effect change”. It’s called coalition building.

      • Esmeralda,

        One way to get media attention for sure is to invite city council members to the fair . if you can get at least one or a representive from the mayors office to give a proclamation like today is NY suicide Awareness Day or NY Get Your Wellness On Day, you will have press. they will make sure of it because it is press for them. Contact people in Amma’s org and ask who does press seva and contact them to find out if anyone can help you or give you contacts. Get an intern to help follow up. Delegate and have meetings in person with the volunteers to discuss progress being made in getting what you need to happen. Go to other activist organizations and make friends with them and they will also open doors for you if you build the bridge.

      • Prabuddh,

        Student Erin Ahmed said it’s important to teach LGBT youth that there’s no reason to be ashamed of who they are. “It’s all right to have a voice. I mean, silence is what’s really making it so bad,” she said. “And I think if everyone just stands up for what they really believe, no matter what it is, and everyone’s honest with each other, then I think that that’s the first step to fixing the problem.” (Source: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1649228/20101004/story.jhtml)

        Thank you Erin. I agree…are you and others, like Prabuddh, willing to let me stand up for what I really believe, no matter what it is? Or will you scream “homophobia” to silence my voice?

  2. My view for what its worth is that bullying is the sort of behaviour that flows from desensitization towards others and oneself. Young people respond in mainly two ways to alienation as they grow up. That is, the sense that they are powerless and living a lie. They internalise it, maybe they are genetically predisposed, raised in that way, etc, because they do not want to or cannot project their alienation, frustration and anger onto others. They are labelled losers and are ripe for victimisation, self-blaming and ultimately self-harm. Many LGBT fit into this category, especially those who are not out.
    The others, join in the game to become winners and develop a thick skin, deny aspects of themselves such as their sexuality, and project their alienation and anger etc onto others, the losers, which includes cruelty and bullying.
    Of course many of the former play the game maybe under lots of parental and peer pressure,have a crisis for some reason, and end up internalising their loss or failure onto themselves.
    I don’t think we can tackle suicide until we question the values, norms and expectations that we impose on our children in a society that is racist, sexist, gendered, warmongering and classist.

    • in the piece I wrote I ask “what is the message embedded in Bullying?” Bullying I believe is a symptom
      we need to treat the causes as well as the symptoms
      Hugs Esmeralda

  3. Why on earth is there any argument about what reason is more “rational” for committing suicide; any of these children and young adults who are doing this are hurting, for whatever reason.

    Bullying is a large part of this issue, whatever the “reason” is.

    Why would you people bully each other about “who has the more valid reason for committing suicide”?? I think I am going to be sick now, seriously.

    I’ve tried to present serious material, that ALL kids, need to be taught resilience, to have resilience reinforced at a very early age, and the schools need to do a hella lot better than they are doing with this issue…

    Also schools, and adults in general, need to do a hella lot better about modeling good behavior, but also stopping bullying when they see it, even if it does not involve their children. I have no qualms, whatsoever, about telling a kid to “knock it off”, in a school or a public park if I see that he/she is bullying and the teacher or responsible adult is choosing (that’s right, choosing) to do nothing.

    • If I saw a bully I would not have a problem tackling him either and if I had the chance I would try to find out where it all comes from. Why do bullies bully? Bullying is a societal symptom.

    • Thank you for this Emma. I will try posting it tomorrow. He talks my talk – I talk of community love – I talk of inclusion, understanding, reaching out, healing
      Hope you are well, great to hear from you again. Love, Esmeralda

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