The controversy began on Monday, when the Washington Post published a guest editorial from Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council, saying that young people who are bullied for being gay are depressed because they are gay, not because they are being bullied. Many people, including Jim Burroway from Box Turtle Bulletin, Jeremy Hooper from Good As You, Chris Geidner from Metro Weekly, and Pam Spaulding from Pam’s House Blend took his argument apart, piece by piece. They, and we, wondered why the Washington Post was allowing Perkins to use their soapbox. I wrote:
Perkins’ rhetoric not only encourages and justifies anti-gay bullying, it IS anti-gay bullying – and it has no place in the pages of one of the nation’s most respected news sources.We then put a link to our blog on our twitter feed, as we usually do: The Post responded to us, with this: So we responded to them. However, as wonderful a communications tool as Twitter is, 140 characters isn't anywhere near enough to describe how inappropriate we (and many others, including Pam Spaulding) felt their response was. Today, GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios repsonded in full, in the Post itself.
"By giving noted anti-gay activist Tony Perkins a platform from which he could explicitly blame the victims of bullying for their own depression, the Washington Post became part of the problem." ... "In his piece this week (mere paragraphs after he claimed that he believes no person should be subjected to verbal harassment) Perkins called gay children "abnormal" and "self-destructive." According to the Post, there's nothing wrong with that sort of name-calling. It's just one side of the debate. And technically the Post is correct when it says it is covering "both sides" of the scourge of anti-gay bullying. But one of those sides belongs to the bully himself."Jarrett tells a very personal story of how media coverage like this affected him as a young person and calls on the Post (and all media) to "stop treating [Perkins] like a reasonable contributor to our national dialogue." We thank the Post for publishing Jarrett's editorial, and more importantly, we sincerely hope they take it to heart.