18 April 2009 Main Posts school age homophobia Jeff Sparrow This from Salon: On Thursday, Judith Warner wrote about both Carl Walker-Hoover and Eric Mohat, a 17-year-old who shot himself after a bully flat-out suggested he should, adding “no one will miss you.” And once again, the tormenters were focused on the victim’s failure to conform to gender norms, so the bullying manifested as vicious homophobia. “Eric liked theater, played the piano and wore bright clothing, a lawyer for his family told ABC news, and so had long been subject to taunts of ‘gay,’ ‘fag,’ ‘queer’ and ‘homo.” As Warner puts it, “The message to the most vulnerable, to the victims of today’s poisonous boy culture, is being heard loud and clear: to be something other than the narrowest, stupidest sort of guy’s guy, is to be unworthy of even being alive.” She quotes one teenage boy who told author C.J. Pascoe, “To call someone gay or fag is like the lowest thing you can call someone. Because that’s like saying that you’re nothing.” Pascoe herself, who spent 18 months studying the culture in a Northern California high school, says that the boys there “have the sense that to be a man means something and is incredibly important … To not be a man is to not be fully human and that’s terrifying.” To not be a man is to not be fully human. To be gay is to be nothing. In case anyone was unclear on the connection between homophobia and misogyny, there you go. It’s a passage worth remembering next time someone starts blathering about how the social movements have won and, because there’s a gay kiss on some soap opera, we’re now all on a perfectly level playing field. Obviously, the Salon piece is about the USA. Is it as bad as that in schools in Australia? Doe anyone know? Jeff Sparrow Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland. More by Jeff Sparrow Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 24 February 202317 March 2023 Main Posts Final Results of the 2022 Judith Wright Poetry Prize Editorial Team Overland, the judges and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation are thrilled to announce the final results of the 2022 Judith Wright Poetry Prize. First published in Overland Issue 228 24 February 202317 March 2023 Main Posts Final Results of the 2022 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize Editorial Team Overland, the judges and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation are thrilled to announce the final results of the 2022 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize.