Today’s a busy day—emotionally and politically.
It’s the day after the 2016 Transgender Day of Remembrance, also recognized as the Transgender Day of Resilience, and our social media pages have been filled with stories of violence against trans* youth, some resulting in death and many sparking resistance. It’s almost two weeks since Donald Trump received enough electoral votes to become U.S. President-Elect, and LGBTQ educators, advocates, and allies are still trying to make sense of the stories of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia driving the election results. It’s also the morning after 160+ water protectors were injured when police used tear gas, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and water cannons in an effort to break up the #NoDAPL resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
It’s also the day we begin to wrap up our revisions to the Beyond Bullying Project’s website. Our project began with a concern about how school communities were thinking about LGBTQ sexuality and gender. Our team wanted to think “beyond bullying”—that is, we wanted to get past a single-minded concern with anti-gay bullying in schools. Like most people, we want students, teachers and staff to be safe at school, but we also want more. We want LGBTQ lives to take up more room in schools’ imaginations. We want people to notice when LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty are being bullied, sure, but we also want to notice when LGBTQ folks are in love, when we’re struggling against racism, when we’re deciding which adults in our lives we can trust, when our friends support us, when our heroes let us down, when the bigger world feels scary, and when we decide to fight back.
The world we see “beyond bullying” is crowded and complicated. It’s not a world in which we’ve all gotten over our homophobia and just get along—we’re not trying to point beyond some horizon at an abstract utopia. Instead, we’re trying to acknowledge the hope and challenges of the world we live in right now—a world that requires us to think about complexity and justice in LGBTQ lives beyond bullying. That means we have to think about LGBTQ sexuality as it’s depicted in Days of Remembrance and Resilience. We need to think about LGBTQ people making lives for themselves in the aftermath of a divisive presidential election. And we have to recognize that LGBTQ people were among the protestors and the police in that violent conflict in North Dakota. Sexuality threads through our lives and our stories. The stories we share on the new Beyond Bullying Project website are just pieces in the larger story we’re all writing together.
The Beyond Bullying Project team