Oct 082010
 
 October 8, 2010  Online, Youth & Schools

Wendy Kaminer writes:

A recent string of gay teen suicides, brought to light by Tyler Clementi’s leap off the George Washington bridge, is creating a “teachable moment” for gay rights activists, today’s Washington Post declares. I hope they’re right, and the tragic deaths of Clementi and others will help de-legitimize discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity (discrimination never really ends, but laws and social mores can greatly reduce its incidence). But I worry about the lessons being drawn and not drawn from this “moment” — the tendency is to equate inequality with incivility, by characterizing Clementi as a victim of bullying, and the relatively scant attention being paid to contempt for his privacy. “The problem with (the video posting that preceded Clementi’s suicide) was not that it was hurtful, but rather that it was a crime” — a crime against privacy — as my friend Harvey Silverglate has stressed. If the video had been posted not to mock him, out of indiscriminate meanness or anti-gay bias, but, with good (if profoundly stupid) intentions to help advance acceptance of homosexuality, it would still be a gross and apparently criminal violation of privacy.

Read more in The Atlantic.

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