Sometimes the planets align–not very often–and I find myself part of the zeitgeist. What’s on my mind is on other people’s too.
When I first started making paintings about gay bullying, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that it struck a chord with people. Folks suddenly confided all kinds of things…
“I’ve seen what bullying is and it’s a terrible thing”.
“I was horrendously tortured. I wanted to jump off the top floor of the school building.”
“Thank you for this IMPORTANT and RELEVANT artwork!!!!!”.
“I’m gay too”.
“This painting makes me want to cry. I think that’s a good thing?”.
Thank you to President Obama for becoming our first President to address the topic of bullying (and LGBT bullying is mentioned by name in the anti-bullying government website, http://www.stopbullying.gov/topics/lgbt/).
Obama not only convened a National Conference on Bullying at the White House on March 10, but he confessed that he was bullied too, for having big ears and a “weird” name.
Most important was when he said that bullying “affects every single young person in our country. Putting a stop to bullying is a responsibility we all share.”
I’m so glad he’s asking us all to have this national conversation. It will save lives.
[The painting above is called “Bridge” and was painted in response to Tyler Clementi’s suicide. Tyler was the college freshman who was secretly filmed and subsequently outed by his college roommate. He took his life just a few weeks in to the school year. I have not been able to get him out of my mind since].