From GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard (@ebyard).
Welcome to 2011, the year we will put an end to the casual and unthinking use of anti-LGBT language. And what can you do to start this year and this effort off right? Take a moment to say "Thank you" to Reggie Bush, star running back for the NFL's New Orleans Saints.
Last week, Bush took a moment to think about the phrase "No Homo," which he senses is becoming more and more popular. He asked his twitter followers if they thought the phrase was offensive to gay people. The answer from the twitterverse was a resounding yes. Bush's conclusion, tweeted out to the world:
(For the record, research bears out Bush’s informal poll results. 85% of LGBT youth who had heard "no homo" said the phrase caused them to feel bothered or distressed to some degree, according to our 2009 National School Climate Survey.)
When someone like Reggie Bush speaks, young people listen. And he has set a terrific example about being willing to think before you speak that needs to be known far and wide.
Many of us are still reeling from the fall's brutual drumbeat of bad news about bullying in our schools and suicides of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, not to mention the frenzy of media attention that followed. Here's a chance to start the New Year focused on the positive change that must come out of last year's horror, by thanking a friend for taking a step that could make a huge difference in the crucial battle to make respect for all - despite our differences - the rule, rather than the exception, in our schools.
All of GLSEN’s work is designed to do just that. This month will mark GLSEN's eighth annual No Name-Calling Week (January 24-28), designed to get K-12 students to end name-calling of all kinds. I can think of no better message or example than Reggie Bush's to lead us into No Name-Calling Week, or to get us started on all of the work ahead in this critical year. (Join the conversation on the NNCW Facebook page.)
Happy New Year, and thank you, Reggie Bush.
(If you're on Twitter, please take a moment to thank @reggie_bush personally using the hashtag #thanksreggiebush.)