The burdens of the living

Bobby Griffith (1963-1983)

You don’t have to teach people how to be human. You have to teach them how to stop being inhuman.
— Eldridge Cleaver (1935-1998 )

Lifetime movie Prayers for Bobby is a new film adaptation of 1996 memoir Prayers for Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son.

Mary Griffith worked with journalist Leroy Aarons to chronicle the persecuted life and ultimate death of Mary’s gay son Bobby Griffith.  And it is not really much of a spoiler for me to mention that Mary was chief persecutor of Bobby with regard to his sexual orientation.  It seems that Mary was transformed from a religious zealot against gay people into a champion for LGBTQ youth through the tragic loss of her son.

This morning actress Sigourney Weaver, who plays Mary Griffith in the film adaptation, gave an emotional interview on CNN about the horrible crisis LGBTQ youth face when they are rejected by their families. 

Bobby died as a result of cultural and familial shunning in 1983.   Youth had been dying from this social pollution for decades leading up to Bobby’s suicide and countless lives have been destroyed for the three decades since Bobby died.   

Listening to these three presumably heterosexual people on CNN ponder the persecution of queer youth by their parents is simultaneously encouraging and infuriating.  Yes this society has come a long way, but at what a cost.

Hat Tip: Teaching Tolerance

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  1. Pingback: The educative power of art « Thinking Queerly: Schools, politics and culture