The Nation





I was anguished at last week's news reports about a teenage boy who attempted suicide by overdosing on Paracetamol because two teachers and his school's director, all female, had made him feel ashamed about his homosexuality.

They'd rebuked him and slapped his face because they believed his behaviour was effeminate.

They threatened to undress him in public unless he adjusted his mannerisms.

This horror story might have been kept quiet had the boy's mother not informed the police. Newspapers and TV picked up the thread.

A 14-year-old trying to commit suicide is a serious matter. Trying to overdose on Paracetamol is definitely not acting. I'm amazed that officials at the school still have not made a public statement. No one has accepted or denied responsibility.

And I'm also amazed that there's been no follow-up story in the news media. Does this boy's welfare mean nothing?

I believe many people who heard this news have the same kind of questions. Does anyone really think the youngster was guilty of any offence when he was only being himself? If he expresses himself honestly, is it a reason to be reviled? Does anyone still think it's possible to "quit being homosexual"?

It is of course doubly disappointing that this happened at a school, which should be encouraging youngsters to cross the border of ignorance while at the same time uplifting their spirit as individuals. If the teachers aren't at this level of understanding and compassion, what will their students learn?

Surely the teachers and the school director see that they at least partially prompted a youth to try and kill himself. If they don't realise this, their students might as well stop wai'ing them in respect and direct their wai to their textbooks instead.

I was reminded of another news story almost 10 years ago, when a university freshman jumped off his dormitory roof because he could no longer bear the senior students' brutal hazing.

The suicide was big news for awhile, but hazing continues as viciously as ever, albeit with "innovations" to conceal the violence from public view.

This time, a 14-year-old's attempted suicide is unlikely to stimulate any reform in society's built-in prejudice and ignorance.

But I dread the day the next attempt, just because someone's homosexual, is successful.

Comments conditions

Users are solely responsible for their comments.We reserve the right to remove any comment and revoke posting rights for any reason withou prior notice.