Steven Universe: Cartoon Network censor same sex scene in UK version of show

Jack Shepherd @JackJShepherd Friday 8 January 2016

A petition to ‘End Homophobic Censorship of Steven Universe’ has been signed by over 4,000 people


Cartoon Network’s cartoon series Steven Universe was released to critical praise, with many commentators complimenting the show for bringing gender to the forefront of a children’s show, with clear, positive LGBT+ themes throughout.

However, according to reports the network’s European division has decided to censor one of the episodes in the UK, removing a scene in which two female characters kiss.

The scene in question, which takes place in the episode ‘We Need To Talk’, has caused outrage online, with a petition having been started entitled ‘End Homophobic Censorship of Steven Universe’. It has been signed by over 4,000 people as of the 7 January.

You can see the cut for yourself in the clip below, the characters Pearl and Rose Quartz embracing at around the 1.59 mark.

As you can see, their non-offensive kiss is replaced by a shot of a young man staring on, strumming his guitar.

Netflix ‘moving quickly’ on globally accessible content
Since the petition gained attraction, Cartoon Network has responded to the outcry, writing on Facebook: “Cartoon Network (in Europe) often shows amended versions of programs from US originals.

“The US broadcast system requires that shows are marked with a rating –in this case PG (parental guidance necessary). In the UK we have to ensure everything on air is suitable for kids of any age at any time.

“We do feel that the slightly edited version is more comfortable for local kids and their parents.”

This response has, in itself, caused yet more outrage, with viewers asking why a sexual/romantic interaction between a male and female character in the same episode was no censored.

“So heterosexual relationships are somehow more suitable for young people than same-sex relationships?” wrote one disgruntled viewer on Facebook, while another wrote: “Censoring at this point is still very unnecessary, there is nothing offensive about the scene you censored.”

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Pink News, who were one of the first to notice the change, noted that the BBFC’s ‘Universal’ rating allows for characters to “be seen kissing or cuddling and there may be references to sexual behaviour. However, there will be no overt focus on sexual behaviour, language or innuendo”, a condition the censored scene does not break.

Steven Universe’s former producer Ian Jones-Quarterly has previously confirmed that two of the female characters, Ruby and Sapphire, are “in a romantic relationship and I don’t believe any different”. How and if Cartoon Network are going to censor that relationship as well is currently unknown.

Senior Christians asks church for better treatment of LGBT people

churchAn open letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York has been signed by 105 senior Anglicans…

The letter asks the Archbishops to accept the church has mistreated LGBT people and to “repent” at a meeting of worldwide Anglican church leaders.

Those who signed the letter hope Justin Welby and Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishops, will take “an unequivocal message” to the meeting.

The letter is critical of the church. “We have made [LGBT Christians] feel second-class citizens,” it says.

“We, the Church, need to apologise for our part in perpetuating rather than challenging ill-informed beliefs about LGBTI people, such as the slanderous view that homosexuals have a predisposition to prey on the young.”

The meeting of Primates is a gathering of the chief Anglican bishops from each of the 38 church regions around the world, including countries with a poor record on LGBT rights.

On this issue, the letter says: “We understand that the Primates come from a variety of contexts with differing ways of interpreting the Scriptures, but we urge you to be prophetic in your action and Christ-like in your love towards our LGBTI sisters and brothers.”

There are fears church ministers from Kenya and Uganda will walk out over disagreements about LGBT acceptance in the church, BBC religious affairs correspondent Caroline Wyatt has reported.

The letter was organised by Jayne Ozanne, former director of the Accepting Evangelicals group which campaigns for LGBT Christians’ rights.

“It was time to stand tall and actually call the Church back to its roots to reminding them about the fact that we are there to welcome and serve all,” she said to BBC News.

“We have not treated the gay community as equal members. We’ve actually vilified them.”

Journalist Patrick Strudwick was critical of the church’s continued failure to uphold LGBT equality:

Teacher to be compensated over comments on gay son

Bernie Marron says principal made critical comments about her son’s sexual orientation

 Bernie  Marron told the Equality Tribunal she was looking for an acknowledgment that what had happened to her was wrong and sought no financial compensation.

Bernie Marron told the Equality Tribunal she was looking for an acknowledgment that what had happened to her was wrong and sought no financial compensation.


 A primary school has been ordered to compensate a teacher after the Equality Tribunal found she had been harassed on religious grounds and discriminated against because her son was gay.

Resource teacher Bernie Marron took the case against the board of management of St Paul’s, a Church of Ireland primary school in Collooney, Co Sligo, which is under the patronage of the Bishop of Tuam.

Ms Marron (53), who worked at the school for seven years, said the principal made a series of critical comments about her son’s sexual orientation, saying a “normal boy” would not spend an afternoon shopping for clothes.

She said the principal also raised her son’s speech and attire at a valedictory service at a local secondary school. She told the tribunal he said her son’s pink blazer was not appropriate and questioned what kind of mother Ms Marron was to have a son like that.

Negative effects

Ms Marron said the principal – who denied the allegations – also made a series of comments which were critical or discriminatory towards Catholics.

She said the principal criticised the behaviour of Catholics in church, commented on the negative effects of Catholics joining a local Church of Ireland secondary school and referred to Church of Ireland members as “our children” and the “right people”.

Ms Marron, a non-practising Catholic, said she felt repeatedly undermined by the principal and complained to the school in September 2013. The issues, however, were not dealt with properly by the school.

The chair of the board of management, however, told the tribunal it responded to the allegations “as best they could”.

The principal of St Paul’s denied Ms Marron’s allegations and expressed shock that they had been made.

Regarding Ms Marron’s son’s speech, the principal said she herself had been upset by the boy’s comments about his classmates, which included her own daughter. The principal denied making any statement about the complainant’s son shopping for clothes.

The principal said she was shocked to learn of the allegations and said she had never discriminated against the complainant and had sought to include her at all events involving the school.

In its finding, the Equality Tribunal found as fact that the principal made the derogatory comments attributed to her by Ms Marron.

The tribunal found the principal’s use of the words “us” and “our” in relation to children and adults of different religions amounted to harassment.

Comments on the sexual orientation of Ms Marron’s son and her parenting undermined her dignity at work and amounted to discrimination by association.

Ms Marron told the tribunal she was looking for an acknowledgment that what had happened to her was wrong and sought no financial compensation.

The tribunal, however, ordered the school to award her €3,000 on the basis that the case would attract a significant award of damages in the ordinary course of events.

Equality training

It also ordered that the school undertake equality training to cover discrimination and harassment.

Ms Marron told The Irish Times she took the case in order to challenge a culture that allowed personal opinion and beliefs to override other people’s human rights.

“I was hurt and angry by the experience. No one should be subjected to judgment about their parenting or their son’s right to be themselves,” she said.

She also said the case raised the wider issue of the lack of an effective complaints-handling mechanism

Congratulations LGBT Cookstown

First meeting of LGBT youth group in Cookstown


  • Meeting organised by Cara-Friend, an LGBT service running throughout NI
  • Thursday, January 7 from 6-8pm in Cookstown Leisure Centre
  • Focusing on a safe space mentality for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender

A new group to help young people in the Cookstown area who may be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, will meet for the first time this Thursday.

The youth group has been set up by Cara-Friend, which is an LGBT service running throughout NI.

Representatives of CaraFriend NI
The first meeting will be held on Thursday night from 6-8pm in Cookstown Leisure Centre.
Declan Meehan, who is the youth development manager said rural areas like Mid Ulster left many young people feeling isolated.

“Isolation of young LGBT people, particularly in rural areas, can be very damaging to young people’s mental health and as such, tackling it is a priority for Cara-Friend,” he said.

“It is a peer support and guidance service that focuses on a safe space mentality for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender; and for those who might be questioning either their sexuality or gender identity,” said Declan.


Isolation of young LGBT people, particularly in rural areas, can be very damaging to young people’s mental health
Declan Meehan

“The new youth group will provide a social outlet for young LGBT people in the wider Cookstown area, as well as a safe space in which they can learn about personal development and meet other like minded young people who may be going through a similar process as themselves.

Read more:



Boy, Sets Himself On Fire Because Of Anti-Gay Bullying


By The Gay UK, Jan 5 2016 09:37AM

A 15-year-old student in India has set himself on fire because of anti-gay bullying after being caught being intimate with boyfriend.

CREDIT: tomwang /

CREDIT: tomwang /

A student in Madia Katra, Agra, at the top of his class, set fire to himself after being caught by neighbours being intimate with a friend. He was relentlessly bullying and harassed the boy’s father has told the media in India.

The unnamed boy dowsed himself in stolen diesel on Sunday and set fire to himself. Family and neighbours quickly put out the flames, but he sustained 40% burns to his chest and legs.

Speaking to The Times Of India, the father said,

“‘He is unable to speak properly. The doctors say he is out of danger but I will only believe it when my son will talk to me,”

“The news spread and a some people started teasing and harassing him”.

The father added,

“Upset, he locked himself in the room for two days. He suddenly ran outside the house on Sunday afternoon and set himself afire by pouring diesel on himself.”

Same-sex activity is currently illegal in India and holds a penalty of up to life imprisonment. In December 2015 Shashi Tharoor, a member of the Indian National Congress party, introduced a bill to decriminalise homosexuality. The house rejected the bill by a vote of 71-24. Tharoor is planning to reintroduce the bill

Bayard Rustin and Walter Neagle – Married or adopted?

The Gay History site has published a very interesting article, drawing on an article published by the New York Times,  on how gay couples prevented from marrying choose another route to try and ensure their partner’s rights – that of adopting their partner!

Here I have reprinted the article and then afterwards a editorial piece submitted by Sean McGouran for NIGRA – 


by Paul


Bayard Rustin and Walter Naegle | NPR | 15399

The New York Times have been delving into the history of gay men who could not marry, so one partner adopted the other partner, instead.

Adult adoption by gays and lesbians has only been quietly discussed, both in or outside the gay community, for fairly obvious reasons; there isn’t an easy way to tell your friends and family that the man or woman with whom you share a bed is, legally, your son or father, or your daughter or mother. Consequently, there are no reliable data — or even flimsy data — as to the number of such adoptions, and experts in the field are unwilling to hazard a guess. The practice seems to have taken hold amid the tumult of the 1970s and 1980s, during rampant discrimination and the onset of the AIDS crisis.

Some famous people got round the lack of an option to get married by one adopting the other, it seems. Bayard Rustin and Walter Naegle, pictured, used the legal dodge to protect their interests.

Naegle and Rustin were attracted to each other immediately — they kissed for the first time that day — and became a couple thereafter. During their 10 years together, marriage was not discussed; it simply wasn’t imaginable. .. Rustin wanted to ensure that Naegle — who, at 37 years his junior, would surely outlive him — would inherit his estate, he availed himself of the least-bad option: adoption… Naegle recalled the adoption process: First, his biological mother had to legally disown him. Then a social worker was dispatched to the Rustin-Naegle home in Manhattan to determine if it was fit for a child. “She was apprised of the situation and knew exactly what was happening,” Naegle told me. “Her concern, of course, was that he wasn’t some dotty old man that I was trying to take advantage of, and that I wasn’t some naive young kid that was being preyed upon by an older man.”

The adoption proved a shrewd decision. Naegle, as next of kin, had visiting privileges when Rustin was hospitalized for a perforated appendix and peritonitis and was eventually executor of the will. Despite the oddness of the arrangement, it was, all things considered, legally seamless.

Editorial by Sean McGouran:

Fascinating stuff, for some reason Bayard Rustin is disliked by the (US) far left. He was a member of the Communist Party of the USA, and queer.  The CPUSA (The Communist Party USA) told him to keep both matters under his hat, but it is difficult to know what the Lefties want[ed].  Rustin  was a great organisation-man, he planned Dr. Marin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership’s great 1966 ‘March on Washington’.  

 Tantamount to an invasion by about a million (mostly ‘Black’ / African Americans) by car, coach, rail, air – from all States (including Hawaii, so far as I can figure out.  It became a State of the Union in 1958.  Was Alaska ten years later?).  It was  wonderful achievement for an organisation with practically no employee.  That was where King gave his “Free at last!  Free at last!” speech, which led to the (very speedy) passage of the Civil Rights Act.  Even the reddest of red-necks realised that such organisational genius could be put to other uses, like possibly organising an underground army (‘Blacks’ in the Southland already were arming themselves).

   The Klan invaded an all-Black village in North Carolina (for about the thousandth time) but this time the “Niggers” shot back!

Evil ISIS executes boy, 15, by throwing him off a roof – because he's gay






By Jeremy Culley /

MURDEROUS ISIS terrorists carried out a horrific public execution by throwing a boy accused of homosexuality off a roof, reports say.


MURDERED: A prisoner being thrown from a roof by ISIS

MURDERED: A prisoner being thrown from a roof by ISIS


The 15-year-old had been arrested for being gay and thrown from the top of a building in Deir ez-Zor, Syria.

An eyewitness told ARA News: “The horrific execution took place in front of a large crowd.”

Sources say that the boy had been in a gay relationship with ISIS officer Abu Zaid al-Jazrawi, who has been sent to Iraq on the battlefront, rather than being executed.


SICK: Terror cult ISIS has conquered large swathes of the Middle East

Although the Islamic law bans homosexuality, the brutal punishment by Daesh has never been witnessed throughout history”

Civil rights activist Raed Ahmed

This is reportedly to compensate for heavy losses sustained by ISIS, also known as Daesh, on the frontline from coalition and Russian bombing.

Sarai al-Din told ARA News: “The boy was accused of being engaged in a homosexual relation with the prominent ISIS officer Abu Zaid al-Jazrawi.

“Abu Zaid was forced to leave Syria and join the fighting fronts in northwestern Iraq. The decision has been taken by the ISIS leadership.

Map shows Europe still divided over equal marriage

Equal marriage is still constitutionally banned in many Eastern European countries.

A map recently uploaded to Imgur shows the progress of equal marriage through Europe from 1989 to the present day and beyond.

In 1989, only Denmark recognised same-sex couples in civil partnerships. Throughout the 1990s, many Eastern European countries passed constitutional amendments banning the recognition of same-sex partnership. Bans in countries like Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and Serbia are still in place today.



As of 2015, same sex marriage is recognised in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland), Iceland, Norway, Sweden, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Denmark.

Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, and Greece all give couples access to civil partnerships – but not marriage.

The completed map shows a stark contrast between Western Europe, where the majority of countries have adopted equal marriage, and Eastern Europe – where bans are still in place.

The map includes equal marriage laws that have yet to come into effect – such as Estonia later this year Finland in 2017.

Mind the gap – What do older men with younger partners have in common?

What do older men with younger partners have in common? Why are they attracted to each other? And why does it offend some members of the gay community so much? With Tom Daley [21] making headlines for his engagement to to Dustin Lance Black [41] this year, GT talks to five gay men to discover whether or not we should mind the gap.

You’ve seen him in the bar – he’s the grey-haired, much older man sitting with his hand on a much younger guy’s thigh. Immediately you assume the attraction is either based on a mutually satisfactory financial agreement, a daddy fetish or a mid-life crisis.

But does an age gap relationship need strings attached to work? Can’t it just be two people who have fallen in love despite the years that separate them?

Most of us in the gay community have dated, or at least had a one-nighter, with someone considerably older or younger than us. Friends of Tom Daley, who recently revealed he’s in a relationship with a man, say that finding love with Milk writer Dustin Lance Black, a man 20 years older than him, was the catalyst to him talking publically about his sexuality.

However, it’s often the case that being in a long-term, committed relationship with an older or younger man must still raise eyebrows from some quarters. And in some cases, it can find the older man branded a pervert or manipulator while his younger counterpart is dismissed as a gold digger.

There’s a 24-year age gap between Michael and Dennis*. They began dating three years ago after meeting online. “My last boyfriend was ten years my junior and I was dubious about dating someone younger again,” explains Michael, 53. “When we split up, I started internet dating and was adamant I wanted to meet someone my own age. I went on several dinners with men in their 40s and 50s, but we didn’t click.

“Then I met with Dennis at a bar in Vauxhall, London, and we hit it off straight away. But the age gap worried me, even though the more time we spent together, the more we got on. And soon I realised I was being prejudiced about younger guys. Just because my last boyfriend turned out to be an immature idiot, it didn’t mean everyone younger than me was too.”

Dennis, 29, adds: “I’m not into older or younger guys, it’s about how we get on, and Michael and I just fit. I like the grey bits in his hair, the fact he’s lived a bit more of life than me, that he’s had experiences I haven’t. The only time our age difference gets in the way is when we’re doing a music quiz down the pub. He knows everything about the 1970s and I wasn’t born until 1984.”

“Some guys in bars have suggested Dennis is a kept man, but he actually earns a lot more than me,” Michael continues. “One friend says I’m a dirty old man for falling for a younger guy. We don’t speak any more.”

Age differences between gay couples are much more common that straight ones. A study in the UK, USA, Sweden, France and the Netherlands revealed that gay couples are almost three times more likely to have an age difference of more than ten years between them, compared to heterosexual couples.

“In speaking with thousands of people about relationships, gay men are more open to a relationship with an age gap,” says Lemarc Thomas, managing director of Seventy Thirty, the exclusive matchmaking and introduction agency. “Most gay men over 30 will understand the feeling of going against what’s considered a societal norm, which makes them more open to breaking such barriers.

“There is still a stigma attached, even among other gay men. Freud might encourage the assumption that there are a few father issues for both the younger and older man. We may see manipulation, a life crisis, one being kept or something worse. However, an age gap relationship can be functional and successful if built on solid foundations with mutuality. But it’s more difficult to achieve long term compatibility.”

Gay age gaps like that between Tom and Dustin are nothing new. French poet Arthur Rimbaud was 17 when he started a relationship fellow poet Paul Verlaine, 11-years older than him. Oscar Wilde was 36 when he became involved with the 22-year-old Lord Alfred Douglas. There are 15 years between Sir Elton John, 66, and husband David Furnish, 51. Stephen Fry made headlines in 2010 when he started dating actor Steven Webb, despite their 26-year age difference. And designer Calvin Klein was 48 years older than his ex-partner, model Nick Gruber.

There’s nine years difference between Joe Marsden, 28, and James Hilton, 19, who met on a phone dating app. But that nine years was enough for Joe to be on the receiving end of a flurry of nasty Facebook messages when the two began dating.

“I didn’t notice James’ age straight away, but he did look quite young. And when it turned out he was 17 I thought, ‘ahh, okay this could be a problem,’” recalls Joe. “James was still in college, and that sounded so young. Even if he’d been 18 or 19 it would have sounded better. But he didn’t seem bothered about my age.

“I’m a member of a few groups on Facebook that help young people to come out. Most people I’ve dated have been in similar situations – they’ve had no or few friends and struggled to meet people without the help of the internet. A lot of younger people look for older people because there’s potential for a deeper relationship there.

Robert Gershinson

Robert Gershinson

“I had 110,000 Facebook followers. But when it came to talking about my relationship with James, I got so much hate online. They asked why he’s with me because he can do better. If I post pictures of us I will get more than 100 messages saying they want to sleep with him.

“Eventually it got too much and I deleted my account. The age gap comments were a whole new level of nastiness and jealousy. I put a lot into the gay community so it was a surprise to get such negative comments just because I’m going out with someone younger than me. At one point I even thought about ending the relationship; it would have been so much easier to go out with someone my own age.”

According to Lemarc Thomas, an age gap is just one of many factors which can contribute to whether a relationship is functional or dysfunctional. “At Seventy Thirty, when we’re matchmaking for our members, we don’t look at age per se, instead we think of life stage. We also consider shared core values, background, lifestyle, goals, personality and attraction.”

Some therapists believe younger gay men are attracted to older men because, when they were boys, they were deprived of their father’s attention and became isolated in their own closeted gay world. So older gay partners can become a role model, a teacher and protective elder friend. In return, it can bring out the paternal side of an older gay man. Others claim it’s an issue of control – the older men want to be in charge in a relationship.

It’s that reason which has put Jeremy*, 24, off dating anyone over 30. “Most men I’ve been out with have been at least a decade older than me,” he begins, “and without fail, those relationships have all gone wrong because they don’t trust a younger guy. They think we cheat on them, that we want them to come home, but behind their backs we’re fucking around with people our own age. Older men are very, very insecure. They want a good-looking lad on their arm to control them. I’ve yet to meet one who is confident enough in themselves to trust me not to cheat on him.”

“Balance is important in relationships and each person must feel what they bring is equal to what they receive,” adds Lemarc Thomas. “A study on social exchange in age gap relationships suggested the younger partner was much more likely than the older to grant or refuse sexual gratification as a means of securing or maintaining power. Sex was not necessarily exchanged for financial compensation, the older partner offered intelligence and social accomplishments, which are often as strongly attractive to younger partners as material possessions.

“When we think of gay history, there has been rapid societal changes. In the early 70s, homosexuality was still listed as a pathological disorder; today we’re talking about gay marriage. The generation gap for gay men is potentially massive. This means that the couple may realise they’re from very different backgrounds, from which it is difficult to build a mutual understanding.”

*Some names have been changed by request.

Words John Marrs

How to Break the Bullying Cycle

OUT dot com logo


gay bullying

Author Jonathan Fast discusses his book Beyond Bullying and the danger of ‘gay-neutral’ school policies.


Jonathan Fast knows what it’s like to be bullied. As a chubby 8-year-old in summer camp, he was tormented by an athletic boy who broke his arm. Even his father, Spartacus author Howard Fast, was bullied by the House Committee on Un-American Activities for being communist in the 1950s.

In his powerful new book, Beyond Bullying: Breaking the Cycle of Shame, Bullying, and Violence, 67-year-old Dr. Fast takes an unhurried look at the shame underlying violence towards LGBT and straight folks alike. “With this book, I hope readers will be better equipped to deal with bullying of every sort,” he explains, while speaking at his Yeshiva University office. “With time, we’ll be moved, if only by a single degree, closer toward a place where all people are equally valued and respected.” Fast spoke about the danger of “gay-neutral” school policies, fighting back, and whether or not there’s a “cure” for bullying.

Out: Did being harassed as a kid inspire this topic?

Jonathan Fast: In my last book, Ceremonial Violence, about school shootings, a detail was missing about the Columbine killers and other perpetrators. At a conference I heard a talk about shame, and had an epiphany: I realized these vicious guys were carrying huge amounts of that primal emotion. Most likely they were disappointing their parents, not gainfully employed, having trouble socially. Why turn to school shooting? Because they couldn’t express their shame if they wanted to appear mature, powerful, and successful. It’s taboo even to talk about this feeling because it’s associated with little children, weakness, and failure. Ultimately it comes out of their guns.

Gays have been bullied for decades. But during Stonewall, they fought back. Is rioting a useful reaction to feeling oppressed?

It’s a common form of shame management when the feeling is intense, shared by a lot of people, and there seems to be no other peaceful means of managing it. Rioters are usually unaware of their motivations beyond a general sense of rage and frustration. While neighborhoods may be damaged and community members hurt, the events draw attention to grave social problems. Stonewall created a milestone for the gay rights movement and empowered a subculture.

How have LGBT individuals dealt with society’s violence toward them?

Some choose to use their fists, which yields mixed results. Jamie Nabozny invoked the law. In 1988, after coming out in his Wisconsin middle school, he was repeatedly tortured by classmates. The problem persisted into high school. He sued both principals, staff members, and the school district for neglecting to protect him. Lambda Legal came on board, pushing the case into the headlines. A partner at the white shoe law firm Skadden Arps offered his services pro bono. The jury found the school administrators liable for failing to stop antigay violence against Nabozny, who won a 1 million dollar settlement.

In Minnesota, two young women responded with social action. A romantic couple in high school, they’d heard about a series of local gay teenagers killing themselves and wanted to bring visibility to non-traditional gender roles. They got elected to a 12-member Royal Court, and were set to walk in a public ceremony. But days before the procession, a teacher told them their plan was unacceptable because they were two women. They contacted the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center and battled against the school leadership. Ultimately they won the right to proceed on the red carpet, to wild cheers and applause.

Regarding that group of suicides, you point to education policies as potential culprits. One high school had written a mandate for faculty and staff to show respect for all students, and to remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation. It led to a spate of teen suicides over two years. What went wrong?

A lot. The 2009 recession hit that suburb hard. Residents bought big houses and got caught with giant mortgages. Middle class folks became homeless, living in their cars. Kids were told not to speak about their depression and lack of cash. So they couldn’t manage their shame. To begin with, adolescents aren’t working with a full biological deck. The frontal lobe—the part of the brain that analyzes consequences—doesn’t mature until age 25. Influenced by their peers, teens often make poor choices.

Add to that mix a poorly worded edict that bans any reference to homosexuality, spearheaded by conservative parents. It silenced the few gay teachers who’d acted as a support network for kids coming out. Trying to be neutral, one school psychologist took down the picture of her partner on her desk. Youngsters stopped hearing “it gets better.” All these things contributed to hidden shame, which you tend to turn inward, resulting in acts like cutting, and in this case, a cluster of suicides.

The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in the U.S. military has been repealed. Marriage equality is the rule of law. But in one study, 95% of gay adolescents reported feeling separated and emotionally isolated from peers because of their sexual orientation. Around 50% of gay adolescents have experienced physical violence by family members. Research has shown that LGBT teens attempt suicide four times more frequently than their heterosexual peers. When will this trend reverse?

It’ll take another generation to change. I grew up in a homophobic home and my father was an intellectual. He’d say a great writer would never be gay, because they couldn’t relate to the basic human experience. Which was absurd. But when you’re a little kid and your father is a celebrated author, you tend to believe him.

In 1963 the New York Times published an article “Growth of Overt Homosexuality in City Provokes Wide Concern.” Its title reflected the opinion of the Times and the times. I see it getting better with my grown kids.

We all carry shame at times. What are healthy ways to deal with it?

Write about it. Express yourself through art. The film The Gift is a good example. It’s about a teenage bully who grows up and doesn’t understand why in high school his target complained about getting beat up. After all, the bully had been abused by his own dad, but believed he’d sucked it up. Of course, instead of sucking it up, the roughneck had displaced his pain and trounced his victim.

Other ways to deal include going to confession, if you’re Catholic. Volunteering. Doing a good deed. The “It Gets Better” campaign is a great example.

Is there a cure for bullying?

No. We have endless examples of maltreatment of people in politics—think Donald Trump—and in media, like certain newscasters. We live in a bullying society. We have the highest homicide and incarceration rate, and the worst income division, which is a big shame factor. Believing that society is a meritocracy can be humiliating to a lot of people. They imagine success yields happiness. But if prosperity is unattainable, people take that personally. They feel ashamed, and unhappy. Sometimes the shame is turned outward, which is how we get bullies