HRC Blog

Tell Tea Party Activist - Bullying Isn’t Healthy

HRC's  Call it Out campaign is highlighting recent comments from Tea Party activisit Rich Swier. In response to a statistic that said 77 percent of bullied youth were targeted due to their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, Swier said bullying “is peer pressure and it is healthy.” Swier went on to compare being gay to behaviors like smoking, underage drinking and drug abuse.

Swier made his comments after the group Gulf Coast Gives, which supports civic enhancement projects in the Gulf region, announced its intention to raise funds to bring straight ally Hudson Taylor to Florida for an event. Right Wing Watch reports on Swier’s full comments, including his remarks that he “agree[s] with Gulf Coast Gives that ‘LGBT youth are up to five times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts.’ Homosexuality, like drugs, harms young people if they experement [sic] with it. That is the greatest tragedy.”

Act now to tell Swier that his comments are unacceptable - bullying is serious and has real consequences.

Straight supporter and Athlete Ally founder Hudson Taylor said of Swier's remarks: “Rich Swier’s profoundly misguided comments reveal that young people must not only overcome prejudice and bullying from their peers but from adults as well. His statement reinforces damaging stereotypes that endanger our youth and dishonors the basic principles of dignity and respect at the heart of our culture. We need leaders and allies, sending a clear message – prejudice and bullying are never acceptable.”

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