Saturday, 22 December 2012

The Scourge of Bullying Runs Deep

This is staggering.

A new breakthrough study has found that bullying may have a serious physiological impact on children, altering their DNA and affecting the way they deal with stress in later life.

Not of interest just for gays, but for anyone wanting to understand the actual process of genetic change, ultimately helping to understand the mechanisms behind evolution.

Perhaps this is what the Mayan calendar predicted.

Gays know bullying.  I don't think it's a stretch to say that most of us were bullied.  I was very masculine but not totally in-line with the straights, and any step "out of line" in a straight crowd can bring instant and frightening repercussions.

"If you like him, go there now."

I overhead this in the Toronto subway last night, while standing with a group of young males.  It was a small, scrappy guy saying this to his "friend" who glanced from an advertising poster of a hot almost naked girl, to a picture of a hot, sexy male model (who was admittedly much more clothed but just as hot).

When he said "go there now" he was pointing at the subway tracks, telling his friend to kill himself if he liked guys.

As I struggle to understand the situation -- and recoil thinking I might have possibly said something equally as stupid at their age -- I wonder if it is somehow much worse that the homophobic friend didn't threaten to kill, but instead told his friend to kill himself if he thought hot males were worth a glance.

As much as this caused emotional turmoil in me -- should I have said something ?  Should I have at least made a face and stared at the hot guy in the poster and nodded in appreciation ?  -- my many years here on Earth have taught me that eventually we must move on from the horrors that human society can conjure.

For those like me who are interested in science, this study is simply mind blowing.  Do random mutations cause evolution ?  Does nature have its own subtle ways of flipping switches and writing code ?  Is it possibly a combination of these and other methods ?  Is Monsanto and their ilk endangering our ecosystem with irresponsible DNA mutations ?

We still don't know, but if this study really does prove that a most horrible behaviour can cause changes in a person's genetic code, then we certainly have the most ideal foundation possible, both from a scientific and a humanistic perspective, to build a model for understanding and growth.

Too bad the views of science and society are often so very, very divergent.