Bad Ass Activists of the Week

by Cara on September 19, 2007

in activism, bad ass women’s activist of the week, bigotry, homophobia, International, LGBTQ

So I know that this story (via Tracey) is a few days late, but I just had to share. It’s so great that reading about it honestly makes me tear up a bit. In lieu of a bad ass women’s activist this week, meet bad asses David Shepherd and Travis Price.

The Grade 9 student arrived for the first day of school last Wednesday and was set upon by a group of six to 10 older students who mocked him, called him a homosexual for wearing pink and threatened to beat him up.

The next day, Grade 12 students David Shepherd and Travis Price decided something had to be done about bullying.

“It’s my last year. I’ve stood around too long and I wanted to do something,” said David.

They used the Internet to encourage people to wear pink and bought 75 pink tank tops for male students to wear. They handed out the shirts in the lobby before class last Friday — even the bullied student had one.

“I made sure there was a shirt for him,” David said.

Out of 830 students, half wore pink on the day. These kids really are fucking awesome. Seriously, check it out:

David said one of the bullies angrily asked him whether he knew pink on a male was a symbol of homosexuality.

He told the bully that didn’t matter to him and shouldn’t to anyone.

How often are you going to find a high school boy willing to say that? And how about their humble demeanor:

Travis Price and David Shepherd, Grade 12 boys who organized a drive to back a new Grade 9 student who was harassed for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school last week, have been deluged with e-mails and interview requests from near and far.

. . . While Travis and David appreciate the recognition, “we don’t want to move the focus from the situation onto us,” said David, who is leaning toward joining the RCMP after high school.

“People say, ‘You’re celebrities, you’ll go down in the history books of the school,’ but that’s not what we set out to do.”

“People say you’re famous, heroes or celebrities,” added Travis, who plans to take criminology next year. “We’re not, we’re just two kids who stood up for a cause.”

They’re also working on a proposal for an elementary school program about bullying. And other student councils from the area are planning holding their own “pink day.”

I have to be honest and say that when I first read the story, I didn’t pay attention to the source and just assumed that this happened somewhere in the deep south– not Canada. I mean, we usually think of them as being a lot more progressive than the U.S. Not to mention, who gets picked on for wearing pink, anymore? I was under the impression that it was all the rage. My two younger brothers (both straight) have embraced the color. Pink is my 20-year-old brother’s absolute favorite for clothes and everything else, and my 15-year-old brother has a pink Nintendo DS. Pink is cool now for guys, so seriously, what the fuck? Is it a regional thing?

In any case, David and Travis are my new heroes, and I think that they deserve the recognition for doing something that took a lot of courage, and could have potentially caused them a lot of grief. I remember high school a little too well, and teenage boys were cowardly little fuckers. It’s great to see that there are some good ones out there. These boys not only stood up for this one kid (whose sexual orientation seems to be unknown), but also stood up for the right to be gay and still live peacefully. Rock on, guys, rock on.

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{ 3 comments }

1 dew September 19, 2007 at 10:07 pm

I have boy students who wear pink, several of them. But I love how these boys reacted to that bullying.

2 Daomadan September 20, 2007 at 11:15 am

Bullying is one of my “pet causes” as a teacher. I was viciously bullied growing up and have done research into Dan Olweus’s and his Bullying Prevention Program that has been very successful in Europe and elsewhere.

These two boys did a great thing in such a simple way. I hope this leads to some strides in their school to address any future problems of bullying and homophobia.

3 wellie September 20, 2007 at 5:01 pm

this just made me smile. how fabulous!

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