What the World Needs Right Now is Kermit the Frog
I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about the recent spate of suicides by glbtq youth because of bullying. It is both so devastating and seemingly inevitable in our world that there are times that denial is necessary to survive. I’ve hoped that this kind of bullying was being addressed, that there was enough support for our youth out there that they could escape middle school and high school, if not unscathed, at least alive.
What we need right now is a message from Kermit to change the way the world is.
I’m a big fan of Kermit the Frog. Really. Not only because Sesame Street opened the world for kids all over America to see that we are many and various and worthwhile. But because Kermit the Frog was an Everyman who believed that being different was, if not always easy, definitely okay.
“It’s not easy being green” could be the theme song for queer youth. Kermit may have been singing about being green, but he was singing about being different, and that it was hard, but that it was good, and a natural part of the rainbow that we are, and that it would be fine.
Kermit believed in the Rainbow Connection, the lovers, the dreamers, the weirdos, the fuzzy and blue and Sweetums the misunderstood monster who wanted to go to Hollywood and loved those guys, the muppets. Kermit was friend to hippies, musicians, Gonzo the Great (who had no definable species) and accepted everyone who intended no harm and made mistakes.
Jim Henson’s early death was a great loss.
As are the losses of teens who’ve taken their lives because they’ve been made miserable and alone and to feel like it would never “be fine” to be green.
When I was young I had a friend who took a handgun from a drawer at a friend’s house and shot herself in the head outside the neighborhood chapter of AA she regularly attended. She was seventeen. She was adorable. She was a baby dyke with a tiger tattoo on her shoulder who tried to be tough in her leather jacket but was a mush-ball with a sweet smile who just wanted to be loved and accepted, instead of having to run away from home to find people who thought she was okay the way she was.
She died twenty-four years ago next month. There shouldn’t be another death like hers. Not another hopeless teenager who came out and was crushed by cruelty, or didn’t dare come out and was crushed anyway. There shouldn’t be another glbtq youth who so believes there is no hope for happiness that death seems the only answer.
I can’t stand it.
Kermit the Frog, the real one, Jim Henson’s Kermit, might have an answer, a motto, a song that could change minds, make kids believe in the rainbow connection, and that love makes a family, and that the important thing is to care about one another, whether we’re blue or green or hairy or gay. And that love can be the answer, no matter the gender of the person you love. I believe he could inspire that world.
We can try.