Showing posts with label Bullying. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bullying. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

South Carolina LGBT Youth Are Bullied at Twice the National Average

     Q Notes reports:
     South Carolina Equality, the Palmetto State’s LGBT education and political advocacy organization, has released a landmark survey of 1,000 LGBT residents. The survey exposes several needs and challenges currently facing the state’s estimated 117,000 LGBT citizens, advocates say, particularly among LGBT youth in the state’s public schools.
     Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents indicated they’d experienced bullying, harassment or discrimination in South Carolina’s public education.
     “The survey clearly shows that S.C.’s gay and transgender youth experience more than twice the average amount of bullying and harassment,” SC Equality Director Christine Johnson said in a release. “2010 saw a rash of teen suicides as a direct result of bullying. We should be more motivated than ever to enact legislation that promotes safe learning environments for all our children. We look to our elected officials to lead the charge against bullying.”
     The results of the survey are being distributed to all Palmetto State elected officials, including those in the legislature and the governor’s office.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Dan Savage on Sex, Religion, Bullying & His Catholic Seminary Experience

     If you don't have time for the whole interview, the first four minutes covers Savage's Catholic seminary experience, his moving beyond the beliefs and shame of that faith, and an incredibly honest priest (there are some) that surprised him when he came out.  Also, around minute twenty the conversation again turns to religion, including biblical violence against homosexuals.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

CNN's Report on the Minnesota Catholic Church's Anti-Gay DVD, Archbishop Nienstedt's Response: LGBT Allies' "Eternal Salvation" at Risk

     The fallout continues following Catholic Archbishop Nienstedt's offensive anti-gay-civil-rights DVD release.  In the CNN report embedded below, the Catholic parents of gay child are told by Neinstedt that their "eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversion of heart on this topic."

     Also in the CNN report is Lucinda Naylor, the artist fired by the Catholic Church for her protest of the DVD release.  After Naylor, a few "loving" Catholics are interviewed, who want to help "sinful" gays forsake their ways by putting billboards up and commercials on TV every night that expose homo's "sins."  But these loving Catholics aren't bullies, because it's not picking on a homosexual to fire them for getting married.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Gay Mormon's Story

     Here is one man's reflection upon Mormon beliefs and being gay, via the Miami Herald:
     Ben Jarvis has heard a lot of coming out stories.
     For the past 15 years, the southern California-based urban planner has been answering a hotline number for Mormons struggling with their sexual identity. Jarvis, a volunteer for Affirmation, a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Mormons, estimates he's talked to as many as 3,000 people.
     Many of them are "deathly afraid," their secret will be discovered by friends, family, or members of their Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregations, he said.
     In a faith where the traditional family is deeply woven into theology and where there is seemingly no line between religion and culture, the potential losses for LGBT Mormons who come out can be devastating, Jarvis and others say.
     "There are so many great things about Mormon culture and the LDS church, but it is not a safe place for gay and lesbian people," said Jarvis, 42, a seventh-generation Mormon who came out in 1993 and has since left the church.
     Read the rest at:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another Tragic Gay Suicide

     The Advocate reports:
     A 26-year-old gay youth activist who worked with HIV/AIDS charities in New York and graduated from the Harvey Milk High School committed suicide over the weekend.
     Rod 2.0 spoke with friends and colleagues of gay youth activist and HIV peer educator Joseph Jefferson. "Joseph was truly a sweetheart," a friend who asked to remain nameless said. "Extremely bright and impassioned about social justice causes... It's such a loss."
     On Saturday, Jefferson posted on his Facebook page: "I could not bear the burden of living as a gay man of color in a world grown cold and hateful towards those of us who live and love differently than the so-called ’social mainstream.’"

Friday, October 22, 2010

President Obama's Hypocritical "It Gets Better Video" on LGBT-Bullying-Related Suicides

     The AP reports:
     President Barack Obama said he was "shocked and saddened" by the recent suicides of several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay.  "As a parent of two daughters, it breaks my heart. It's something that just shouldn't happen in this country," Obama said in a video posted late Thursday on YouTube and the White House website.  It's time, he said, for Americans to dispel the myth that bullying is "just a normal rite of passage."
     "I don't know what it's like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it's like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don't belong," Obama said. "It's tough."  The victims of bullying can sometimes feel that they are responsible for the taunting because they're different or don't fit in with everybody else.  "But what I want to say is this: You are not alone. You didn't do anything wrong. You didn't do anything to deserve being bullied," Obama said.
     But, if you are gay, the Commander in Chief will fire you from serving in the U.S. military because you did nothing wrong.  Your love and your commitment aren't worthy of equal protection under the civil marriage laws supported by President Obama.  
"I'd kiss you, but you're gay."
    Here are the final words of the LGBT community's self-proclaimed fierce advocate's message to bullied children with my words in parentheses.  The full transcript is available by clicking here.
     The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. (When you are able to get someone in office that will stand up for equal rights for gays, lesbians and transgender persons.) And more than that, with time you’re going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. (But not equal rights.)  You’ll look back on the struggles you’ve faced with compassion and wisdom. (And you won't vote for me 2012.)  And that’s not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place.  (For straight Christians, like me.)
     It will mean that you’ll be more likely to help fight discrimination – not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. (But I can't let the federal courts fight discrimination.  DOMA and DADT will remain in effect until a minority of homophobic senators and Jesus accept your "lifestyle choice," which is how my staff continues to talk about you in public, because you chose to be gay.)  It means you’ll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it’s so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. (But your loving commitments are not equal to ours; but we respect them, such as they are.)  That we are able to see the world through other people’s eyes and stand in their shoes (Which is was I did when I lied to Lt. Col. Victor J. Fehrenbach's face, telling him that I would end DADT and that his military career wouldn't end.)  – that we never lose sight of what binds us together.  (Our 2500-year-old Judeo-Christian homophobia.  Bishop Gene Robinson and others like him don't count.)
     As a nation we’re founded on the belief that all of us are equal (But no joint federal tax filing for you.)  and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness  (Unless the majority votes yours away.); to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves (Like my parents who were an interracial couple that couldn't be married because a religious majority thought it was a sin.). That’s the freedom that enriches all of us. That’s what America is all about. And every day, it gets better.  (Except for on Wednesday and a week ago Tuesday, when my administration fought to preserve discrimination rather than decry it.)
     I think I can truly say, with all seriousness, that the hope I had in Candidate Obama, who was the first major presidential candidate that I ever heard include "straight and gay" in a line of adjectives describing the various parts of our nation of equals, has been killed by President Obama.  

     I appreciate him speaking out against the bullying of any child, but he is blind to the reality that his recent political actions have struck a major blow to the progress of civil rights.  Children see this.  They see his actions.  They hear the news.  They hear the homophobic political commercials and sermons.  They need a president who will act on his words to end all discrimination against same-sex couples and homosexual soldiers.

     President Obama's video should be titled "It Get's Better (But Not on My Watch)."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Olson and Boies' Appellate Brief's Conclusion

     Here is the conclusion of the brief just filed by the plaintiffs and their attorneys, Theodore Olson and David Boies, in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger appeal.  Once again, I applaud the plaintiffs and their counsel for fighting the discrimination and hatred that fueled and is California Proposition 8.

     The entire document can be found here.  It's worth reading, but if you don't have the time, here's the conclusion to the 134 page document:
     Last month, in a widely publicized tragedy, a young Rutgers student jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after being outed on the Internet as gay. A few days later, across the Hudson River in the Bronx, two 17-year-old young men were beaten and tortured to the brink of death by a gang of nine because they were suspected of being gay.  Incidents such as these are all too familiar to our society. And it is too plain for argument that discrimination written into our constitutional charters inexorably leads to shame, humiliation, ostracism, fear, and hostility.  The consequences are all too often very, very tragic.
     Proposition 8 was promoted as necessary to protect marriage and children, but its unmistakable purpose and effect is to isolate gay men and lesbians and their relationships as separate, unusual, dangerous, and unworthy of the marital relationship. By definition, such a law stigmatizes gay men and lesbians, and that kind of stigmatization leads, often indirectly, but certainly inevitably, to isolation and estrangement.
     What can the Supreme Court mean when it says that our Constitution “neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens,” if a majority can so stigmatize a small, visible, and vulnerable minority and in the process cause such wrenching anguish? The American promise—and dream—of equality surely means at a minimum that the government, before “drawing a line around” some segment of its citizenry and designating them unworthy of something as important and socially meaningful as the institution of marriage, must have a legitimate and factually tenable rationale for doing so. Proposition 8 fails even this most basic level of scrutiny.  It advances no legitimate purpose.
     The judgment of the district court should be affirmed.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's Message for Children who Are Being Bullied

Bishop Gene Robinson on the Connection between Religion and Bullying

     An increasingly popular bumper sticker reads, "Guns Don't Kill People -- RELIGION Kills People!" In light of recent events I would add religion kills young people: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender young people.
     Perhaps not directly, though. And religion is certainly not the only source of anti-gay sentiment in the culture. But it's hard to deny that religious voices denouncing LGBT people contribute to the atmosphere in which violence against LGBT people and bullying of LGBT youth can flourish...
     These bullying behaviors would not exist without the undergirding and the patina of respect provided by religious fervor against LGBT people. It's time for "tolerant" religious people to acknowledge the straight line between the official anti-gay theologies of their denominations and the deaths of these young people. Nothing short of changing our theology of human sexuality will save these young and precious lives.
     For the entire article click here.

     Thanks to Russ at Blue Truck, Red State for the lead on the article.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Republicans Carl Paladino and Jan Brewer and Their Homophobic Hypocrisy

     Anti-gay New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino attacked gays with homophobic hate speech earlier this week.  Since then, his nephew, who is gay, spoke out, offended.  So did Rudy Giuliani.  In turns out that Paladino's not only a homophobe but also a hypocrite.  As a landlord in Buffalo he rented to a gay bar (see video below).  Gay pride is fine as long as it brings in the bucks.

     In Arizona, GOP senate candidate Jan Brewer, who signed the explosive papers-please-anti-immigrant law (leading in the polls by 13.5%), is also gay-baiting (like Christine O'Donnell did in her primary).  Brewer's campaign called for her opponent, Democrat Terry Goddard, to take a lie detector test to prove that he's not gay.  Brewer has excused herself, saying she doesn't need to apologize because she didn't say anything.  Come on.  It was her top political adviser who said it.  I thought that good leaders delegated power, but not responsibility.

    The bullying continues.
     Here's Keith Olbermann's report:

New York Yankees Fans Bully Others with Homophobic "Y.M.C.A." Parody

     There is something incredibly broken about a nation that protects this kind of speech.  
     In the video "Homophobia Literally Kills: Yankees Game" which is posted below, a group of New York Yankees fans surrounds a fans from the opposing team and shout a hate-filled homophobic parody of the Village People's "Y.M.C.A." at the men.  You can hear the bullies' friends giggling in the background.

     Yankees fans routinely sing a version of "Y.M.C.A." to fans of opposing teams during their ballgames that demonizes gay people. These are clips from other YouTube videos over the past few years that show Yankees fans in action singing this homophobic songs at opposing fans. As NAACP Chairman Julian Bond has said, "homophobia literally kills", and it is this kind of homophobia that leads to anti-gay bullying and harassment at our schools and LGBT teenagers to commit suicide.
     The site After Elton explains that as of yesterday there were still some Yankees' fans continuing this "tradition" of homo-berating the opposing teams fans:
     Earlier today we posted a video of New York Yankee fans singing a shockingly homophobic version of "Y.M.C.A." A short time ago I spoke with a spokesman for the Yankees who told me that video was from four years ago and that the Bleacher Creatures (a group of fans seated in a specific section of Yankee Stadium) had been told that homophobic lyrics would not be tolerated.
     That turns to be true and not true. While the most virulently anti-gay version of that song is no longer being performed by most fans in Section 203 , the Bleacher Creatures clearly still don't get what is offensive about their antics because they have numerous videos posted of themselves from as recently as several weeks ago singing "Y.M.C.A." with the lyrics changed to "Y. R. U. Gay?" as a way to denigrate fans of opposing teams.
     This is a perfect example of the "trickle-down homophobia" explained by Kathy Griffin.  When adults engage in blatant anti-gay activity, children learn that it's okay to violently pick on people different from themselves.  Children see.  And learn.  Some of them take to the streets of the Bronx and kill.

     I'm curious to know when this Yankees' "tradition" began in relation to the wave of HIV/AIDS death's that decimated New York's population of gay men.  Really, it doesn't matter.  The fact that this taunt is still being performed and posted online (by bragging Yankees fans) is an front to every gay man who has died of AIDS.  Shame on the Yankee's organization.  Unless, I see some spectacular mea culpas, I'm done rooting for them.

     In a previous post, I said "Bullying doesn't end after high school.  It becomes free speech."

     Here's the proof:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns' Impassioned Speech on LGBT-Bullying-Related Teen Suicides

     Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns spoke last night about the recent string of LGBT-bullying related suicides.  He makes an impassioned plea to children considering suicide to not give up on life and then to parents and adults to make a difference and end the hate and the bullying.

     His impassioned speech is worth watching in whole.  (It brought me to tears.)  

     Just hold on. It really does get better.
     That's the message Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns shared in an emotional speech during Tuesday night's council meeting, saying his goal was to reach out to youths everywhere who are struggling with being gay.
     During a moving speech, Burns said it tears him up each time he hears about youths taking their own lives somewhere in America after being bullied because of their sexuality or simply struggling with it.
     Burns, who is gay, said he'd like to give his 13-year-old self -- who also struggled with being gay -- glimpses into the future.
     His younger version would see him meeting his partner, being loved by his parents, winning a City Council election, Burns said.
     "High school was difficult, coming out was painful," he said. "I want to tell any teen who is watching this, life will get better. ... Life will get so, so, so much better."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Tragic LGBT-Bullying Related Suicide: Zach Harrington, 19, of Norman

     There has been another tragic suicide of a teenager, who was bullied for being gay.  Zach Harrington killed himself a week after witnessing a "toxic" city council meeting in Norman, Oklahoma, where "concerned citizens" gathered en masse to hurl their hatred and homophobia, decrying LGBT persons as deviant, sinful, damned, etc. etc. etc.

     Here are some links to the story:

     The Norman Transcript: local new report of Zach's death and the fall-out of the council meeting.

     Qweerty: this post contains the video and partial transcript of the "toxic" council meeting.

     Zach's memorial page

     Rest in peace, Zach.

Catholic Carl Paladino Bashes Gays, But Claims Not to be Hurting Them

     Catholic, Republican, gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and the Orthodox Jews of Shaarei Chaim agree that homosexuals "brainwash" children, but Paladino claims he isn't  homophobic or hurting gays in any way.

     Addressing Orthodox Jewish leaders, Mr. Paladino described his opposition to same-sex marriage.  “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t,” he said, reading from a prepared address, according to a video of the event.
     And then, to applause at Congregation Shaarei Chaim, he said: “I didn’t march in the gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.” reported that Mr. Paladino’s prepared text had included the sentence: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” But Mr. Paladino omitted the sentence in his speech.
Image via The New York Times 
     There is nothing to be proud of in being a bigoted Roman Catholic who bullies minorities.  And why is this Jewish congregation applauding?  Do they really think that Paladino respects them or their religion?  That he sees them as equals?  If his Catholic views on homosexuality are as extreme as they are, Shaarei Chaim should ask him what he thinks of Judaism.
     About an hour after Mr. Paladino’s remarks, Mr. Cuomo’s campaign released a statement condemning them.  “Mr. Paladino’s statement displays a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality,” it said. “These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York.”
     I couldn't agree more.
     Mr. Paladino declined a request to be interviewed after his appearance. His campaign manager, Michael R. Caputo, denied assertions that Mr. Paladino was antigay, and noted that he employed a gay man on his campaign staff.
     A few historical notes:  Hitler employed Jews in his death camps.  Confederates had slaves working in their homes.   Catholic missionaries and conquistadors used Native American guides.  That didn't excuse their racism and antisemitism.  Or their genocidal means.
     “Carl Paladino is simply expressing the views that he holds in his heart as a Catholic,” Mr. Caputo said in a telephone interview. 
     How very true.   It's okay for Catholics to be bigots, as long as they hold those views "in their heart."
Carl Paladino is not homophobic, and neither is the Catholic Church.”
     How can anyone take these people seriously?  The Catholic church is historically one of the most homophobic institutions in the world.  Mr. Caputo needs to spend a few days in a seminary
     During his appearance at the synagogue, with reporters in attendance, Mr. Paladino said: “Don’t misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way. That would be a dastardly lie.”

     Mr. Paladino is running on the promise that there will be no marriage equality for same sex couples in New York, but claims that he doesn't hurt homosexuals.  The lack of equal civil marriage rights hurts homosexuals economically, emotionally, and relationally.  Mr. Paladino espouses treacherous lies.

     He uses words like "brainwash" and vilifies "dysfunctional" homosexuals for having pride, but is that not cowardly and meanly base?  Bullies use the same arguments.  So do the people committing hate crimes against LGBT persons.  When gay children hear such statements coming from their religious and political leaders, it tears them apart.  I know this, because I grew up with it.  When I was twenty, I nearly killed myself.  How many more children have to kill themselves before the plugged ears and hardened hearts of the Paladinos and Ratzingers of the world actually start to listen?

     Paladino, PalinLimbaugh--the list of Republicans who publicly bash LGBT persons and then say "but I have one on my staff" or "I have gay friends" or "I tolerate gays" is exhausting.  This tactic of bashing gays and then saying you have friends that are gay is utterly underhanded.  

     Carl Paladino is a Dastard.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mormon Update: Boyd Packer's Homophobic Speech Redacted & Protest in Salt Lake

     Here are a few quick updates on the reaction to the LDS Boyd K. Packer's very homophobic and unscientific speech at the 180th General Conference last Sunday:
     The LDS has edited the speech changing Packer's description of homosexuality as a "temptation" to a "tendency" and cutting his question asking why his Mormon god would create people with an "impure" and "unnatural" "pre-set" homosexuality.  The Salt Lake Tribune reports upon these changes here.  This is one response: 
     “It leaves it out there like this is a temptation, like this is something one can choose,” said Watts, a Provo father of six grown children, including a gay son and a lesbian daughter. “They’re trying to edit it and soften it and make it better, but it’s not going to work. [The speech has] gone viral. Everyone knows what he said.”  Packer and the church should have gone further in their subsequent statements, Watts argued. “It would be nice to have the church apologize and say they’re editing it because they’ve recognized that it’s caused a tremendous amount of hurt and discomfort,” he said. “I know many leaders of our church know that homosexuality is experienced honestly and involuntarily and is not amenable to significant change. I’m disappointed they don’t speak out.”

Heinous Hate Crime in the Bronx: the Bullying Never Ends

     In the Bronx, a gang of nine homophobic young men abducted two teenage boys and a thirty-year-old man, beat and tortured them for hours, because the gang suspected their victims of being gay.  

     He was told there was a party at a brick house on Osborne Place, a quiet block set on a steep hill in the Bronx. He showed up last Sunday night as instructed, with plenty of cans of malt liquor. What he walked into was not a party at all, but a night of torture — he was sodomized, burned and whipped.
     All punishment, the police said Friday, for being gay.
     There were nine attackers, ranging from 16 to 23 years old and calling themselves the Latin King Goonies, the police said. Before setting upon their 30-year-old victim, they had snatched up two teenage boys whom they beat, the police said — until the boys — one of whom was sodomized with a plunger — admitted to having had sex with the man.
     The attackers forced the man to strip to his underwear and tied him to a chair, the police said. One of the teenage victims was still there, and the “Goonies” ordered him to attack the man. The teenager hit him in the face and burned him with a cigarette on his nipple and penis as the others jeered and shouted gay slurs, the police said. Then the attackers whipped the man with a chain and sodomized him with a small baseball bat.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Anderson Cooper Interviews U. of Michigan President Chris Armstrong & the Man Bullying Him, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell

     In the video embedded below, University of Michigan President Chris Armstrong speaks up about LGBT bullying, hoping that more children will see a way out of those situations other than suicide.  Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell defends his actions as "free speech" and his "First Amendment Rights."  This video is a week old, but still worth seeing.

     In addition to Armstrong, Shirvell has targetted another student.  The Michigan Review reports:
     But Armstrong is not the only one keeping mum throughout the controversy. Tyler Jones, a writer for The Michigan Daily, was also targeted on Chris Armstrong Watch after his older brother, a journalist for local WXYZ news, reported on Shirvell's blog. Jones also declined to comment.
     From Anderson Cooper 360:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

National Education Policy Center Addresses LGBT-Bullying-Related Suicides

     In reponse to the recent LGBT-bullying-related teen suicides, the National Education Policy Center has released a document entitled "Safe at School: Addressing the School Environment and LGBT Safety through Policy and Legislation."   Kudos to co-authors Stuart Biegel and Sheila James Kuehl, and also to the UCLA Williams Institute and Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, who supported the document's creation..

     The Washington Post listed these summary points from the document:
Below, I [Kevin Welner, director of NEPC] summarize the brief, but I hope readers will click through and read the whole thing. It’s available online at
The brief documents, among other things:
• Recurring examples of traumatic peer mistreatment, often with faculty complicity.
• The resulting harm to the academic achievement and aspirations of LGBT students.
• Lives lost, both directly through assaults and indirectly through suicide.
The brief also presents evidence of structural and institutional failures such as:
• Failure to recognize that LGBT educators can play valuable, positive roles.
• Failure to address the persistent overt homophobia in many school sports programs.
• Misuse of the special education system, which further exacerbates LGBT mistreatment.
• Minimal coverage of LGBT issues in many teacher-education and professional development programs.
The recommendations from Biegel and Kuehl include:
• Adopt proactive school climate initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to inclusive policies and shared values within our pluralistic society.
• End discriminatory disciplinary practices and the inappropriate referral of LGBT students to special education.
• Implement LGBT-specific programs or activities at individual school sites, which may include safe zones, gay-straight alliances, and suicide prevention programs.
• Develop and implement LGBT-related professional development, locally determined and agreed upon by faculty and staff, for all school-site personnel.
• Align classroom pedagogy with shared values and respect for differences.
• Include age-appropriate LGBT-related content in the curriculum.
• Involve key members of campus athletic programs in LGBT-related initiatives.
• Make it clear that homophobic comments and actions by coaches and student athletes are completely unacceptable.
• Encourage student athletes to participate in targeted programs such as initiatives addressing bullying and hate violence, as well as gay-straight alliances, safe zones, and wellness programs.