Posts tagged ‘October 20th 2010’

October 13, 2010

Touching message

From what is quick becoming one of my favourite sites for news. AmericaBlog Gay.

Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns reaches out to LGBT teens with a personal story and a message of hope.

On October 20th  wear purple in memory of these and many more wonderful lives we have lost to hatred.

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October 13, 2010

A kid sings against hate

I promised him I would post it and I am :

October 13, 2010

In memory of Matthew Shepard

 

A beautiful life lost and a horror that persists.

 

I wanted this to have a separate entry. I will leave it to GLAAD’s blog to sum it up for me. And if you are a journalist I would urge you to download the GLAAD guidelines for journalists.

In any case here is GLAAD’s article on Matthew Shepard. Read it and weep as we all should.

October 12, 2010

A most interesting day…

 

One day everyone will have a place at the table.

 

It was a pretty exciting day for me and that isn’t even including the 19 stories we had in our newscast this evening.  It was a pretty significant day for observers of LGBT rights  as three developments in the US kept my Twitterfeed buzzing all afternoon.

The first:

At 1:34pm @PrideinUtah was to first to introduce this story to my feed ( and everyone needs to follow Pride in Utah):

BREAKING: Judge Orders Immediate End To DADT Discharges

Posted by Admin (Eric) at 1:34 PM. Placed in National/International category

California – (via the daily kos) U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips orders the Defense Department to ‘immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding.

Later on The Advocate posted an excellent analysis of what the development means.

A bit later on that news was dimmed a bit when I got a tweet from @GLADlaw ( an excellent group that I would urge everyone to support)  stating that

Today, the Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, GLAD’s challenge to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  The case was heard in May 2010 by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro, who issued a decision finding DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional on July 8, 2010. “

I guess that is part of the Administration being the ‘biggest supporter’ or maybe not. Read the full story from GLAD here.

Then I saw via @eqca ( Equality California) that

Florida’s ban on same-sex couples adopting children has been overturned and won’t be appealed: http://ow.ly/2Sy3G Congrats,Florida!”

A mixed day indeed. @PrideinUtah also posted a link to an interesting study from OkCupid :

Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex

I think it is interesting that they went to the trouble of undertaking the study and their reasoning is rather touching:

Gay issues have been in the news a lot lately, from the debate over same-sex marriage in Congress to a sickening rash of gay-bashing here in New York City. We see a lot of emotion out there, instead of information, and we wanted to provide some data-based context on sexuality so that people might make better choices about what they say, think, and do.

We run a massive dating site and therefore have unparalleled insight into sex and relationships. Here’s what we’ve found, in numbers and charts.

Good for them and pretty amazing their sample is 3.2 million users.

On a personal level I tried to do my little part. I did two interviews with the lovely Verna St. Rose Greaves today on bullying. Verna ( or Auntie Verna to many) is a social activist here who has dedicated her life to helping others and especially children and victims of abuse. She campaigned for the current government here which was her first foray into politics other than a brief senatorial position preceding the election. She is essentially out of politics now and she was my first choice to talk about the subject.

Most people love her but a lot of people also dislike her because of her principled stand against the death penalty. It may well be the reason she has no position in the current government. She is pretty fearless and has one of the biggest hearts I have ever encountered. We spoke about the responsibility that we all have in stopping an environment that encourages bullying and the feeling that it is okay to prey on those who are weaker or different in some way. I liked her statement that we should all put a camera in our home or workplace  and then rewind and look at how many of us practice some form of cruelty to those around us on an everyday basis. She dealt with things head on including dealing with bullying because of sexual orientation in which she said the fact we live in a homophobic environment makes it even harder for those kids.

Towards the end of the second interview I asked Verna what she would say to one of the kids who is being bullied. She came close to tears when she spoke to camera and said that she was sorry because we are all responsible for not getting more involved. I was glad the camera stayed on her because I was actually closer to tears. I admitted during the interview that I had been bullied relentlessly in elementary and high school. I guess that makes the interview my little contribution to the “It Gets Better” project.

I will try and upload the interviews after the second one airs tomorrow.

October 11, 2010

The sadness that dare speak its name.

Moving tribute to all the kids who lost hope. Let’s see if we can all intervene and stop this ugliness.

Via Pride in Utah a great site that needs support.

On the good side I have two interviews scheduled tomorrow both dealing with bullying and one specifically with bullying based on orientation.

Happy N.C.O.D. to my UK friends ( and that means you M and C)

October 11, 2010

This made my day.

Sometimes when I think there is no hope for an end to bullying or for LGBT kids I get a tweet like this from one of my Twitter friends.

Been reading your lovely blog with my kids, 12 & 14, who don’t understand why LGBTs get bullied. “But they’re just like us, only cooler.”

It seems there is hope for a brighter future – it is called the next generation and good parenting.

Thank you for making my day.

October 11, 2010

A double rainbow for October 11th.

Yes I know the second rainbow is fading – but to have the thought.

There hasn’t been a lot to celebrate these past few weeks with all the suicides and new ones emerging every day but it is Coming out Day today so I felt it merited something. As a Canadian I guess it is easy for me to say as I belong to a nation that embraces human nature. In much of the rest of the world it isn’t the case.  I live in one of those places now where it is a daily reality. Where kids spend much of their lives fearing judgment and where the statute books say if they engage in a physical act as part of their love they face jail time. It isn’t enforced in T & T but the fact that it could be is is disturbing. If you are a guy who kills another guy  here’s  the surest way to get off of a murder charge – say “he made a pass at me.”  I have seen that work multiple times.

As a self-identified North American I also look at the kids who killed themselves because they were bullied these past weeks and I get angry. Really angry. Some of the cases like Seth Walsh were open at an early age. In Seth’s case it was 13.  That may surprise a lot of people who think it is a ‘choice’ but if you are heterosexual I am pretty sure you knew it at a much earlier age even if you couldn’t define it. Seth lived in a small community and probably just spent his entire life feeling different. Somewhere along the line he decided that he found a word for what he was and wanted to express it. He wanted to celebrate the wonderful thing that was his life. Instead, he was bullied and made to feel so awful that he decided to hang himself. He heard what the mainstream religious world said about him, saw the rejection from his friends and decided that he could not go on.  A lot of people have blood on their hands. At work today we started talking about bullying and suicide and I brought up the subject of sexual orientation. I heard that there must have been more to it than that – killing yourself because you are gay?  I heard that lots of kids are taunted but they don’t kill themselves …nerds get bullied too. Sometimes empathy is a rare commodity. There is a fundamental difference between being bullied because you are small , or because you are nerdy and being bullied because you are gay or perceived to be gay or lesbian or transgendered.  Being small or nerdy you go home and your family loves you and so does your church ( if you are so inclined) and the greater society. You don’t live in a world that says you are evil and going to hell. Or that you somehow chose a path that was wrong.  I think we always choose the only path that we see. To put that sort of pressure on a little kid  is where fundamental evil comes in.

So on Coming Out Day ( except in the UK …because they just had to be different)  I think it is important that people tell someone they care about a little more about themselves. The nature of the world dictates that you look around and decide that is is safe to do so. So, if you are a Taliban member in a group meeting, I would urge you to think carefully ( but I am sure you are not alone) . If you are a mormon elder and you want to wave your arms in the air today I suggest you think carefully about it and then do it. You don’t have to tell the world just someone you care about. Baby steps.

And I am very proud that the amazing daughter of my cousin ( yes I know that makes her my second cousin…but she calls me her cousin) came out this evening about her relationship with her boyfriend.  Twelve years of loving each other and she chose Coming Out Day. Well done Shivani.

To me the most important day will be Spirit Day. October 20th, 2010 in memory of the kids who died as a result of bullying because they were gay or perceived to be gay. Wear purple.

October 10, 2010

Obama – how you have failed us.

It has been said the road to hell is paved with good intentions and I now agree. I am not American but as one of your neighbours ( neighbors to my American cousins)  to the North albeit working to your South I will  say you have not done well when it comes to LGBT rights. As a  Hillary Clinton supporter   I was still heartened when you won. I heard your acceptance speech and my heart rose.

It is a while now and , while  I am happy GWB is gone and his Republicans with him, you have done very little to help discrimination against the last group in the the US that is still given second class status.  Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is still there because you made no real effort to rally support. DOMA still stands. What did you do? Your stand on civil unions as opposed to marriage is an affront to ever gay person. As a Canadian who can marry anyone of  any gender I am shocked by your narrow minded view. I marched in my youth and the message got through to our leaders. Are you afraid of  alienating someone? I would have hoped that as a person of color you would have got past that. There is no difference between discriminating against someone based on race or based on their orientation. Maybe you missed that point and decided on politics instead.

If you haven’t noticed – Canada is stronger than it ever has been. By not condemning orientation discrimination you are a weaker leader than  Lyndon Johnson who forced through far more rights legislation than you have.  Try harder President Obama. The world expects more from you.

P.S. I should note that I wrote the above after watching 8. the mormon proposition for the third time with friends.  I was seething with anger, yet again,  ( despite the  wonderful company) so this entry was written from that perspective. I am leaving it up because it is a snapshot of how I was feeling at that point. I am adding this postscript so that if I ever look back at the entry  I will not have one of those “WTF was I thinking” moments.

October 9, 2010

Seth Walsh video from the L.A. Times

Seth Walsh, a sweet kid who was bullied to death like so many others. In many ways he reminds me a bit of myself at that age – a lovable misfit who didn’t and couldn’t fit in. I think this video which has images of his life and the voices of his grandparents who decided to speak out because they feel that people should remember him as am amazing child who was not simply “the gay kid who hung himself” is important.

I think it is well worth watching.

http://www.latimes.com/videobeta/?watchId=056ca777-a94b-45d0-9e66-a2a05684d971

Hope that works. If it doesn’t let me know via comments.

October 8, 2010

Required reading.

“His favorite songs were Nat King Cole’s “Smile” and Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea,” and he listened to Mozart in the shower. His favorite stop in Bakersfield was Barnes & Noble; he liked James Herriot’s books about animals.

He was a gentle child, they say, who preferred to “relocate bugs” rather than kill them, who made sure his younger brother got his share of Easter eggs and who once apologized to a bed of flowers when he picked one and placed it on the grave of the family dog.”

L A Times

They were not just numbers or faceless statistics. Every kid who is bullied into suicide is an amazing life with unbelievable potential. This column from the Los Angeles Times is a touching insight into the short life of little Seth Walsh through the eyes of his grandparents. It should be required reading. TIME also has an excellent article on Seth remembered. At least his little heart is still beating in the chest of a boy in LA whose life his  donation helped save.