Posts tagged ‘Suicide’

October 17, 2012

The Ripple Effect

The great young people at the Silver Lining Foundatiopn in T&T have created a new anti-bullying campaign with a special emphasis on LGBT kids. Proud of them as always. Why not make your own to support them.

 

April 18, 2012

Break The Silence!

A few weeks ago I was privileged to be a consultant to a group started by Jeremy Steffan Edwards and comprised of young people who, spurred by yet another teen suicide in Trinidad and countless others around the world, decided that enough was enough and that they would make a difference. Sitting in that first meeting held at a conference table at the University of the West Indies I looked at the young faces and listened to them emphatically stating that young people being driven to despair because they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or questioning  was not acceptable and I can’t really describe how proud I felt and how full of hope for the future.

Out of a series of meetings the George Kasanjian Foundation which later became The Silver Lining Foundation was born.  Driven by some of the most passionate young people I have met in recent years the group has finally crafted its mission statement and vision statement.

MISSION STATEMENT

The Silver Lining Foundation is committed to facilitating safe access to the relevant psychological, sexual, medical, recreational and media resources necessary to educate, equip and empower youth to deal with difficulties regarding sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

VISION STATEMENT

To create an environment conducive to respect and self acceptance, and to provide a support system for marginalized youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, leading to a sustainable and functional Life.

It has also embarked on a project that will be a first for T&T – a Day of Silence which will be  observed on Friday. Those participating will tape their mouths and hand out cards to others on campus explaining the purpose of the group. The Trinidad Guardian published an excellent article on the day here.

This might seem like a small act to achieve a very big change – and it is – but it is a start and it will mark  a major turning point in the fight for LGBTQ kids to be given the dignity and respect that they deserve as equal human beings. This is also being done in a country in the English speaking Caribbean – not normally viewed as an especially tolerant environment for such vulnerable kids. In practice T&T is nowhere as unwelcoming as say Jamaica but there are still discriminatory ( though rarely enforced) rules on the books and LGBT people face discrimination on a daily basis simply because of who they are.

2012 will go down as an interesting year for us with this inspiring project by The Silver Lining Foundation and by CAISO  which has embarked on a series of  weekly meetings to push equality onto the national agenda ( I am on the – wait for it – Media Committee).  This could be the start of something really good.

April 16, 2012

14-year-old Kenneth James Weishuhn of Primghar, Iowa took his life on Saturday, April 14th 2012, after being bullied for recently coming out as a GLBT teen a few months ago.

This is via @equalitopia and CNN ireport

14-year-old Kenneth James Weishuhn of Primghar, Iowa took his life on Saturday, April 14th 2012, after being bullied for recently coming out as a GLBT teen a few months ago.

I can’t yet verify the facts but will note any change. ( There is a FB tribute  page here). The facts have been verified by a reader. Get more details from the Paulina Times here.

Thankfully here in T&T a number of great young people have set up the  Silver Lining Foundation to help stop this madness.

And LGBTnation  news has a story on the tragedy. When will this stop?  LGBTnews  says funeral Services are scheduled for Thursday, April 19, 2012 at the Grace Lutheran Church in Primghar, Iowa.

 

April 13, 2012

LOVE = LOVE

Lovely video from the always inspiring TheRealJazzBertie noting that the equation is simple.

February 23, 2012

New Bullying Documentary Premiers Soon

Original video link via gay.net

This soon to be released documentary looks excellent and I am sure it will be a deeply emotional experience.

According to their Facebook page:

Bully is coming to a theatre near you on March 30. 2012 Bully: This year, over 13 million American kids will be bullied, making it the most common form of violence young people in the U.S. experience. Directed by Sundance- and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary—at its heart are those with the most at stake and whose stories each represent a different facet of this bullying crisis. Following five kids and families over the course of a school year, the film confronts bullying’s most tragic outcomes, including the stories of two families who’ve lost children to suicide and a mother who waits to learn the fate of her 14 –year-old daughter, incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With rare access to the Sioux City Community School District, the film also gives an intimate glimpse into school busses, classrooms, cafeterias and even principles offices, offering insight into the often-cruel world of children, as teachers, administrators and parents struggle to find answers. While the stories examine the dire consequences of bullying, they also give testimony to the courage and strength of the victims of bullying and seek to inspire real changes in the way we deal with bullying as parents, teachers, children, and in society as a whole. Through the power of these stories, Bully aims to be a catalyst for change and to turn the tide on an epidemic of violence that has touched every community in the United States—and far beyond.

February 15, 2012

Disturbing – SYRIAN RULES

Disturbing, but I am sure it is a what the average day looks like for many gay people in the Arab world. Hopelessness is a reality for so many in the parts of this planet that refuse to accept human nature. Even though LGBT people have been at the forefront of most radical social movements- including the Arab Spring –  inclusion is not always the end result – in fact seldom so. This video touches my heart.

Damascus, Syria. Feb. 2012.
Syrian Rules, By azzedine Jamal
People are fighting for “freedom”.
Freedom of All ?

The only choice for a lot of gay syrian is to sucide themself or to get arrested.
Revolution, yes. For all, no.

I don’t have a firm position on suicide as to me circumstances can make it a reasonable choice in cases such as terminal and painful illness. I can’t see suicide as an acceptable option for a gay Syrian or Arab in general even though I don’t have to live in such an overtly oppressive society.

Perhaps the solution is to  move to a more gay accepting society like Canada (despite PM Harper) or to bravely work to make a change in Syria – despite the threat to your life – ACTUPorg  is there for you.

There are no easy answers – just stay safe.

January 5, 2012

Moving Video – Stand Up

Just discovered this beautifully done video. The creator was inspired by the sad story of Tyler Clementi  and posted the video two months ago. Never too late to share though. My inspiration and Eric Cooper’s  was the amazing Seth Walsh. We both agreed he was us.

When Tyler Clementi took his life (a student whose life eerily paralleled mine in so many ways), I decided enough was enough. I’ve felt a powerful kinship with him that I can’t even explain – and it stirred my soul to act. Something had to be done – I realized I had to find a way to speak up with my own unique voice to express what I felt in my heart.

When I first heard Sugarland’s song, “Stand Up,” I was moved to tears. I heard it right in the middle of the string of teen suicides last year just after we lost Tyler. After the very first listen to their song, I saw a very clear vision in my head…it was an anti-bullying video that matched the absolutely beautiful lyrics and music of Sugarland’s evocative and powerful song.

So, I present to you my way of speaking up and I hope that I will inspire you to do the same. I want you to help me raise awareness, and open up hearts and minds that may be closed due to fear, ignorance, or shame. I want you to help me fill mournful hearts with hope and love and inspire others to do the same. I want you to help me keep the promise I made to Tyler…. These teen suicides, these “bullycides,” must stop once and for all, and it starts with US.

So, I need YOUR HELP. Help start OUR movement. Help spread OUR message of love, hope, and change. It’s already begun… people are reposting this on their Facebook pages… and then others are sharing and reposting it! Some are sharing the link through personal email or twitter!! Join US in helping to raise awareness and make a difference in any way we can! Be a part of OUR MOVEMENT to stop anti-gay bullying! WE HAVE THE POWER TO AFFECT CHANGE!!!

If you’re reluctant to share our video, I leave you with one thought: JUST ONE person might have their eyes, ears, and heart opened for the first time. JUST ONE person may begin to think a little bit differently for the very first time in their life. That ONE person may have a gay sibling, child, friend, or relative… And that ONE person, may think differently about the gay youth in their lives. Think about the change that happens in society when people begin to simply THINK differently. Thinking differently IS CHANGE. Remember that YOU have that power. YOU can make a difference in somebody’s life. YOU can keep spreading our message of love, hope, and change. WON’T YOU STAND UP WITH US AND USE YOUR VOICE?

December 22, 2011

Disney – It Gets Better

Via Born this Way Blog on FB – who said :

The LGBTQ community have been the artists, imagineers, the dreamers, and the very backbone of Disney since its inception. This is beautiful!

As usual the stories are sad and painfully resonant  but the message is one of hope.

December 22, 2011

“It Gets Better” – From Your Friends at DreamWorks Animation”

Parts of this made me tear up. Wonderful the employees of Dreamworks  would get together to send this important message.

December 14, 2011

100 Reasons to Stay

This video was made to remind everyone that it WILL get better & you have 100+ reasons to stay, it will be OK!