Spirit Day: Wear purple on Thursday to support LGBT youth

SpiritDay2

Concerns about LGBT issues in America often focus on things such as the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the latest Republican attack on LGBT civil rights, or grassroots campaigns to achieve marriage equality. However, rarely do issues concerning LGBT youth garner much national attention, except following a tragedy, such as the string of suicides by gay youths last year.    
   
Anti-LGBT bullying is a serious issue in this nation. According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, GLSEN, 90% of LGBT students report being bullied at school due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This ranges from threats to actual beatings, and, in some drastic cases, murder. Three-fourths report hearing homophobic slurs (f*ggt, d*ke) on a regular basis, and 30% missed a day of class in the past month due to safety concerns. Perhaps not surprising after reading that, LGBT teens are up to 300 times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers.

"Homophobic bullying is not like other types of bullying," the report says. "If a student is bullied based on race, religion, their weight etc., they can run home to an understanding (often relatable) parent/family who understands their pain and can console them. Gay youth do not have that refuge as they 1) are usually not out to themselves yet, and 2) fear being thrown out of their homes and family. This pent up frustration, hurt and anger eventually leads to what has (sadly) been happening in the media as of late."

Unfortunately, in many cases, the very institutions that are meant to protect students are making matters worse for LGBT students. Take, for example, a 17-year-old male cheerleader who was kicked off the varsity cheerleading squad at his Texas high school, which he had trained for two years to make, and suspended because a security camera caught him kissing another male. The student claims that public displays are common among straight teens at the school, and that he would not have been punished had a camera caught him kissing a female. Or, take Tennessee's "Don't say gay" law, which prohibits teachers from discussing any LGBT issues, effectively preventing them from intervening or protecting students being bullied on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Many of these students, who are victimized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, turn on the television and find out that many of their political leaders are anti-gay bullies as well, who use marginalization of these youth for political gain.  

Clearly there is an anti-LGBT bullying problem in this country, made worse by the vehement rhetoric of many of our religious and political leaders. It is intuitive that children who hear about the evils of gays and lesbians, how they are supposedly trying to destroy their families, or rape children, would express that negativity upon LGBT youths; yet too many adults who should know better keep spewing their irresponsible garbage. It is just sad that it took the deaths of Seth Walsh, Tyler Clementi, Billy Lucas, Asher Brown, Raymond Chase, Jamey Rodemeyer, and Jamie Hubley, among several others, for people to start realizing this.

Thankfully, there are people willing to stand up and fight against LGBT bullying. GLAAD has produced an anti-bullying PSA campaign called "Amplify Your Voice" featuring celebrities such as Amy Poehler, Shaquille O'Neal, and Mario Lopez. Seattle Stranger columnist Dan Savage created the "It Gets Better Project," featuring often emotional stories from celebrities and individuals about how life gets better after high school, encouraging youths to live to see that future. The Trevor Project, a 24-hour nonprofit LGBTQ suicide-prevention hotline created in 1998, has recently been endorsed and supported by several celebrities including Daniel Radcliffe in order to raise awareness

Spirit Day was organized in 2010 by Brittany McMillan as a response to the young LGBT people who had taken their own lives following relentless anti-LGBT bullying. Observed annually on October 20, individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, media professionals and celebrities wear purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag. This serves to promote awareness of both the bullying problem, and the resources available for LGBT youth.

So this Thursday, put on purple to show your support for LGBT-youths, and to raise awareness of teen suicide as well as the resources available for help. If you see bullying, speak up.And if you see or know someone who might need help, stretch out a helping hand. Your help could save a life.

If you (or anyone you know) are thinking about taking your own life, know that you are not alone and that there are people you can help. Call the Trevor Project anytime at (866) 488 7386.

Image: juliejordanscott CC 2.0  

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  • OUR YOUTH -
    GLBTOFHUNTERDONCOUNTYOFNJ.COM -
    COLLEGE COUNSELING FOR THE REST OF US -

    bring you an …

    EDUCATION – INFORMATION SEMINAR

    TUESDAY NOVEMBER 29TH 6PM

    NORTH COUNTY BRANCH LIBRARY

    65 HALSTED ST CLINTON NJ 08809

    Please bring a coat. We are donating coat to Our Youth.

    There will be door prizes and lots of snack and food at the

    social/support group.

    6:30 PM COLLEGE ASSISTANCE SEMINAR

    FACILITED BY MICHAEL SZAREK FROM CCR

    College Counseling for the Rest of Us (CCR) is designed to assist those who are traditionally under-served in the college planning process. CCR provide affordable, accessible, applicable college admission and financial aid guidance for traditional-age and adult students from all walks of life.

    7:00 PM WORLD AIDS SEMINAR FACILITATED BY ROB DE ANHONY FROM OY.

    Our Youth is a non profit organization designed to help LGBT youth and their straight allies within the NJ/NY area. Our Youth provides the young adults job and college assistance, Free and confidential HIV testing, and a variety of weekly activities. Our Youth also attends college, high schools, and youth organizations within the United States providing motivational speeches and workshops on a variety of issue young adults face. The mission of Our Youth is to provided a safe haven for all youth regardless of sexual preference.

    Please bring a coat. We are donating coat to Our Youth.

    There will be board games and a place for people to talk with each and also lots of chair for people to listen to the quest speaker.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT MATTHEW AT MatthewL@student.fdu.edu

    National Coming Day was great lots of door prizes and each month got a door prizes 22 people and more next month as lots of high schools and colleges and lot gay men and women came too. We have some great guest speaker from HRC Parent Planned Hood and The Hiv Progarm all came and talk to the group as there were table for people to talkk with each and some play board games and other games. people were so happy that next month there bring there friends as parents and staff from location college and high schools were happy to come and will be back next month.

    http://www.glbtofhunterdoncountyofnj.com/

    GLBT OF HUNTERDON COUNTY OF NJ .COM

    Open to high school and college students and young adults who are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Family, Friends & Educators welcomed

    Please bring a coat. We are donating coat to Our Youth.

    NOV 29 2011 Guest Speaker is Rob De Anthony From Our Youth.

    NOV 29 2011 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm Day Tuesday

    will talk about how to get a job and he has a big list of companies that are look for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and straight youth. Lots of companies are look to people to hire so come and you may have a job as lots of jobs are looking so come and have fun at the glbt social/support group.

    Our Youth is a non profit organization designed to help gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and straight youth (ranging from 15-21) in the New York / New Jersey area.

    Our Youth assists the young adults with job placement, college assistants, offering FREE & confidential HIV testing referrals as well as home cooked meals and a weekly support group.

    Besides providing services within the Our Youth Center we are also out in the community feeding the homeless, walking to find a cure for a certain disease, as well as volunteering at any event we are needed.

    We will have a table with board games and a table for people to talk with each other. There will be snacks at the social/ support group.

    Place:
    NORTH COUNTY BRANCH OF THE
    HUNTERDON COUNTY LIBRARY
    65 Halsted Street Clinton, NJ 08809

    Posted by GLBTOFHUNTERDONCOUNTYOFNJ.COM, 10/22/2011 1:42pm (3 years ago)

  • After Thursday, how about extending Spirit Day throughout the year and to all youth, LGBT or not. Because bullying has gone digital to a 24/7 phenomenon, we must educate our kids about the consequences of mean-spirited and cruel emails, blogs, text messages, Facebook and YouTube posts. "Teen Cyberbullying Investigated" (Free Spirit 2010) presents real cases of teenagers in trouble over their online and cell phone activities. Teens learn from the experiences of their peers. Unintended and unexpected consequences of irresponsible posts has changed lives. Our youth must wake up to the realities of all forms of bullying.
    Respectfully, -Judge Tom
    www.askthejudge.info

    Posted by Judge Tom, 10/18/2011 1:15pm (3 years ago)

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