Day of Silence April 15th 2011
April 14, 2011

Friday, April 15th is the National Day of Silence sponsored by GLSEN. To find out how you can participate go to their website:

http://www.dayofsilence.org/

GLSEN Day of Silence PSA with Lance Bass:

http://youtu.be/T8kNYV5EAVw

Take action. Be a part of the solution. Let’s replace the prejudice and hatred with compassion and Respect for All.

-MsQueer

©2011 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved (NOTE: ALL quotes and/or materials from other authors or sources remain the sole property of the original authors/source.)

Bookmark and Share

Stumble It!

Gay Blog Award
Add to Technorati Favorites

Advertisements

Acceptance
February 10, 2011

“What matters most is what’s inside. What matters most is the sense of integrity, of quality and beauty.” –Oprah Winfrey

Two groups of students from the David Lloyd George Elementary and Churchill secondary schools came together recently to stage a “flashmob” scene in a metropolitan shopping mall, Oakridge Centre in Vancouver B.C.. They wanted to do something in support of International Anti-Bullying Day. Their message: Acceptance.

Here’s the phenomenal result:

 

Words from the song they are dancing to include:

“When I see your face

There’s not a thing I would change

Because you’re amazing

Just the way you are.”*

Love and inclusion are the most powerful Forces we have. Respect for All, compassion and allowing are the ways of the Peace Keepers. We have to focus on what we want to create for ourselves, or else we will become the object of our resentments and fears

The best way to accomplish change is to become the change you wish to see in the world.

If we want more acceptance and understanding, then we must be more accepting and understanding. I celebrate the message these young people are communicating and the creative manner in which they chose to broadcast it. May we see more and more of this is the days to come. -MsQueer

 

©2011 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Stumble It!

Gay Blog Award
Add to Technorati Favorites

It Gets Better Project – Deb Adler
September 28, 2010

Here’s the video and the text from my submission to the “It Gets Better Project” on You Tube.

Hi. My name is Deb Adler. I’ve been out for about 40 years. I’m a singer-songwriter. I’ve been a professional actor, a businesswoman, an entrepreneur, and I‘m also the author of a blog called MsQueer.com.

I just wanted to share with you that whatever you’re experiencing today as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender youth in school…it does get better…

Whatever you might be feeling right now…it’s not “Forever” – and whatever you’re facing right now in terms of how other kids treat you at school – or even your family – it’s really just temporary. Just hang in there…it gets better.

I was this total tom-boy in grade school. They didn’t use labels like “Butch” – or “Dyke” then. I always played with the boys, I excelled in sports.

I didn’t really get harassed by my peers, but I had this fifth grade teacher who called my parents in for a conference because she felt they should be concerned that I wasn’t more “lady-like” and didn’t involve myself in more “girl-type” activities. My mom told her to back off and leave me alone – in no uncertain terms – which I think was pretty cool!

Even though I didn’t experience bullying in school, I can remember being really confused and scared by thoughts of wanting to lean over and kiss the girls in my class – as early as grade school – and feelings of attraction that I didn’t understand. I got really scared.

I thought I was sick or bad or something. I didn’t know. I mean, it’s not like there were celebrity role models – like Ellen or Rosie – around at that time. There were NO popular TV Shows or movies that dealt with being Queer. There was nobody I could talk to, so I had to keep this giant secret – that I didn’t understand and was afraid of – all to myself.  All I knew was I was different, and I was pretty sure my “difference” wasn’t socially acceptable. I was convinced that if anyone found out the truth about me they’d haul me away and lock me up forever.  So that’s what I lived with.

But I survived! And that’s the point. You can get through whatever you’re experiencing.

It Does gets Better.

I had thoughts of ending my life, but I’m really glad today that I didn’t! There are so many experiences I would have lost out on if I had ended my life as a teen.

In high school, I earned my school letter playing sports in Girl’s Athletic Association; I was elected President of that organization in my senior year, I was active in the Girl Scouts all through High School – and got teased for that – but we went camping and did cool stuff – we worked for three years and organized a week-long trip to Washington DC. – that the other kids didn’t get – and we had a blast!

I wrote songs, I sang in choirs; I even had the lead in the senior play, which was really kind of funny because I had to kiss a guy on stage in this big scene and that was really awkward! But I didn’t hide. I was active in school; I excelled at the things I loved.  And that helped get me through.

I got to be a camp counselor and met some really great women – some of them are still friends today. If I had ended my life early, I would have missed out on all that, and so much more.

See when you don’t allow other people’s opinions of you to rule your life, they become powerless. If kids talked about me, I did my best to ignore it. I found friends and teachers who supported me and cared about me and that’s who I interacted with.

And It Does Get Better.

When I went away to college, I discovered this amazing book by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyons called Lesbian/Woman, and these ladies had it together. They had already been together as a couple for years -in the Fifties! – and their message was – We’re okay. I was so relieved to find out who I was and what I was about….I started writing “coming out” songs and singing at rallies and special events. I started accepting me. Once we accept and get to love ourselves…we find others who accept and love us.

I’ve been part of a global humanitarian volunteer organization for over twenty five years and I have friends –straight, gay, old, young – from all over the world who love and accept me for who I am. We’ve done some amazing things together helping others, building projects, cultural programs, traveling all over the States and Canada – that’s been so rewarding.  I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it!

Bottom line – I’m okay – you’re okay, and We are okay GAY. – or Bi, or Trans – or however you call yourself.

So if you’re being bullied by kids in school, they’re just acting out their own ignorance. Don’t let someone else’s stupidity screw up your life.  It gets better.

If someone’s harassing you on Facebook or Twitter – UNFRIEND them. You don’t have to put up with their crap! Don’t interact with the haters. Stay with the winners.

It gets better – I know being harassed isn’t fun and it can be really painful at times, even but you know what – I came through recovery from addiction over 30 years ago – one day at a time – sometimes one moment at a time, and if I can do it – you can do it.

Nothing is forever. There’s a better life waiting for you at the end of school.

If things get too overwhelming or you think there’s no one to talk to – there are resources out there – like The Trevor Project. That’s a 24/7 Nationwide Helpline for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning youth. Call them. There are compassionate understanding people at the other end of that phone line. Their number is 1-866-488-7386. Website is www.thetrevorproject.org

So just hang in there. It Does Get Better. You have gifts to give to this world – stick around! Learn to be proud of who you are. There’s a lot of life out there to live – and love.

I want to share with you a quote from a woman of both Native American and European heritage, known to many as an ambassador for peace, an advocate for human rights, and my spiritual mentor for over 25 years. Her name is Grandmother Parisha, and I’ve never met anyone more inclusive, more accepting than her. She’s had her own life’s challenges – here’s what she says:

“I am an old warrior, I have my scars,  and I have counted my losses,

but I am stronger than ever and I am not running away,

I am here for the distance.

You can depend on me.

When your faith is weak, walk with mine.”

(from A Joyful Day by Parisha Taylor. © Copyright 2007 Parisha Online. All Rights Reserved)

I can’t count the times I’ve drawn on that. So today I’m here to say to you, It Definitely Gets Better. If that isn’t your experience right now, then draw from mine, and from the countless others making videos just like this one to share their experience and hope with you. Because we do know. It Gets Better.

You’re a good person, and You are loved. So stick around. There are great things out there in the world waiting for you – just around the corner. Hang in there.

It gets Better, and Better, and Better – Guaranteed!

:)MsQueer, aka Deb Adler

©2010 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved. (with the aforementioned exception of Grandmother Parisha’s quote taken from “A Joyful Day” by Parisha Taylor. © Copyright 2007 Parisha Online. All Rights Reserved)

Bookmark and Share

Stumble It!

Gay Blog Award
Add to Technorati Favorites

Awesome “It Gets Better” Project
September 23, 2010

There is a new video project on YouTube that I found through Facebook via The Trevor Project and GLSEN posts – how’s THAT for Social Networking!

So here’s the deal (directly from the description on YT): “If you’re gay or lesbian or bi or trans, and you’ve ever read about a kid like Billy Lucas and thought, “Fuck, I wish I could’ve told him that it gets better,” this is your chance. We can’t help Billy, but there are lots of other Billys out there—other despairing LGBT kids who are being bullied and harassed, kids who don’t think they have a future—and we can help them….”

http://www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject

Here’s the background from Dan Savage, as it appears in his column “Savage Love” at http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=4940874

I just read about a gay teenager in Indiana—Billy Lucas—who killed himself after being taunted by his classmates. Now his Facebook memorial page is being defaced by people posting homophobic comments. It’s just heartbreaking and sickening. What the hell can we do?

Gay Bullying Victim Who Survived

Another gay teenager in another small town has killed himself—hope you’re pleased with yourselves, Tony Perkins and all the other “Christians” out there who oppose anti-bullying programs (and give actual Christians a bad name).

Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother’s property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates—classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself. His mother found his body.

Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are four times likelier to attempt suicide. Many LGBT kids who do kill themselves live in rural areas, exurbs, and suburban areas, places with no gay organizations or services for queer kids.

“My heart breaks for the pain and torment you went through, Billy Lucas,” a reader wrote after I posted about Billy Lucas to my blog. “I wish I could have told you that things get better.”

I had the same reaction: I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.

But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.

So here’s what you can do, GBVWS: Make a video. Tell them it gets better.

I’ve launched a channel on YouTube—www ­.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject—to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don’t dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we’ve gone and things we’ve experienced—that we would’ve missed out on if we’d killed ourselves then.

“You gotta give ’em hope,” Harvey Milk said.

Today we have the power to give these kids hope. We have the tools to reach out to them and tell our stories and let them know that it does get better. Online support groups are great, GLSEN does amazing work, the Trevor Project is invaluable. But many LGBT youth can’t picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can’t imagine a future for themselves. So let’s show them what our lives are like, let’s show them what the future may hold in store for them.

The video my husband and I made is up now—all by itself. I’d like to add submissions from other gay and lesbian adults—singles and couples, with kids or without, established in careers or just starting out, urban and rural, of all races and religious backgrounds. (Go to www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject to find instructions for submitting your video.) If you’re gay or lesbian or bi or trans and you’ve ever read about a kid like Billy Lucas and thought, “Fuck, I wish I could’ve told him that it gets better,” this is your chance. We can’t help Billy, but there are lots of other Billys out there—other despairing LGBT kids who are being bullied and harassed, kids who don’t think they have a future—and we can help them.

They need to know that it gets better. Submit a video. Give them hope.

mail@savagelove.net

So if you have a message you want to get through to our young people to give them hope for getting through their school experience, get a YouTube account and submit your video! -MsQueer

©2010 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved. (Note: Quoted material from other authors and websites remains the property of the original authors. )

Bookmark and Share

Stumble It!

Gay Blog Award
Add to Technorati Favorites

Washington State House and Senate UNANIMOUSLY Pass Anti-Bullying Bill
March 15, 2010

Anti-bullying legislation passed the Washington State House (97-0) and Senate (48-0) last week that includes protections for LGBTQ Youth in public schools. Governor Christine Gregoire has already vowed to sign the bill as soon as it crosses her desk.

This legislation will create state-wide policies regarding bullying and harassment which will be required to be published online, as well as a staff position in every school responsible for handling all complaints of bullying and harassment.

Josh Friedes, advocacy director of Equal Rights Washington said in a statement,  “Today let us celebrate the leadership of Representative Marko Liias who championed this legislation, the commitment of the legislature to ensuring that every student enjoys a safe learning environment and the ongoing work of the Safe Schools Coalition.”

See “Celebrate a Victory Against Bullying” published by Equal Rights Washington:

Celebrate a Victory Against Bullying

Let’s hope the United States Congress follows suit….

On January 27th of this year,  Colorado Democrat and Co-Chair of the House LGBT Equality Caucus Jared Polis, who is an openly Gay Congressmen, introduced H. R. 4530, the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2010.  There were 60 co-sponsors of the bill.

The following quote from Congressman Polis appears on his website:

“Every day innocent students fall victim to relentless harassment and discrimination from teachers, staff, and fellow students based on their sexual orientation,” said Polis.  “These actions not only hurt our students and our schools but, left unchecked, can also lead to life-threatening violence.  Like Title VI for minorities in the 60s and Title IX for women in the 70s, my legislation puts LGBT students on an equal footing with their peers, so they can attend school and get a quality education, free from fear.”

Polis, also a member of the House Education and Labor Committee,  is a former chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education and has founded and served as the superintendent of charter schools serving at-risk student populations.  He further states,

“Hatred has no place in the classroom. Every student has the right to an education free from harassment and violence.  This bill will protect the individual freedoms of our students and enshrine the values of equality and opportunity in our classrooms.”

see:  Congressman Jared Poliswebsite

also:   1-27_SNDA_Fact_Sheet and 1-27_SNDA_Bill_Text

To help this bill, contact your Congressmen and women and let them know it’s time to provide a safe learning environment for our youth, free from harassment, bullying and fear.

I look forward to reporting its passage. -MsQueer


Additional resources for this story:  Julie Bolcer, The Advocate, March 8, 2010, and Ruth Schneider, 365Gay.com, March 9, 2010.

©2010 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Stumble It!

Gay Blog Award
Add to Technorati Favorites

Another 11-year old Commits Suicide over Bullying
April 23, 2009

A second elementary school youth hanged himself last week after enduring anti-gay harassment and bullying at his school in Atlanta, Georgia. As in the case of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, Jaheem Herrera did not identify himself as “Gay.” But his classmates did.

I know I’ve used the phrase “epidemic proportions” here before, but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!

These comments are from GLSEN on YouTube along with some videos shown below:

“Almost 90% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students report being verbally harassed at school because of their sexual orientation. LGBT teens experience homophobic remarks and harassment throughout the school day, creating an atmosphere where they feel disrespected, unwanted and unsafe. Homophobic remarks such as thats so gay are the most commonly heard; these slurs are often unintentional and a common part of teens vernacular. Most do not recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt harassment.

“This campaign aims to raise awareness about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT bias and behavior in Americas schools. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce and prevent the use of homophobic language in an effort to create a more positive environment for LGBT teens. The campaign also aims to reach adults, including school personnel and parents; their support of this message is crucial to the success of efforts to change behavior.”

I’ve got my own plan as to how to counter-act this rising trend in our country’s public and private schools:

Find as many news sites and blogs that are covering this and related stories. TAKE TIME TO MAKE A COMMENT if available. Make sure you check the ability to receive email notification of responses.

Don’t just render an opinion – no matter how passionate it might be – offer web addresses of organizations working to educate and combat this insanity.

The more dialog we initiate, the more we will come together with others who share our concern. THIS IS NOT A GAY ISSUE. This is a SAFE SCHOOLS issue!  It affects all of us. OUR CHILDREN MUST HAVE A SAFE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here’s additional news coverage of this repeat tragedy:

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/dekalb/stories/2009/04/21/boy_suicide_bullying_decatur.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab

 

http://current.com/items/89987540_anti-gay-bullying-blamed-for-another-pre-teen-suicide.htm

 

Some websites that you can refer others to (include these in your comments and/or emails to others, please:

 

Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, www.glsen.org

 

Think B 4 You Speak, www.thinkB4youspeak.com

 

The Trevor Project, www.thetrevorproject.org

 

Here’s three great PSA’s from GLSEN and the AdCouncil about “That’s So Gay”  (include the url’s in your comments) – [NOTE: Videos propety of GLSEN. No Copyright infringement intended]

url: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWS0GVOQPs0

 

url: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C277qAKpUaQ

 

url: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEpBYKOs3ys

 

 

DON’T STOP THERE….Contact your local School Board to find out if they have an anti-bullying policy in place.

 

Write an editorial in your local paper…AND SEND IT!

 

 Here’s a statement issued by The Trevor Projects Exec Director, Charles Robbins:

“Everyone at The Trevor Project is deeply saddened to learn about the death of Jaheem Herrera last week in DeKalb County, Georgia. Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with his family and friends during this difficult time.

“Tragically, Jaheem is now the second young person to complete suicide as the result of anti-gay bullying at school in just over two weeks. Although Jaheem did not identify as gay, anti-gay slander was the epithet of choice by his classmates and peers. Defamatory language continues to erode the self-esteem of sexual orientation and gender identity, and its consequences can be fatal as this incident so clearly demonstrates. It is time for both bullying and suicide to be addressed as the public health crises that they are. We are working closely with our colleagues at GLSEN and other national organizations to bring increased visibility and focus to this critical issue.

“The Trevor Project remains committed to supporting public policy and government initiatives that will address suicide prevention programs in every classroom across America. We will also advocate for programs that teach young people to respect one another and learn about the impact of their words and behaviors in the hope of preventing another tragic loss of life. 

“To learn more about suicide prevention, warning signs and resources, please visit The Trevor Project’s Suicide Resources (http://thetrevorproject.org/info.aspx)”

Don’t just shake your head and say, “what a waste.”  MAKE SOME NOISE!!!!! 

 

 NOTE: Videos are sole property of GLSEN and The Ad Council.  The Trevor Project Press Release is sole property of The Trevor Project. GLSEN videos descriptions sole preperty of GLSEN and YouTube. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.

©2009 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Stumble It!

Gay Blog Award
Add to Technorati Favorites

Honor Day of Silence to Stop Bullying in Schools
April 11, 2009

April 17th, 2009 is this year’s official “Day of Silence” – the 13th such annual commemoration.

THIS IS AN ACTION DAY. Supporters are asked to observe a 24-hour period of silence and carry cards with them explaining to others why they are choosing not to speak on this day. The template for this card,as well as Activist Handbook, web badges, buttons and other helpful information can be obtained in English and Spanish versions at www.dayofsilence.org.

Here is what the cards say:

“Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the fi rst step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today.” 

Another suggestion has been to wear red on that day, especially for those who may not be able to observe the silence at their jobs. Videos are also being requested to be posted on YouTube. Please see my response video below.

This is a critical issue facing this country. The statistics regarding LGBTQ youth facing bullying and physical harm at school are staggering. THIS IS NOT JUST AN LGBTQ ISSUE! We are talking about our public (and private) schools. We are talking about basic Human Rights.

Tell your friends, family and co-workers. More information can also be obtained at the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, www.glsen.org.

Talk to as many people as you can about this so that we can find solutions that will lead to SAFE SCHOOLS FOR ALL YOUTH.

On April 17th, STOP talking…and carry a card that educates people around you as to your choice.

NOTE: This video was produced by Deb Adler, author of MsQueer. I DO own the rights to this vid (woo-hoo!)

PLEASE GO TO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9cSelrTJk8 and leave comments and ratings. Thanks! 🙂

©2009 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved. [NOTE: content of Day of Silence card belongs to www.dayof silence.org. No copyright infringement intended.]

 

 

Stumble It!

Bookmark and Share