Graeme Taylor: 14-year old Rights Advocate Extraordinaire
November 23, 2010

Graeme Taylor, a 14-year old student from Ann Arbor, Michigan, addressed the Howell School Board this past week with an eloquent and impassioned plea on behalf of a teacher who had been put on suspension without pay after ejecting students from his class for what he deemed to be anti-gay remarks.

Taylor’s remarks, which were not prepared, drew the attention of national media through a video first posted by a local news source that quickly went viral. No need to try to describe it, you can view here and you’ll get the picture. This young man is articulate, intelligent and confident in his extemporaneous address.

Here are some additional sources for the original story, and link to the video of his address:

openly-gay-ann-arbor-teens-defense-of-howell-teacher-gains-national-attention

Ann Arbor teenager Graeme Taylor on the Ellen Show

Yesterday he was featured on The Ellen Show and gave her a run for her money while expressing how he has come to be accepting of his identity. Watch here:

By his own admission, Graeme Taylor survived a suicide attempt at the age of 9 years. But he has come back from the bullying that drove him to nearly end his life to becoming a strong advocate for self-acceptance, human rights and fairness.

Most people discount our young people, yet they are far more sophisticated and knowledgeable than we adults give them credit for. The world is smaller today, faster, and with the advent of  the internet connecting people all around the globe, our youth are more informed and cognizant of the diversity of the Human Family, as well as critical issues of the day than I believe many of us were.

What impressed me most about this young man is how much he reminds me of the young people that grew up as part of my extended family. I’ve been privileged to work and travel with some extraordinary youth.

They were all home schooled and they accompanied their parents to many states and countries, participating in cross-cultural programs, and personal development presentations. The world was their classroom and their worldliness reflected that fact.

These young people were raised in an environment where Respect was paramount. Guided by the wisdom and experience a capable Elder, they were treated as capable individuals. They were raised to be responsible, i.e. to “respond with ability” to whatever they encountered. The adults who had the privilege to work with these young people learned a great deal about themselves in the process, their own upbringings, how to heal the past, and create a better present.

When children are raised with Respect, and provided the opportunity to realize their full potential at each step of their development, rather than being sheltered and denying their intelligence and creativity, they are fully capable of delivering a positive contribution to family, community and society at large.

Graeme Taylor is not atypical. When raised in an environment of acceptance and love, and given responsibility, young people will rise to the occasion. This 14 year old’s sexual identity isn’t really the issue here – it’s not the most important part of the story. The real heart of this story is how a young person can evolve into a courageous, forthright citizen when given the opportunity.

We need to encourage and listen to more young leaders like Graeme Taylor. Obviously one organization agreed, in that he was presented with a $10,000 Scholarship by Tonic.com, “a digital media company dedicated to promoting the good that happens around the world each day. We share the stories of people and organizations that are making a difference by inspiring good in themselves and others.”

Right on!  -MsQueer 🙂

©2010 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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Annual Holiday Gala Fundraiser for The Trevor Project
August 13, 2008

“The Trevor Project is a nonprofit organization established to promote the acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, and to aid in suicide prevention among that group.”

The Trevor Project Cracked Xmas 11
The Trevor Project Cracked Xmas 11

 

 Some highlights from Cracked Xmas 10, The Trevor Project’s annual December gala event, honoring Ellen Degeneres and Clear Channel Radio Los Angeles.

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Remembering Lawrence King
July 28, 2008

15-year-old Lawrence King was murdered at school on February 12, 2008.

 

Friends say the reason was his sexual orientation and gender expression. 

 

Since February 15th, at http://www.rememberinglawrence.org,

176 vigils have been posted. And more conitnue….

 

To view tributes by Ellen Degeneres and a young film-maker, Jeremy E. Love, see videos below. To read more about this gentle person who was taken from us, and learn what can be done in your community to prevent another such tragedy, go to

 

http://www.rememberinglawrence.org

 

Help to bring awareness to your community so that all children and youth can live in safe environments, free from hate and prejudice, regardless of their race, color, religion, creed, or sexual orientation. Help us create a safe planet for our children and all people.

 

-MsQueer

 

 

a tribute and appeal from young filmmaker Jeremy E. Love

 

commentary and tribute by Ellen Degeneres


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A Word About Gay Teen Suicide and Someone Who Can Help…..
February 21, 2008

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst [all] young people 15 to 24 years of age.  It is the sixth leading cause of death amongst [all] children 5 to 14 years old.  According to the Center for Disease Control/Massachusetts Department of Education Youth Risk Behavior Survey (1999),  33% of gay youth will attempt suicide.  In fact, gay teen suicide attempts are four times that of heterosexual youth.” 

(sources: http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/emotios/behavior/suicide.html, http://privateschool.about.com/cs/students/a/teensuicide.htmTeenSuicide, http://gaylife.about.com/od/gayteens/a/gaysuicide.htm

Teenage years are crazy and emotionally charged enough with hormones racing through the bloodstream, urges coming over you like there’s no tomorrow, everyone’s expectations setting up seemingly impossible standards of questionable import , etc….add to that mix the confusion of questioning one’s sexual orientation and you have a recipe for disaster!

I can remember having feelings and attractions for my girl friends as early as elementary school. We’re talking the mid to late 1950’s here, folks — there were no campy TV shows like Queer as Folk or The L Word; there were no Ellen Degeneres’ or Rosie O’Donnell’s, or any of the countless other performers and celebrities who can serve as positive role models for youth today.

I grew up afraid of my feelings – and terrified to share what I was feeling and thinking for fear that if I did, I might be taken away from my parents (or sent away) and locked up somewhere forever! I grew up afraid of myself. I didn’t understand, and there was no place, no one, to go with my questions. Such was the pain, the shame.  In some ways, even with the visibility of “out” public personalities today, the pain and confusion can still be very real. And the stigma. Face it, you can walk by any playground in America and what is the favorite insult?  “Oh, he’s so gay” “She’s queer.”  (Elevate the playground to the workplace breakroom and the atmosphere can seem identical).

Gay kids get bullied, harassed and beaten routinely. Even if a kid is suspected of being gay .. you know, because of all those tell tale signs that mark a “queer” — they’re likely to come under fire. Peer insults and intent to hurt can be relentless. Confusion? If that’s all they’re feeling, they’re lucky. More often it leads to alienation and self-contempt. Nobody deserves to grow up under that kind of stigma.

Fortunately there is a 24/7 helpline that kids can call where they will receive confidential counseling from peers who understand.  This is the only such national helpline specifically to help gay and questioning youth. -MsQueer

Call 1-866-488-7386  (1-866-4-U-TREVOR)

Learn more about The Trevor Project:Trevor Project Queer As Folk PSA 
The TREVOR Trailer 
Here! Focus – The Trevor Project 
Ellen Degeneres Honored by The Trevor Projec t 


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