2010 in review
January 2, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,200 times in 2010. That’s about 10 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 23 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 103 posts. There were 6 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb.

The busiest day of the year was March 13th with 56 views. The most popular post that day was LET CONSTANCE MCMILLEN TAKE HER GIRLFRIEND TO THE PROM! .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were zimbio.com, msqueer.com, facebook.com, rpc.blogrolling.com, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for lawrence king, who killed jenny schecter, carl joseph walker-hoover, 11 year old, and suicide due to bullying.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

LET CONSTANCE MCMILLEN TAKE HER GIRLFRIEND TO THE PROM! March 2010
2 comments

2

11-Year Old Commits Suicide Due to Bullying in School April 2009
10 comments

3

Who Killed Jenny Schecter? December 2008
19 comments

4

Laurel Holloman Picks Up Bravo A-List Award for TLW Elevator Scene April 2009
2 comments

5

Gay Buying Power: A Force To Be Reckoned With August 2008
5 comments

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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)

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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.

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11-Year Old Commits Suicide Due to Bullying in School
April 11, 2009

[UPDATE: see also “Another 11-year old Commits Suicide over Bullying” post https://msqueer.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/another-11-year-old-commits-suicide-over-bullying/]

Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11-year old boy attending the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts, committed suicide Monday because of ongoing taunting and bullying endured from his classmates. This boy did not identify himself as Gay, but was taunted by others nevertheless. School officials allegedly refused to do anything after repeated appeals from the boy’s mother.

This insanity has to stop. America has settled on a “safe” prejudice, that of being anti-gay. “That’s so Gay” is a common insult heard as frequently from adults in a bar or at the workplace as it is from children in school. That hundreds of children every day face ridicule, verbal and in many cases physical assault from their peers in what has come to epidemic proportions reveals a cancer that is eating away at the decency of our society. So long as we believe that there is a “safe prejudice” – NO ONE IS SAFE!

April 17th, which would have been Carl’s 12th birthday, is the 13th annual Day of Silence. On this day students across the country will observe a day of silence to emphasize the critical problem of bullying of LGBTQ youth and others in our country’s schools. Cards explaining their observation of silence are available from LGBT organizations locally. For those who cannot take part in the day-long act of silence, you are being asked to wear red to show your support. For more information go to: www.dayofsilence.org.

Here is the complete press release from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network):

Apr 09, 2009
GLSEN Calls on Schools, Nation to Embrace Solutions to Bullying Problem
NEW YORK, April 9, 2009 – An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hung himself Monday after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. This is at least the fourth suicide of a middle-school aged child linked to bullying this year.
Carl, a junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield who did not identify as gay, would have turned 12 on April 17, the same day hundreds of thousands of students will participate in the 13th annual National Day of Silence by taking some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying and harassment at school. The other three known cases of suicide among middle-school students took place in Chatham, Evanston and Chicago, Ill., in the month of February.
“Our hearts go out to Carl’s mother, Sirdeaner L. Walker, and other members of Carl’s family, as well as to the community suffering from this loss,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “As we mourn yet another tragedy involving bullying at school, we must heed Ms. Walker’s urgent call for real, systemic, effective responses to the endemic problem of bullying and harassment. Especially in this time of societal crisis, adults in schools must be alert to the heightened pressure children face, and take action to create safe learning environments for the students in their care. In order to do that effectively, as this case so tragically illustrates, schools must deal head-on with anti-gay language and behavior.”

 

Two of the top three reasons students said their peers were most often bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, (http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/library/record/1859.html) a 2005 report by GLSEN and Harris Interactive. The top reason was physical appearance.

 

 

 

“As was the case with Carl, you do not have to identify as gay to be attacked with anti-LGBT language,” Byard said. “From their earliest years on the school playground, students learn to use anti-LGBT language as the ultimate weapon to degrade their peers. In many cases, schools and teachers either ignore the behavior or don’t know how to intervene.”

Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2%) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1%) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1%) reported being physically assaulted, according to GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey (http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/library/record/2340.html ) of more than 6,000 LGBT students.

In most cases, the harassment is unreported. Nearly two-thirds of LGBT students (60.8%) who experience harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school. The most common reason given was that they didn’t believe anything would be done to address the situation. Of those who did report the incident, nearly a third (31.1%) said the school staff did nothing in response. While LGBT youth face extreme victimization, bullying in general is also a widespread problem. More than a third of middle and high school students (37%) said that bullying, name-calling or harassment is a somewhat or very serious problem at their school, according to From Teasing to Torment. Bullying is even more severe in middle school. Two-thirds of middle school students (65%) reported being assaulted or harassed in the previous year and only 41% said they felt very safe at school.

Carl’s suicide comes about a year after eighth-grader Lawrence King was shot and killed by a fellow student in a California classroom, allegedly because he was gay.

GLSEN recommends four simple approaches (http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/library/record/2263.html) schools can take to begin addressing bullying now.

Said Walker in the Springfield Republican: “If anything can come of this, it’s that another child doesn’t have to suffer like this and there can be some justice for some other child. I don’t want any other parent to go through this.”

About GLSEN
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN’s research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit http://www.glsen.org.

 

A resolution was introduced into the House of Representatives April 2nd. GLSEN press release provides details:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW YORK – Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and 33 cosponsors introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (H.Con.Res. 92) to recognize and support GLSEN’s 13th annual National Day of Silence on April 17.

“GLSEN would like to express our gratitude to Representatives Eliot Engel, Tammy Baldwin and the 33 cosponsors who are adding their voice to the hundreds of thousands of students who will take a vow of silence on April 17,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “A week after GLSEN’s lobby day in Washington, D.C., we are already seeing the impact young people can have on our democracy.”

Students will take some form of a vow of silence on April 17 to bring attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from more than 7,500 middle and high schools participated in 2008.

“Sadly, violence and discrimination against LGBT youth is all-too-common in American schools,” said Rep. Engel, who along with Rep. Baldwin introduced a similar resolution last year. “It is a national disgrace that students feel threatened in school simply because of their sexual orientation. As a former public school teacher, I am proud to introduce this resolution. Americans need to know that thousands of children each day go to school deprived of a happy adolescence because of the insensitivity and cruelty shown by some fellow students, teachers, staff and parents.”

Added Rep. Baldwin: “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students continue to face pervasive harassment and victimization in schools. As students use their silence to demand safe schools, we in Congress must use our voices to support them.”

Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2%) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1%) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1%) reported being physically assaulted, according to GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 LGBT students.

Additionally 60.8% of LGBT students said they felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and nearly a third (32.7%) said they had missed a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe.

“It is tragic to have any child suffer and what makes this worse is that it is completely preventable,” Bullying and harassment of LGBT students stems from ignorance and can only be repaired with education. By helping other students, teachers, staff and parents understand the plight of LGBT students, we can help these students live a happier childhood and enable them to earn their education free from fear,” Rep. Engel said.

 

Charles Robbins, Executive Director of The Trevor Project, the nation’s only 24-7 Helpline for LGBTQ Youth issued this statement online and to email subscribers (of which I am one):

April 9, 2009 

 

 

 

In light of the tragic suicide of 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover in Springfield, Massachusetts, which was prompted by anti-gay bullying in his school, The Trevor Project has released the following statement from Charles Robbins, executive director and CEO: 

“We are saddened to learn that another valuable young life was lost this week as the result of a school environment that was not safe, accepting and inclusive of all students. We extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover during this difficult time. This unfortunate incident serves as further testimony to the necessity for all schools to mandate suicide prevention education programs in order to help young people understand the harmful and potentially life-shattering effects of bullying, discrimination and harassment. The Trevor Project remains at the forefront of providing lifesaving guidance and vital resources to parents and educators, including our Lifeguard School Workshop Program and Trevor Survival Kit – both of which help educators constructively facilitate discussions with students about issues surrounding suicide, gender identity, sexual orientation and the impacts of language and behavior.” 

To learn more about suicide prevention, warning signs and resources, please visit The Trevor Project’s Suicide Resources Web page. 

To make a contribution to The Trevor Project in support of its lifesaving youth suicide prevention programs, please click here. https://www.thetrevorproject.org/donation.aspx

A young You-Tuber, KrisFrom1992,  posted this video and called for others to post video responses in support and solidarity. His plea is simple and impactful. I salute his courage in speaking out.

Another passionate plea came last year, following the murder of 15-year old Lawrence King from talk-show host Larry King.

carl-joseph-walker-hoover

Lawrence King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DON’T LET THIS DAY GO BY UNMARKED.

FIND SOME WAY TO SUPPORT “DAY OF SILENCE 2009”

-MsQueer

©2009 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved. (NOTE: Content of GLSEN press releases remain the sole property of GLSEN and content of Trevor Project’s press releases remain the sole property of The Trevor Project. No copyright infringement intended.)

 

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TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG
February 6, 2009

If you are having difficulty subscribing to this blog, copy and paste this address into your address bar:

https://msqueer.wordpress.com

Then you should be able to use the feed button. If not, please let me know in the comments. I am working on a solution to have feed available from the http://www.msqueer.com address as well.

Thanks! – MsQ

YouTube Project-4-Awesome Vids Feature The Trevor Project
January 4, 2009

What better way to tell someone about why they should donate to the nation’s only 24-7 Helpline for LGBTQ Youth, The Trevor Project, than through the video-perspective of two young movie-makers who chose to highlight the non-profit for YouTube’s Project 4 Awesome 2008?

I personally cannot say enough about the work of  The Trevor Project and the urgent and overwhelming need to offer support to our LGBTQ youth, many of whom are bombarded by cruel verbal and physical assaults from classmates and family, not to mention the ignorance of society-at-large.

These two young men are articulate, passionate and focused. When I hear young peope speak about how stupid they think name-calling and prejudice against others really is, it gives me hope for the future of the human family. Witness for yourself:

For more information about this young Film-maker, see http://www.youtube.com/user/r0sewhip137

For more information about this film-maker, see http://www.youtube.com/user/tyleroakley

ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO THE ORIGINATORS OF THESE VIDEOS. I OWN NOTHING!

-MsQueer

The Attic is Philly’s Safe Haven for LGBTQ Youth
January 2, 2009

I love it when you, the readers, take time to share resources such as this one, which I discovered through the sharing of  “the hostess” in response to my “Study Shows Tolerance Lowers Gay Teen Suicide Rate” post recently. (That’s what I want this blog to be all about! So spread the word and contact me with your resources!)

The Attic Youth Center, at  South 16th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102  offers safe space and programs for empowering LGBTQ Youth.

It’s Mission, as stated on the website:  The Attic Youth Center creates opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (l/g/b/t/q) youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults within a safe and supportive community, and promotes the acceptance of l/g/b/t/q youth in society.

It’s Vision: The Attic’s vision is one of inclusion where all individuals are valued and respected — a community where all young people have access to the resources they need to grow into healthy, independent, productive community members. The Attic’s mission and vision are supported by our multifaceted programmatic approach.

♥ PHONE: (215) 545-4331 ♥ EMAIL: info@atticyouthcenter.org   ♥

♥ WEBSITE: http://www.atticyouthcenter.org/index.php ♥

The Attic has published a list of resources for LGBTQ Youth for the Philadelphia area, other cities in Pennsylvania, as well as websites for national organizations and services.   See: www.atticyouthcenter.org/resources/General_Resource_List.pdf

In addition, while researching The Attic, I found an articulate article written by Sharon Cole regarding the decision by the Philadelphia School District to include Gay and Lesbian History Month in its 2006-2007 Academic Calendar.

Here is an excerpt:

The decision did not go unchallenged, however. According to reports in The Philadelphia Inquirer, school district officials received a deluge of irate e-mails and were visited by a few incensed parents who threatened to pull their kids from Philly public schools. But the district stood firm in its final decision stating, “We have our policy that says the district is committed to foster knowledge and respect for all.”

 

Though elated about the district’s inclusion, Carrie Jacobs, executive director and a founding member of the Attic Youth Center, an organization offering support and a safe haven for LGBT youth in center city Philadelphia, said the blatant intolerance of diversity displayed in response to the new calendar, of which 200,000 were distributed, made it all too clear just how far we are from true acceptance of gays and how desperately LGBT-identified youth need our support.

 

“There were people at the school commission reform who were so against gay history being printed on the calendars that it got to the point where some of them called other adults in the room faggots,” said Jacobs. “I was shocked by incredibly mean spirited it all was.”

 

Legacy of Neglected Youth

Shouting the term “faggots” is a pure example of the kind of verbal abuse anti-gay individuals impose upon others to cause fear, Jacobs said. Only when kids are the recipients, that fear can cause long-lasting damage. She explained that the name-calling causes oppression, and when that is coupled with a lack of education and awareness surrounding sexual orientation, social and emotional development can be

stunted for LGBT youth.

To read the article in its entirety, click here:  www.ct.gov/dcf/lib/dcf/wmv/news/protecting_our_kids.pdf

-MsQueer

©2009 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved. (NOTE: All language from The Attic website is the property of The Attic. All Rights to “Protecting Our Kids” belongs to the author. )

 


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Study Shows Tolerance Lowers Gay Teen Suicide Rate
January 1, 2009

Really? 🙂

And now for the real news…Accredited professionals are publishing credible data relevant to gay teens and youth and how to help them survive the hormone years – as if they aren’t confusing enough! – to make it to adulthood as an LGBT person. BRAVO!

So here’s the scoop, courtesy of an excellent story from NPR: 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98782569&ft=1&f=1001  

 

Credit the Research to Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Adolescent Health Initiatives and her team at the Cesar Chavez Institute at San Fransisco State University.  Well done, Ms. Ryan.  

 

We are coming a long way. For mainstream medical professions and the media to acknowledge the Gay Youth population and its particulars is a huge step out of the dark ages. Of course the reactionaries are protesting. Let them protest. What are they really objecting to…a message of compassion? That’s the basis of tolerance, not “putting up with” but ACCEPTANCE and RESPECT.  

 

Christians beware, lest you protest the message from the one you call Jesus, The Christ.  -MsQueer

 

©2008 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved. (NOTE: NPR OWNS ALL RIGHTS to its published story.) 

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For Parents of Gay Teens
December 16, 2008

So, what do you say when your child announces to you that she or he is “gay?” If you’re looking for the ultimate quintessential answer here out of desperation, you can quit reading now. There is no set “one line” or “approved script” of how to handle delicate interpersonal communications with loved ones – especially the “coming out” issue.

Suggestion: DON’T GO CRAZY. If you feel yourself launching into a judgement, take a moment to ask yourself, “Who’s that talking?”  Is what you may be about to spew all over your own flesh and blood something that you really subscribe to? Or might you be about to premanently render your relationship to your daughter or son altered irrevocably as the result of somebody else’s programs???????

What I mean here is that we all tend to act and react through “filters” – attitudes, opinions and automatic behaviors we have acquired throughout our lives, by observation, upbringing and conditioning (family, community, social-cultural influences, etc.) In other words, we as humans tend to interact with our world and each other as the sum total of the parts that we have taken on from other people in our lives  – almost like “valences” that may not necessarily be the real me or the real you.

But given a particular stimulus, BAM – before we can even think through the situation in front of us – up comes one of those “ghosts” – from somebody else’s past – (i.e. parents, clergy, teachers, authority figures) – like one of those annoying pop-ups that invade your computer screen and you really don’t want it, and don’t quite know how to get rid of it.

This is not to make any of those influence wrong. All those people that are part of our personal make-up are not “bad” – they just are not really us. They are “impressions” we hold onto because we don’t know how to release them without judgement and therefore guilt.

Letting go of Aunt Mary’s homophobia doesn’t make Aunt Mary a bad person – it just means she was expressing through her filters and influences in her life that she acquired…AND THE BEAT GOES ON! Making a choice to get free of that cycle and start a new one is choosing personal freedom and greater sanity.

In the case of being confronted with your teen’s “Coming out” – it can mean the difference between tragedy or triumph.

I found this article recently and wanted to share it with you:  Understanding Your Gay Teen,  A Primer for Parents by Katy Abel (see link below).

If you are a parent of a teen or any age daughter or son who has gone through the painful and fearful exercise of “coming out” to you, I implore you to treat this as a HUGE trust. Your child is looking for acceptance, not necessarily approval. You don’t have to understand the “gay experience” to love your child. Your child wants to know that no matter what, you still love them.

Think about it. They’re risking everything to be honest and open with you. They know from other people’s experiences that “honesty is the best policy” hasn’t always led to a “happy ending.”

Here’s some food for thought, and maybe insight into some of my “filters:” My father came from an Orthodox Jewish family. He fell in love with a woman 16 years his senior who was Lutheran. His family rejected her – and him. In fact, when it became clear that he was going to stand by his wife and not leave her as they had tried to convince him to do, they did the traditional week-long mourning period that follows burial of the dead.

For years there was no communication. When I was about 10 years old, a call came saying that his mother was dying of cancer and wanted to see my father and his family. So we went. It was very awkward, and very painful for my father. In the ensuing years, after his mother’s death, when he went to see his father there was a point in the visit where a silence would set in like a deep chasm that could not be bridged.

When my father died, he asked me not to inform his family until after he was buried. He carried hatred of his sister to his grave. And his pain. All I can say is, it is such a waste. There is nothing that should be more important than blood family – no religion, no philosophy, no politics, NOTHING.

Okay, end of soapbox. But you get the point. Looking back on the American Civil War we can all say “what a waste. Families torn apart, fathers and sons killing each other,  siblings against siblings…” So why would it make sense for any other issue? Let’s step away from the question at hand just far enough to realize that “from a distance” – as the song goes – we all are the same, and we all share far more in common than is justifiable in preserving the illusion of separation and “difference.”

See: Understanding Your Gay Teen, A Primer for Parents by Katy Abel

Additional resources are available through:

 PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) at: www.pflag.org

 Resources for Parents when talking to teens about homosexuality and gay teens, including:

3 Simple Things Parents of Straight Teens Can Do About Homosexuality
Parents of straight teens can do a lot to teach tolerance of gay teens.

My Teen Came Out to Me and I Blew It
Article for parents of gay teens who don’t feel that they have handled it well.

What should I say if my teen tells me he/she is gay, lesbian or bisexual?
Simple FAQ for parents of teens, what to say if your teen tells you he/she is gay lesbian or bisexual.

How Do I Accept My Gay Teen?
Don’t let yourself get confused between ‘accepting your teen’ and ‘accepting that your teen has a different sexual orientation’. This article will help.

Gayteens Resources
Support, information, features and chat rooms for young people, their families and those unsure of their sexuality.

http://parentingteens.about.com/od/gayteens/

Additional topics and authoritative compassionate articles are at this webpage for your assistance.

ADDENDUM: “For Parents of Gay/Lesbian Teens” gives an insightful view of what it feels like to be a parent dealing with discovering their teen’s gay identity.

See: http://www.teenhealthcentre.com/?q=node/53

better-gay-than-grumpy1

May your Christmas, Hannakah, Kwanza and other Holiday Celebrations

be filled with Love and Joy this year!

And may we all be able to celebrate each other as we are:

One with the All That IS.

🙂 MsQueer

©2008 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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Trevor Project Accredited by American Society of Suicidology
December 11, 2008

The Trevor Project has been formally recognized as the only accredited crisis and suicide prevention program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth .

Congratulations to The Trevor Project!  🙂 For more information go to www.thetrevorproject.org

From the Press Release issued by The Trevor Project: 
 LOS ANGELES (Nov. 14, 2008)  
 The Trevor Project, the non-profit organization that operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, today announced that it is the only crisis and suicide prevention service delivery program specifically serving the LGBTQ community to be officially accredited by the American Association of Suicidology (AAS).  

This month, The Trevor Project was accredited by AAS, thus recognizing it as an exemplary crisis and suicide prevention program performing according to nationally recognized standards. In order to achieve accreditation, The Trevor Project was required to undergo a rigorous evaluation process, focusing on seven areas of performance: Administration and Organizational Structure, Training Program, General Service Delivery System, Services in Life-threatening Crises, Ethical Standards and Practice, Community Integration and Program Evaluation.

“Receiving accreditation from AAS affirms that, clinically, our crisis and suicide prevention services for young people are top-tier, and positions us as a model of program excellence for other crisis centers,” said Charles Robbins, executive director and CEO, The Trevor Project. “As the only accredited, LGBTQ-specific crisis and suicide prevention helpline, we know our services are vital and we will remain committed to expanding our programs and national outreach.”

This year has been one of tremendous growth for The Trevor Project. Call volume on The Trevor Helpline has increased more than 300% in the last year (2007 to 2008). Last month, The Trevor Project launched TrevorSpace.org, an online, social networking community for LGBTQ youth and their friends and allies. In September, The Trevor Project expanded The Trevor School Workshop Program in New York and Los Angeles, which uses a structured curriculum in schools to address topics around sexuality, gender identity, the impacts of language and behavior and what it means for young people to feel different. In addition, The Trevor Project unveiled a new social marketing campaign in September, to coincide with National Suicide Prevention Week, which is annually sponsored by AAS.  

The Trevor Project received accreditation from AAS just one month prior to its largest, annual fundraiser, Cracked Xmas, which is set for Sunday, Dec. 7 at The Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles. The event is an evening of irreverent comedy, musical performances and awards to benefit The Trevor Project’s lifesaving programs, including the now-accredited helpline.

Suicide is one of the top three killers of young people, and LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. The Trevor Helpline receives more than 18,000 calls from young people in crisis each year. Volunteer counselors undergo more than 40 hours of training, learning to listen and understand without judgment.

Call volume on The Trevor Helpline typically increases during the winter holiday season, as many LGBTQ youth face additional challenges with family rejection and feelings of isolation and depression during the holidays. Young callers often call back after speaking with counselors on The Trevor Helpline to thank them. “I just want to thank you guys for having such an amazing helpline,” said one such 18-year-old caller. “I especially want to thank the counselor who talked to me, because his words truly saved my life.”  

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. The Trevor Helpline, 866-4-U-TREVOR, is a free and confidential service that offers hope through its trained counselors. The Trevor Project also provides lifesaving guidance and vital resources to parents and educators in order to foster safe, accepting and inclusive environments for all youth, at home and at school. The organization was founded by three filmmakers whose film, “Trevor,” about a gay teenager who attempts suicide, received the 1994 Academy Award® for Best Short Film (Live Action). For more information please visit TheTrevorProject.org.  

 

 

-MsQueer©2008 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved. (NOTE: Press Release content is the property of The Trevor Project.)

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