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

Really? ūüôā

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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Home For the Holidays
December 17, 2008

After I wrote “For Parents of Gays” I had some additional thoughts regarding family and holidays. See my post at:

http://debadler.wordpress.com/2008/12/17/home-for-the-holidays/

NOTE: the link at the bottom of that post leads back over to the “For Parents of Gays” post here. [Don’t want to get you into a perpetual loop¬† ūüôā¬† ]

©2008 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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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.

ūüôā MsQueer

©2008 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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World Suicide Prevention Day and The Trevor Project
September 10, 2008

Today, September 10, 2008, has been proclaimed “Trevor Project Day” in the state of New York, to coincide with “World Suicide Prevention Day” and “National Suicide Prevention Week.”¬† I share this email which I receive from The Trevor Project. (If you wish to receive updates on their programs, you can request that at www.thetrevorproject.org). -MsQueer

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE EMAIL: trevor-day-announcement

Here’s a copy of the accompanying press release (reformatted to please the blog editor!):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:

Jacque Wing / The Trevor Project

310-271-8845, ext. 226

Jacqueline.Wing@TheTrevorProject.org

 

MEDIA ALERT

 

SEPT. 10 PROCLAIMED ‚ÄúTHE TREVOR PROJECT DAY‚ÄĚ IN NEW YORK

The Trevor Project Day to coincide with National Suicide Prevention Week and World Suicide Prevention Day

 

WHAT:

 

New York Gov. David Paterson will proclaim Sept. 10, 2008 as The Trevor Project Day in the state of New York. The Trevor Project operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The Trevor Project Day strategically occurs during National Suicide Prevention Week, sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology. The day coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day, sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

 

In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Week, World Suicide Prevention Day and The Trevor Project Day, The Trevor Project will launch and participate in a variety of initiatives to build awareness regarding suicide, specifically among LGBTQ youth. These include:

 

  • Maximizing exposure of The Trevor Project‚Äôs ‚ÄúI‚Äôm Glad I Failed‚ÄĚ social marketing campaign, which targets LGBTQ youth who contemplate suicide as a result of homophobia: http://www.TheTrevorProject.org/ImGladIFailed.

 

  • Launch of The Trevor Project School Workshop Program, which will use 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.

 

  • Launch of an all-new ‚Äúfan page‚ÄĚ on Facebook.com promoting The Trevor Project, its mission and its services to members nationwide.

 

  • Volunteer counselors from The Trevor Helpline as well as staff members from The Trevor Project will participate in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Sat., Sept. 13 in Santa Monica, Calif., to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

WHEN:

 

National Suicide Prevention Week: Sept. 7 through 13, 2008

The Trevor Project Day: Sept. 10, 2008

World Suicide Prevention Day: Sept. 10, 2008

 

WHY:            

           

Suicide is one of the top three causes of death among young people (15 to 24-year-olds). Only accidents and homicides occur more frequently as causes of death among young people.

 

LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

 

LGBTQ youth who come from a rejecting family are up to nine times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

 

# # #

 

 


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John McCain and the LGBT Community
September 8, 2008

Okay, here we go. MsQueer goes political. (Is that like “going balistic?” Maybe this election…)

I have another blog where I’ve gotten very vocal regarding this election, despite my original intentions to steer clear of that. And I had a couple of great¬†lines about Gay Republicans, but then I remembered that this site is about Dignity and Respect. (Sigh!)

So, I’ll just deliver this straight (you should pardon the expression)¬†off the cuff. Although we as LBGT people have seemingly become one of the primary groups to be courted for our vote in this election, John McCain isn’t even trying. Give him an “A” for honesty. But give him a big “F” for anything resembling an equal rights/human rights view of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals or Transgendered persons.

I found a great article that summarizes Mr. McCain’s view and background as a politician thus far.¬† Thanks to Kathy Belge at About.com: Lesbian Life, I give you the portal to her wisdom:

http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/lesbianactivism/p/JohnMcCain.htm

Let the LGBT Voter beware: when asked about Gay Adoption, McCain replied that he felt two-parent families were best suited to adopt. Two-parent families? So one partner counts and the other is — chopped liver?

I can honestly say that McCain doesn’t make it hard for a person to find out where he stands on LGBT Rights issues. Some candidates hide their truth amongst cleverly crafted interweavings of platitudes and promises that pale once you discover some off-the-cuff comment made “in private” or a carefully planned agenda for securing special interest votes.

At any rate, I have been pretty vocal about the other side of the ticket at http://debadler.wordpress.com. Let’s just say that as a woman, the Dems have pretty effectively alienated me, but not as much the Republicans with their choice of a woman VP that was supposed to get my vote because I’m a woman? PLEASE!

Each of us will ultimately have to make up our own minds based on criteria that will likely include our LGBT identities as only one aspect of our total being and interests. No election has ever been a¬†cut and dry, black and white simple decision, and 2008 will be no exception. Its important that we vote based on a criteria each of us can fully embrace at heart, not just intellectually based on others’ recommendations.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain. We, as LGBT people, have more work ahead of us to resolve prejudices between us, as well as between us and others. Perhaps as we become more fully united amongst ourselves, with true compassion and acceptance of our diversity, we will have less opposition from those who view us as opposed to their values. Perhaps they will come to see that we share their values of the importance of family and community in a far more inclusive way. -MsQueer

©2008 Deborah Adler and MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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Weighing In On Hallmark’s Gay Marriage Cards
August 27, 2008

BRAVO HALLMARK CARDS! Congratulations on your BOLD step!¬†It took courage to roll out Gay Marriage greeting cards! But alas, your announcement fell a little short of the social significance category when included in the annoucement was the admittance, “the move is a response to consumer demand, not any political pressure.”

Sooo, It’s really “Congratulations on a Smart Marketing Strategy.”

Maybe they read my post, “Gay Buying Power: A Force To Be Reckoned WIth”

see: https://msqueer.wordpress.com/2008/08/24/gay-buying-power-a-force-to-be-reckoned-with/

After all, what company in their right profit-seeking minds wouldn’t want to snag a share of the $600 Billion combined buying power of an estimated 15.3 million lesbian and gay consumers? (2006 survey)

But whether the “when you care to send the very best” company intended to or not, it has¬†set itself down right in the middle of right-wing conservative Americans’ vehement anti-gay campaign with a backlash of opinions and proposed boycotts hitting the internet minutes after the initial announcement.

Ya gotta give them conservatives some points for vigilance. They don’t miss a beat – not a moment – no matter how fleeting – when it comes to monitoring the “spread of the gay agenda” in America.

Gay Agenda – now that’s an interesting concept, too. I wonder what it would take for all of us to agree on one specified agenda? Let’s not spill the beans, since they think we’re so organized. Paranoia has been known to affect judgement, not to mention eyesight and the other senses. I have to admit I feel for them sometimes. Living under all that constant stress of feeling threatened by the “Gay Plague” has got to be exhausting. I bet they spend alot of their consumer buying power on high blood pressure medicine.

Anyway, Kudos to Hallmark – regardless of their motivations. They may not have meant to jump into the deep end, but they’re¬†certainly in¬†the swim¬†now!¬†

Hope you guys have good life preservers and can tread water for a reasonably long time – at least long enough to outlast all the clammer that has and will arise from this somewhat bold move. Take a page out of Proctor and Gamble’s playbook. Zealots thought they were in cahoots with the devil because their logo was supposed to be “satanic symbology.”¬† P&G outlived them and you’ll do just fine too. -MsQueer

©2008 MsQueer.com and Deborah Adler. All rights reserved.

Here’s the story from AP as reported by CBS¬†News:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/21/business/main4369335.shtml 

Hallmark Introduces Gay Marriage Cards

Largest U.S. Greeting Card Company Says It’s Responding To Consumer Demand

 

Most states don’t recognize gay marriage – but now Hallmark does.

 

The nation’s largest greeting card company is rolling out same-sex wedding cards – featuring two tuxedos, overlapping hearts or intertwined flowers, with best wishes inside. “Two hearts. One promise,” one says.

 

Hallmark added the cards after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage. A handful of other states have recognized same-sex civil unions.

 

The language inside the cards is neutral, with no mention of wedding or marriage, making them also suitable for a commitment ceremony. Hallmark says the move is a response to consumer demand, not any political pressure.

 

“It’s our goal to be as relevant as possible to as many people as we can,” Hallmark spokeswoman Sarah Gronberg Kolell said.

 

Hallmark’s largest competitor, Cleveland-based American Greetings Corp., has no plans to enter the market, saying its current offerings are general enough to speak to a lot of different relationships.

 

Hallmark started offering “coming out” cards last year, and the four designs of same-sex marriage cards are being gradually released this summer and will be widely available by next year. No sales figures were available yet.

“When I have shopped for situations like babies or weddings for gay friends I have good luck in quirky stores,” said Kathryn Hamm, president of the Web site gayweddings.com.

“But if you are just in a generic store … the bride and groom symbol or words are in most cards,” she said. “It becomes difficult to find some that are neutral but have some style.”

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates that more than 85,000 same-sex couples in the United States have entered into a legal relationship since 1997, when Hawaii started offering some legal benefits to same-sex partners.

It estimates nearly 120,000 more couples will marry in California during the next three years – and that means millions of potential dollars for all sorts of wedding-industry businesses.

Hallmark, known more for its Midwest mores than progressive greetings, has added a wider variety lately. It now offers cards for difficulty getting pregnant or going through rehab.

It pulled a controversial card that featured the word “queer” in the punch line after it was criticized by some customers and gay magazine The Advocate last year. At any given time, Hallmark has 200 different wedding cards on the market, including some catering to interracial or inter-religious marriages and blended families.

The Greeting Card Association, a trade group, says it does not track how many companies provide same-sex cards but believes the number is expanding.

“The fact that you have someone like Hallmark going into that niche shows it’s growing and signals a trend,” said Barbara Miller, a spokeswoman for the association.

Rob Fortier, an independent card maker who runs his company, Paper Words, out of New York, added same-sex wedding cards to his mix after thinking about what he would want to receive.

“A lot of people think a gay greeting card needs a rainbow on it,” Fortier said. “I don’t want that.”

But for some time, it was difficult to even find the words for what anyone wanted to say, he said.

His first card poked fun at the challenge. On the outside it featured lines that had been scratched out: “Congratulations on being committed!”, “Congratulations on being unionized!” and, finally, “Congratulations on being domestically partnered!” The inside wished the couple congratulations on choosing to be together forever.

“It really comes down to language,” he said.

John Stark, one of the three founders of Three Way Design in Boston, which makes gay-themed cards for occasions from adoption to weddings, has several new designs sketched out and ready.

But he has hesitated adding more wedding cards to his mix until after the November election, when California voters will decide a constitutional amendment that would again limit marriage to a man and a woman in the state.

“What is scary is to produce a marriage line and then November comes and it’s recalled, then we have thousands of dollars of inventory waiting,” he said.

The gay-friendly business can be challenging, companies said.

Hamm said although she has found many vendors willing to work with her company, some have asked to be removed from the Web site because of hate mail or some other backlash.

Hallmark says all of its stores can choose whether they want to add the latest offerings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© MMVIII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 This photo provided by Hallmark shows a same-sex wedding greeting card. Hallmark added the cards after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage. (AP PHOTO)

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Gay Homeless Youth, An OurChart Special Report featuring Katherine Moennig
August 14, 2008

In 2006 the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, together with¬† the National Coalition for the Homeless, issued a report on “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness.”

The Executive Summary of this report stated the following: 

“The U.S Dept of Health and Human Services estimates that the number of homeless and runaway youth ranges from 57,000 to 1.6 million per year. Our analysis of the available research suggests that between 20 percent and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Given that between 3 percent and 5 percent of the U.S. population identifies as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, it is clear that LGBT youth experience homelessness at a disproportionate rate.”¬†¬† (http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/HomelessYouth.pdf)
-MsQueer   

The following series of videos is a special original series on www.ourchart.com entitled 

“My Address: A Look at Gay Youth Homelessness”

featuring actress Katherine Moennig, who portrays Shane in the popular ShowTime series The L Word.

Part 1

Part 2

 

 

Part 3

 

Part 4

 

Part 5


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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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Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Florida High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance
August 7, 2008

THIS ARTICLE IS REPRINTED DIRECTLY FROM THE GLSEN WEBSITE AT:

http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/2317.html

 

Federal Judge Rules that Florida High School Must Allow Gay-Straight Alliance

Media Contact
Daryl Presgraves
646-388-6577
dpresgraves@glsen.org

Jul 30, 2008

Decision Follows Judicial Precedent on GSA Cases, Rejects Claim of Sex-Based Club

NEW YORK, July 30, 2008 – In yet another judicial decision upholding the right of students to form and participate in Gay-Straight Alliances, a federal judge ruled Tuesday night that Okeechobee High School in Florida must allow a GSA the same access it allows other non-curricular clubs.

The ruling also stated that GSAs do not interfere with abstinence-only education and that schools must take into account the well being of non-heterosexual students.

“We applaud this decision rooted in judicial precedent for recognizing not just the legal right of students to form GSAs, but also that schools and students will benefit by having GSAs on campus,” said GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings. “While it is important to note the courage of the students who came forward to claim their legal right to work to make their school safer, the real victors are all the students at Okeechobee High School.”

Okeechobee High School had sought to mischaracterize the purpose of the GSA. Judge K. Michael Moore reaffirmed his earlier ruling that GSAs are not sex-based clubs, but clubs designed to foster tolerance on school campuses.

About 4,000 GSAs are currently registered with GLSEN, including 155 in Florida.

A 2007 GLSEN research brief on the benefits of GSAs found that students in schools with GSAs are less likely to hear homophobic remarks in school on a daily basis than students in schools without a GSA (57% compared to 75%).

The report’s major findings:

  • The presence of GSAs may help to make schools safer for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students by sending a message that biased language and harassment will not be tolerated.
  • Having a GSA may also make school more accessible to LGBT students by contributing to a more positive school environment.
  • GSAs may help LGBT students to identify supportive school staff, which has been shown to have a positive impact on their academic achievement and experiences in school.
  • Most students lack access to GSAs or other student clubs that provide support and address issues specific to LGBT students and their allies.

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. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs, research, public education or development initiatives, visit http://www.glsen.org.

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B.R.A.V.O.
August 1, 2008

The Buckeye-Region Anti-Violence Organization’s website offers some excellent links and resources for victims of hate crimes, discrimination, domestic violence and/or sexual assault. This is one of many helpful sites. It’s based in Columbus, Ohio in “the heart of it all.”¬† -MsQueer

from the homepage (http://www.bravo-ohio.org/) –

BRAVO is your link to survivor advocacy and assistance – regarding hate crimes, discrimination, domestic violence, and sexual assault. BRAVO is a founding member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP). Each year, we document incidences of hate crimes and domestic violence along with similar agencies across the United States. BRAVO is a proud CoSMO Member Agency! Community Shares of Mid-Ohio (CoSMO) is a collaboration of 45 community-based organizations, serving Central Ohio and beyond.

BRAVO Survivor Services: If you or someone you know has experienced violence, threats or intimidation BRAVO can work with you to help ensure your safety and provide the support you need.

Help in Crisis: Hate Crimes Reporting & Documentation Hospital Advocacy Domestic Violence Support Safety Planning Support for Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Housing Assistance in working with your local police, including help filing reports Support Groups Accompaniment and Advocacy if you go to court.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need information regarding any of the services we provide or to report violence. Contact our toll-free number anywhere or at anytime:

1 866 86 BRAVO (1-866-862-7286)

“Serving the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities since 1996”

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