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gay bullying

Watch: Gay Teacher Shows Anti-Bullying Film, Becomes a Victim Of Faith-Based Bullying

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Jeremy Rhoden

Following a spate of fights in his school this Spring, an openly gay teacher in the small conservative community of Palatka, Florida ignited controversy when he showed anti-LGBT bullying film “Love Is All You Need?” to his students.

“Love Is All You Need?” is based on the premise of a “reversed world” where social roles are inverted – “gay” is “straight” and “straight” is “gay”: a twelve year old girl is bullied for liking a boy in her school.

Outraged parents claimed the film would make their kids gay and called for the teacher’s firing. Local pastors went ballistic. “That video had nothing to do with bullying. … It had to do with a militant sodomite agenda,” said John Iskat, pastor of Faith Baptist Church, who was among a half-dozen pastors who spoke out against the film at a March 4 county School Board meeting. [read the full Florida Times article here.]

The Palatka High teacher, Jeremy Rhoden, lost his job: the city did not renew his contract. The school’s principle, Mary Beth Headstrom, is currently on suspension without pay for supporting the film; her contract is under threat of not being renewed for next year.

“Love Is All You Need?” was released as a 20-minute short in 2011. Since then, “Love Is All You Need?” has racked up more than 30 short film accolades, including 13 film festival awards, been translated into 15 languages, and – as a viral video sensation – has been viewed (on various platforms) by over 30 million views to date. (Watch the original short film here.)

“Love Is All You Need?” has the support of GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) – marking the first time the organization has partnered with a production company.

Encouraged by the success of the short, writer and director Kim Rocco Shields is raising funds and resources via crowdsourcing platform Indiegogo (deadline July 2) to make the feature film version of “Love Is All You Need.” “We’re hoping by making a feature we can go theatrical and hit more audiences and effect more people worldwide,” she says.

Shields has pledged to dedicate a percentage of the film’s proceeds to anti-bullying programs in Palatka.

Donate by July 2 at www.icanstopbullying.com.

Watch below…

 

Sad: Gay Teen Comes Out; Gets Death Threats

A police investigation is underway in Circle Pines, Minnesota after Ryan Eichenauer, a gay student at Centennial High School who recently came out of the closet, received an anonymous death threat in his English class, KMSP reports:

Eichenauer says that within weeks of coming out, two threatening anonymous letters were left on his desk. The letter contains a morbid threat that says: “I can’t wait for the day that I get to walk over your grave and if you don’t put yourself there, I will be glad to. Just do us all a favor and do it soon. Kill yourself already.”

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More of the letter:

“Ryan, I see there are many others who also want you dead. Good. And it’s not just the two of us who have decided to speak up. It’s everyone. […] like you don’t deserve to live in this world. Innocent people die every day, but the scum of the earth like you gets to live? […] that. That is about to change. No one likes the fact that you are alive. No one likes the way you show your sexuality. You are a […] sinner. Someone should do something about it…I will. I am not a coward. I protect the house of god from […] like you.”

Eichenauer says he’s definitely afraid:

“A little scared, I feel safe in my school. Right now, mostly uncomfortable….The first threat I cried a lot. A lot of tears and emotions. Even though that was less threatening. Then this one came along. Is this what I am going to get forever, from now on?”

Watch and read the full story at Towleroad.

Watch: Gay Guy’s Viral Wedding Proposal Leads To His High School Bully’s Apology

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Perhaps you saw L.A. boyfriends Lucas Bane’s and David Devora‘s (both above) wedding engagement video in late December. The video (below) subsequently went viral and it is quite beautiful.

Following the viral spread of the video, Lucas received a Facebook message from an old classmate who used to bully him in school. Fortunately the guy has matured in the past decade. ” I wanted you to know that I think what you have is awesome,” the unnamed atoner writes, “and I wish you the best.”

The messages are below, are inspiring and reminiscent of a number of my former bullies who have friended me on Facebook – replete with apologies that I happily accepted. People grow and learn in the 30 years we were in middle and high school together. It always feels good to be a part of that transformation.

Of course, Lucas and David are Burners so I love them even more.

Great story…

Lucas and David from LUCAS and DAVID on Vimeo.

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H/T NewNowNext

Like Russia, Eight U.S. States Have Laws Banning Promotion of LGBTQ Topics

GLSEN recently published these highly informative maps that provide an update as to where we are on such issues as prohibiting bullying against LGBTs in schools and where, in some cases, discussing or recognizing LGBTs is not permitted.

One of the most effective steps that schools, school districts and states can take to improve school climate and make schools safer is to enact safe schools laws and policies. When GLSEN uses the term “Safe Schools Laws”, we are actually referring to two distinct types of laws that protect LGBT students in schools.

The first type of safe schools law is fully enumerated anti-bullying laws. These are laws that specifically prohibit bullying and harassment of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These laws most often use both terms: “bullying” and “harassment” but in some cases may use only one. The map below indicates those states which have anti-bullying laws which specifically protect students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (green in the map below). These states include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

 

Enumerated anti-bullying laws by state

 

The second type is non-discrimination laws which many states have passed to provide protection from discrimination to LGBT students in schools. There are some non-discrimination laws that protect from discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity. The map below details those states which have non-discrimination laws which apply to schools and protect students on the basis of sexual orientation (blue in the map below) or sexual orientation as well as gender identity (magenta in the map below). California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia provide protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, while Wisconsin provides protection on the basis of sexual orientation only.

 

We also track negative laws that may harm or stigmatize LGBT students. One example of such laws are “no promo homo” laws, local or state education laws that expressly forbid teachers from discussing gay and transgender issues (including sexual health and HIV/AIDS awareness) in a positive light-if at all. Some laws even require that teachers actively portray LGBT people in a negative or inaccurate way. These statutes only serve to further stigmatize LGBT students by providing K-12 students false, misleading, or incomplete information about LGBT people. There are currently 8 states that have these types of laws: Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. Learn more about how “no promo homo” laws might affect you.

 

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GLSEN also opposes state laws that purport to prevent bullying and harassment, but which prohibit local school districts from having enumerated anti-bullying policies. As we discussed above, enumeration is essential to implement anti-bullying measures that effectively protect all students. There are two states which prohibit school districts from having enumerated policies: Missouri and South Dakota.

Via Equaltopia

Watch: Check Out These Award-worthy Anti-Bullying Videos from San Francisco Kids

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon’s second annual anti-bullying video contest took place this fall, and the contest resulted in some awesome messages that gives me hope for America’s kids:

The “Bye Bye Bullying” contest, launched in October, asked participating San Francisco middle and high students to make a 60-second video about cyber bullying.

Forty entries were submitted, and the three winning videos were announced at a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall this afternoon.

Gascon introduced the videos, calling them “powerful” and reflected on his youth as an immigrant with limited English skills getting bullied at school.

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The first place award went to Lincoln High School ninth-grader Lillibelle Liang for her video “Part of the 13 Million,” referring to the estimated number of American youths affected by bullying each year. (video above)

My takeaway: “There can’t be rainbows without rain..”

Check out more of the winning vids here.

Via San Francisco Appeal

Watch: Chilling Look At Bullying – In A New Context

In this video from France, filmmaker Vincent Lobelle takes bullying out of the classroom and applies it in a new context: the workplace. It’s powerful and makes you think again (or differently) about bullying. Watch above.

Production: Le Monde en face : Harcèlement à l’école – France 5 (BA)

Via LGBTQ Nation

Stop Calling Things ‘Gay’

I recently heard from a teen named Joe about a new campaign he has created to persuade people from calling things ‘gay.’ Here’s his story:

My name is Joe, and I am a 15 year old living outside of Philadelphia. Throughout my life I’ve been hearing “gay” used as a synonym for stupid everywhere I go. “Thats so gay” is the most commonly heard term. I decided I had to do what I could in order to fix this problem. So I started a Facebook page called Stop Calling Things Gay. We have over 815 likes at this point. I am ecstatic that there are so many people that agree with me this strongly. We are also trying to sell shirts and wristbands to help raise money for a charity called Athlete Ally on our website. We are focusing on the wristbands right now. If there is any advice or contacts that you could give me that would be amazing. Or if you could get one of the wristbands and wear it around to raise awareness that would also be great.

Here are links to Joe’s sites – let’s help him get the word out and check out his wares.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StopCallingThingsGay

Website: stopcallingthingsgay.webs.com/apps/webstore/

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Another Gay Youth Lost to Bullying

This shit needs to stop.

Carlos Vigil, a 17-year-old New Mexico teen took his own life this week after leaving a suicide note on Twitter. An anti-bullying advocate, byllying eventually forced Vigil to take his own life:

“I’m sorry to those I offended over the years. I’m blind to see that I, as a human being, suck. I’m an individual who is doing an injustice to the world and it’s time for me to leave,” read a post on Vigil’s Twitter account, continuing: “The kids in school are right, I am a loser, a freak, and a fag and in no way is that acceptable for people to deal with. I’m sorry for not being a person that would make people proud.”

Friends of Vigil said that he had just returned from a trip out of state to North Carolina where he had spoken out against school bullying. Apparently, the reception he got on his trip was far from hospitable, and mere hours after he returned, Vigil killed himself via a still-undisclosed method.

We all know how damaging bullying has been to LGBT youth. It hurts me (as I’m sure it does you) to see this same act happening over and over. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please (PLEASE) contact The Trevor ProjectIf you are a youth who is feeling alone, confused or in crisis, please call The Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386 for immediate help.

You can also write Ask Trevor with any non-time sensitive questions.

Via The Latin Post

 

Carson Crane Completes His Summit Of Everest For Trevor Project

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In April, we posted about Carson Crane’s quest to summit all 7 of the world’s highest peaks to raise awareness of gay bullying and specifically The Trevor Project. He also becomes He reports on today’s Huffington Post about the experience:

I watched the horizon until the sun had fully risen. Tibet bathed in a golden halo. Nepal, on the other side. The triangle shape of Everest cast a massive shadow. I sat down on the rounded peak, stared at the flags, and still in shock, I sobbed. I had done it. It was so worth it, good times and bad, and I knew I was there for every one of us who’d experienced discrimination. I threw the flags up in the air and watched the wind take them and their prayers to every corner of the Earth.

On that windy morning on the summit of Mt. Everest, I saw the lives of these people — many of them LGBT youth — reflected in the beauty of this natural setting. I had summited Mt. Everest in honor of other LGBTQ youth who face discrimination and harassment, and also to send a message to others who might be a sexual minority or any other minority in their community: You can do it. Find your Everest. Find it and climb it and stand on top and exult in the sun rising over the vast horizon.

Congratulations, Carson! Be sure to check out Crane’s reflections in their entirety here.