Posts Tagged ‘news’

The Bullying Continues: Responses and News

October 1, 2010  |  essays  |  3 Comments

I’m working on a longer essay about the recent teen gay suicides but meanwhile, here’s some more headlines and information about things that are coming in. Read them. Ponder what you can do.

  • October 1st: 19-Year-Old Gay College Student Raymond Chase Commits Suicide. “Raymond Chase was a person who liked Harry Potter and Rugrats and was a member of the popular facebook group “I cant spell “bananas” without singing hollaback girl.” He’s not number five in a week of suicides, he’s a unique special person with friends and family who are devastated by his loss. He’s a gay college kid who sure seems happy but not that day, or maybe he’d never been, and something happened or something had always happened and he couldn’t do it. His facebook bio is short and simple: “I like to laugh, I like to have fun, and I’m gay.””
    I count number 6, actually, but many articles I see are reporting 5. Beautiful writing from Autostraddle, definitely read this one.
  • September 27th: Ohio’s Tyler Wilson, 11, Gets Arm Broken By Classmate For Being a Cheerleader: “Tyler Wilson, an 11-year-old sixth grader in Findlay, Ohio had his arm broken Aug. 31 by a footballer-playing classmate at Glenwood Middle School after he and another boy began fighting with Tyler and calling him a sissy. How come? Because he joined a cheerleading squad.” The two boys responsible are now facing assault charges.
  • On Velvetpark: Judy Shepard: We Must All Protect Youth from Suicide: “Our young people deserve better than to go to schools where they are treated this way. We have to make schools a safe place for our youth to prepare for their futures, not be confronted with threats, intimidation or routine disrespect. … Quite simply, we are calling one more time for all Americans to stand up and speak out against taunting, invasion of privacy, violence and discrimination against these youth by their peers, and asking everyone in a position of authority in their schools and communities to step forward and provide safe spaces and support services for LGBT youth or those who are simply targeted for discrimination because others assume they are gay. There can never be enough love and acceptance for these young people as they seek to live openly as their true selves and find their role in society.”
  • September 30th: On The Stranger’s Slog: Why Are So Many Gay Kids Killing Themselves? Maybe it has something to do with shit like this: “La Crosse police are investigating accusations the reigning Riverfest commodore shoved a 14-year-old girl carrying a gay pride flag just before Saturday’s Maple Leaf parade.”
  • what are you doing right now to make the world safer for gay/queer/trans youth? if the answer is nothing, change that today.—dora

September 30th: Ellen’s statement about it on her show: “Things will get easier. Minds will change. And you should be alive to see it.”

Anderson Cooper smacks down the assistant Attorney General of Michigan for harassing and stalking the openly gay president of the the University of Michigan: “I looked up the definition of ‘cyber bully,’ and that fits what you’re doing. Do you consider yourself a cyber bully?” “Do you consider yourself a bigot? Merriam-Webster defines bigot as … ” “Are you aware that your boss thinks you’re immature?” Wow, sometimes I just adore Cooper. It’s so clear that the other guy has no ability for logic or consistency or integrity in his speech or life … what a sad, sad way to live. At least this is a little bit uplifting.

More soon. Lots of thoughts rolling around in my head about what we can do, what I can do, what needs to happen, what must change. Meanwhile, I’m in Portland for Butch Voices, and trying to keep my shit together.

Let’s Get Gay Married!

May 6, 2009  |  essays  |  6 Comments

postcard-m

I’ve been wanting to write a post about the changes in gay marriage legistlation that have been happening in the US lately. I’ve even started drafting some notes. But by time I get back to writing it, I find that yet another state has put something new into law.

Suddenly, it’s like a domino effect: Yesterday, the Maine House of Representatives voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and now Maine; DC also passed legistlation to recognize gay marriages performed in other states (something New York and New Jersey also do).

postcard-mPlus, there’s Massachusetts, which was the first state to let gay couples marry in 2004, who is I’m sure just sittin’ back going, “Whut? What’s the big deal? Oh, gay marriage? Yeah, we did that like five years ago. You guys haven’t done that yet?” (Apparently Massachusetts speaks in a lot of slang.)

Oh, and Connecticut, which began performaing gay marriages last fall.

Not only that, but Nate Silver, genius statistician behind FiveThirtyEight (which kept me sane during the 2008 election, along with Dr. Maddow), developed a model to estimate when other states will follow suit and pass gay marriage rights: “The model predicts that by 2012, almost half of the 50 states would vote against a marriage ban, including several states that had previously voted to ban it.” He recognizes that there could be a backlash, or a paradigmatic shift in favor of permitting gay marriage, and these could be completely off, but it seems quite possible that they are at least going to be partly accurate. And seeing it all in print like that is just … thrilling.

Sugarbutch is definitely not a news source, really, but as long as we’re making some serious headway, I think it deserves mentioning.

Wait, what? Sorry, what did I just say? THE number one gay civil rights issue is … succeeding? I feel like I’m in a cartoon where I have to shake my head and it gets all blurry. Really?

postcard-mSo now we’re equal, right? We’re the same, we’re going to be treated with respect, 11-year-old kids aren’t going to committ suicide because they are being bullied, taunted about their sexuality? Harassment is over, workplace discrimination is over – oh yeah, nobody can get fired for being gay anymore, right?

And don’t even get me started with the transphobia and genderphobia – where genderqueer folks are getting murdered through blatant hate crimes. At least “surprise” is less of a defense these days.

I have issues with the marriage focus of the gay rights movement. I understand that marriage is pretty much the ultimate symbol of a legitimate relationship (in this culture & society), so I understand why it’s important to work for, and I understand that perhaps for many people, it will be an important symbol in the step toward acknowledging the legitimacy of homosexual relationships.

(I could go on here about other legitimate forms of relationships that also deserve governmental tax breaks, the normalizing and construction of monogamy, the question of where is the separation of church and state in this issue, the belief that marriage is the ceremony and civil union should be the legal part, that marriage is also a class and privilege issue … lots of people are having this conversation lately, it’s all been said before.)

postcard-mBUT: gay marriage is not THE END of the gay rights movements. It really hurts to read that gay advocacy groups are closing their doors because hey, we can get married now! There’s nothing else to fight for, is there?

Look, don’t get me wrong, I am SO GLAD that we’re gaining movement with the gay marriage issue. Thank heavens. Maybe we can now move on to some of the OTHER issues of the movement, like, oh, I don’t know, PEOPLE DYING.

Part of me wants to be snarky and say, “So you think this makes up for all that discrimination? Huh? Huh?” But hey, you’ve come around now, and that’s what matters. So: thanks, Maine. And thanks, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, DC, and all the other states who are helping make history, create change, support equality, justice, and validate all kinds of love.

"Lesbians found guilty … "

April 19, 2007  |  journal entries  |  2 Comments

I don’t usually post about news or current event type of things, but I’ve been following this story since it started and I’m really sad about it today:Lesbians found guilty of attacking a straight man: their lawyer said, “These are seven decent and nice young women who came into the city to have a good time. They were hit upon by an abusive homophobic man. Now they’re all going to state prison.”We are, still, not safe.

If you do click through that link – which I thought to be a rather sympathetic telling of the sentencing, on the girls’ side – watch out for the comments at the bottom. I am actually really shocked: “They deserve what they got.” and “They deserve to go to prison for a long time. Good riddance.” and “guess what, you poor little girls, you can’t stab people!” and “why weren’t they charged with hate crimes?”

Oh, god, it’s just heartbreaking.

They weren’t charged with hate crimes because hate crimes are intended to protect minorities. It goes along with the argument for “reverse discrimination” – such a thing, in my opinion, which does not and can not actually exist, because the consequences to descrimination against someone in the majority are very, very slight, are not institutionally implimented into society, and have very little to do with systemic disadvataging of the marginalized.

Homophobic attacks on the street are terrifying, and have real, serious, current, deadly consequences. These slurs that the man was yelling to the group of women, they were not “just words” and “harmless,” they have serious consequences, serious reprodcussions in a homophobic, heteronormative society such as ours.

Queers need protection, and sometimes need – NEED – to fight back. I don’t think they should have stabbed that man; I am a pacifist and believe seriously in non-violence, but we weren’t there – we don’t know – he could have been so threatening that they needed to physically defend/protect themselves.

I am really sad for those girls. It makes me want to take action, act up, do something in a way that few events in the gay activism realm have recently.

This is why I watch Boston Legal. I haven’t kept up with this season (I wait for the DVDs), but if they haven’t already, I really hope they use this incident.

I won’t even begin to mention the whole partial-birth abortion/Supreme Court news, or the Virginia Tech shooting, or that CNN released all the videos and letters of the shooter, that has also been hitting the fan in the past few days. Any god, anywhere, help us all.