Tag Archives: teen suicide

Hate Groups Trying to Play Victim Card: Hypocrisy Much?

19 Aug

What, me hate?

First allow me to say how saddened I was to learn that a security guard was injured at the Family Research Council (FRC).  I, for one, am not a proponent of violence, regardless of the fact that FRC and the ironically named National Organization for Marriage (NOM) — along with their sponsored elected officials — are pushing violence as part of their “Christian” agenda.

There is a very good and very real reason why the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has acknowledged FRC and NOM as hate groups.  Now closet case Tony Perkins and our ball of crazy Maggie (I can’t stop thinking about gay sex) Gallagher are trying to play the victim card. They say the “hate group” label caused the shooting. Good ol’ Maggie is even helping another hate group, LivePrayer, mount a $100 million lawsuit against the SPLC.

Let us have a bit of a history lesson before we proceed.  The FRC is rooted in White Supremacy and has ties to the KKK — big shock there.  Both NOM and the FRC have decades of blood on their hands for pushing their homophobic hate. Violence against the LGBT community has gone up by 13%, as have gay teen suicides.  Where is the apology from the FRC and NOM?  Let us also be reminded of the extraordinary misogyny of these hate groups.  James Dobson, the founder of the FRC (secret lover of Tony Perkins) was quoted as saying: “The biggest Holocaust in world history came out of the Supreme Court with the Roe v. Wade decision.”

What’s sad is that many in the media are buying Perkins’ poor li’l me sob story. The same twisted rationale that has him appear on news programs to provide a “balanced view” has them saying  the “hate group” label is too harsh for a “policy organization.” If any of those so-called journalists had done a bit of research, they would know that the SPLC addressed that issue, highlighting the aggressively hostile language that Perkins and the FRC use about the LGBT community. (GLAAD has a good overview as part of their commentator accountability project. Maggie is on the list there as well.) The crowning irony is that Perkins has repeatedly accused the LGBT community of exploiting bullied gay teens (many of whom committed suicide) to gain sympathy; now he’s hiding behind his employee and “friend.” How christian…

P.S. FRC hosts a big conference each September, the horrifically titled Values Voters Summit. They just confirmed a new speaker for this year’s event…Rep. Paul Ryan. That should be all anyone really needs to know about Romney/Ryan 2012.  Yes, Paul Ryan represents the values or the lack of values of registered Hate Groups!

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Hero of the Week: September 30, The Rodemeyer Family

30 Sep

Heroes of the Week

It takes great personal strength and courage of character to turn a family tragedy into an opportunity for speaking out. This weeks heroes did just that. When Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide on September 19 after enduring years of bullying for his sexual orientation, his family somehow managed to find time for their personal grief and to become outspoken advocates for the thousands of kids suffering bullying around our country.

Given Jamey’s own efforts to be a role model for LGBT youth, including recording an It Gets Better video, this is a wonderful way to honor his legacy. Traci and Tim Rodemeyer, Jamey’s parents, gave an exclusive interview to Ann Curry of NBC’s Today show, describing the circumstances of his life and death and the importance of stopping bullying. Their unflagging support of their son, even in the face of their personal tragedy, took great strength. Sadly, bullies at Jamey’s school didn’t stop after his death, but taunted his sister, Alyssa, at the homecoming dance. To her credit, Alyssa stood up and joined in the family’s message, inteviewing with Anderson Cooper.

I don’t know who would have the heart to disrespect someone even after they’re dead. It’s mindblowing.

This family’s sense of grief and loss is hard to imagine, yet somehow they have managed to honor their son with their words and actions. Taking a page from the Judy Shepard playbook, they demonstrate true courage and heroism.
Honorable mention, must, of course, go to our Laday Gaga, ever vigilant against bullying. She dedicated a concert to Jamey and took the opportunity of this tragedy to meet with President Obama about the tragic number of suicides that this plague of hostility has caused. Brava once again, Mother Monster.

Helping Bullied Kids Find the Power Within Is Everyone’s Responsibility

22 Sep

Bullying's Latest Victim

This week yet another young member of the LGBTQ community took his own life after dealing with years of bullying. Last Sunday, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide after returning from a family camping trip. Jamey was an outgoing, apparently confident young man. After coming out last year, he recorded an It Gets Better video encouraging other LGBTQ youth to look for their support systems and to learn to love themselves. His family were supportive and he drew inspiration from the positive messages of pop superstar and social justice champion Lady Gaga.

It is heartbreaking to see any young person surrender to despair. When someone with as much strength and joy as Jamey succumbs, it sends a very powerful message. Words are weapons, and weapons can kill. Despite the increased awareness about bullying and teen suicide, the problem persists. Violence against the LGBT community is on the rise, so it is unrealistic to believe that verbal and emotional abuse are not a continuing problem.

Fortunately, we have champions who are doing their best to give our youth the tools they need to cope and to thrive. Regular TSM readers may remember the efforts of Zan Christensen and Mark Brill to print an anti-bullying comic book. Fortunately, their project exceeded its funding goal and The Power Within is now available. It’s an amazing work, managing to tell a compelling story about an interesting character while still achieving its advocacy and outreach goals. All of this without coming across as strident or preachy.

The Power Within tells the story of Shannon, a boy starting the eighth grade. It is clear that he had problems during his last year of school, and this year doesn’t start off any better. He is different from his peers in many ways – smaller, artistic, gay (although not out) – and is bullied daily. The authority figures take a sadly typical “you should try harder to fit in” approach to the problem. Shannon copes by imagining himself as a superhero with the power to defeat the bullies, but this survival daydream also increases his isolation.

I won’t spoil the powerful impact of the story by going into more detail, but as a 45-year-old man with bits of a damaged gay 14-year-old still lurking inside him, every panel rang very true. The art is beautiful and perfectly suited to moving the story forward. The plot and dialogue are appropriately simple without being simplistic. In a few short pages, Shannon is a more compelling character than many who have volumes dedicated to them. (Fair warning, this was a keep-the-tissue-box-handy read for me…)

Christensen and Brill have created the perfect message of hope for anyone struggling with not fitting in and suffering for it. Anyone who cares about LGBTQ kids should get their hands on a copy, read it, and share it. As an added bonus, a variety of comic writers and artists (including Gail Simone and Dan Parent, creator of Kevin Keller) have provided some supplemental pages. The book ends with a valuable list of discussion questions and additional resources. Congratulations, Zan and Mike, this comic is an absolute winner.

For more information about The Power Within, including how to order copies for teachers and youth services organizations, please visit Northwest Press.

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