Tag Archives: Trevor Project

Social Workers Helping the Mormon Church to Embrace the LGBT Community

15 Sep
Friend or Foe ?

Friend or Foe ?

My dear friend and LGBTQ ally, Jennifer Carey inspired me to write this blog article and gave me permission to share a part of her narrative.  Jennifer grew up in the Mormon church and she has witnessed first hand:

I have witnessed myself the public and familial shaming and ostracizing of gay children, siblings, friends.

I have been friends with Jennifer for four years now and she is an amazing and humble ally for the LGBTQ community. As Jennifer pointed out to me, “One of the great internal debates of the church right now is its attitude towards homosexuals.”

Helping the Mormon Church look at and reflect upon its attitude toward the LGBTQ community is Dr. Caitlin Ryan, a medical social worker and self-identified lesbian. Ryan recalls her disappointment and despair with the passage of Prop 8 as she witnessed how the Mormon Church revealed itself as the wealthy, homophobic political and machine it is.  The Mormon Church wielded so much political power and economic power that it had a huge impact on the passing of Prop 8.

Dr. Ryan connected with Dr. Robert Rees, a Mormon and a religion professor, to address the homophobia within the church. I would say this is a lot to unpack, because it means also unpacking hundreds of years of established misogyny. Now in 2014, six years after Prop 8, Rees is working with Mormon families at ways to embrace LGBTQ family members.  Rees is working with Ryan’s Family Acceptance Project. Sadly, too many Mormons found themselves in the untenable position of feeling that they have to either reject their family members or reject their faith.

While I am not a person of “faith,” I do realize that the LGBTQ community needs the support of religious communities, especially of those religions that have done great harm to the LGBTQ community.  The Public Religions Research Institute found that the Mormon Church was second only to the Catholic Church in its hostility towards the LGBTQ community.

We clearly have a long way to go regarding addressing homophobia, which is enixtricably tied to misogyny.  I am hopeful that the work of Dr. Ryan and Dr. Rees will help move conversations that create more space for different people.  If you know of any LGBTQ person that is expressing suicidal thoughts or feelings please contact the Trevor Project.

LGBT History Month 2013: Estelle

12 Jun


A friend of mine, whom I shall call Estelle, follows my blog and was elated to see that I was celebrating LGBT History Month.  I have known Estelle for over two years now, but never knew that she had tried to commit suicide. As an out lesbian and sensitive soul, she was feeling crushed by the negative messages all around her.

Estelle relayed this story to me and asked that I keep her real identity in confidence, but she hopes, as do I, that her story will be of help to other middle aged people as they embrace their sexual orientation with pride and not shame.  Estelle has children and parents who are now very supportive, but she does not want them to know that the pressures of society caused her suicide attempt.


Before I moved to Portland I was walking out the door with a garden hose in my hand, Was headed down to the lake to kill myself. I stopped because my friend Lana called me as I was walking out the door. I stopped to talk to her and before I knew it was 45 minutes later. And I had forgotten why I was holding a garden hose.
After living in Portland for a couple of years. I went back to that small town and stopped by to see her. I told her the story and we just sobbed.

Now I know I am suppose to be here–to be alive…

I can’t even imagine this world with out Estelle.  She has dedicated her life to helping other LGBT people and she models pride in being who she is: a wonderful and beautiful lesbian. Sadly, there are too many LGBT folk who do commit suicide.  Again, I would love to see a Make It Get Better Campaign, rather than It Gets Better Campaign.  We need to put the onus on the dominant culture, which means making laws and policies that create a level playing field, which we are far from having. Estelle asked that the following link be included.  Thank you, Estelle!  If you, or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please contact the Trevor Project.

Hero of the Week Award: November 30, Thomas Ricks

30 Nov

Hero of the Week

It is a real pleasure to celebrate a journalist who stands up for truth and integrity in the media. Thomas Ricks is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and expert on defense issues. He has written a number of books on military history and strategy; as he tours with his most recent book, many news programs have asked him on to comment about the attack on the Benghazi consulate.

Earlier this week he appeared on FAUX news and was asked about the attacks on U.N. ambassador Susan Rice for her comments about Benghazi right after it happened. He replied, “I think that Benghazi generally was hyped by this network especially.” The stunned anchor asked him how he could consider four deaths hype, and got a strong reply.

How many security contractors died in Iraq, do you know? … No, nobody does, because nobody cared. We know that several hundred died, but there was never an official count done, of security contractors dead in Iraq. So when I see this focus on what was essentially a small fire fight, I think number one, I’ve covered a lot of fire fights, it’s impossible to figure out what happens in them sometimes. And second, I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican party.

With that last line, the anchor suddenly thanked and dismissed Ricks, less than halfway into the interview’s allotted time. Poor old sad old Fox doesn’t like to hear the truth. What’s more, their VP in charge of news, Michael Clemente, immediately told the Hollywood Reporter that Ricks apologized for his comments. Not so fast! says Ricks.

Clemente is making it up, and it is sloppy of Hollywood Reporter to not ask him for specifics (what exactly am I alleged to have said?) and also to seek a response from me. Why is Fox doing this? Because their MO is that when the facts aren’t on their side, they attack the person.

Nothing could be more true. Thanks for standing up for truth and calling out media bias, Mr. Ricks.

Honorable mention goes to progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller for admitting and correcting her own error. Wanting to raise money for the needy over the holidays, Miller partnered with an organization for her listeners to donate to. Sadly, she didn’t do her research and chose the homophobic horrors at the Salvation Army. When her listeners called her on the mistake, she quickly fixed it. She devoted a segment of her show to describe the SA’s bigotry, cancelled the partnership, and set up a more progressive donation site for the rest of the season. More than that, she matched the $1500 already given with a donation to the Trevor Project out of her own pocket. Nicely done!

Hero of the Week Award: July 8

8 Jul

Hero of the Week

Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe was honored by the Trevor Project for his work in preventing LGBT teen suicides. TSM just recently celebrated Dumbledore during LGBT History Month and it is now such a pleasure to honor Radcliffe with the HWA.  Radcliffe has consistently used his celebrity to help with issues around social justice for the LGBT community.  Upon receiving the award from the Trevor Project, Radcliffe said:

The fact that I’m able to help with something like this makes me very, very proud. It’s a huge honor, and it’s lovely of them to give it to me. I’ll say it again later, but the real heroes are the people who are staffing those call centers and picking up the phones saving lives every single day.

Bravo, Daniel Radcliffe.  We all look forward to the many ways you will continue to contribute to making the world a better place for all.

The Often Overlooked “T” in LGBTQ: Interview with Daphiny

9 Jun

Daphiny is a 47 year old writer, born during the Johnson Administration.  Daphiny was kind enough to be interviewed after commenting on the first interview in this series.  She made it clear that she, too, is working to make the world a better place, and thus making her a great fit for TSM. Her parents passed away, but she does have seven half brothers and four half sisters.  Daphiny does not identify with any organized religion.  Daphiny identifies as “Non-Op Transsexual.”  She has a long time partner of ten years. Daphiny lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.  She is the author of Bourbon Street Stripper to New Orleans Lady!  I want to thank Daphiny for this interview and for the courage in sharing her story with TSM.  My hope is that this collection of interviews will help a younger generation find their voice and blossom in their gender identity.  Here is Daphiny’s story.

What age were you aware of feeling different?

As far back as I can remember, around the time I was in Kindergarten or Pre-School, I can remember wanting to be with the girls so bad, but my teacher didn’t approve and put me with the boys, each sex had a side of the classroom.  Of course I threw what I’m sure what would be called a tantrum.

What age did you decide to take action?

13, that’s when I told my mother, it didn’t go over well, I packed my clothes and moved to Key West, Florida.  At the time we were living in Key Largo, Florida we moved down there when I was probably in 2nd grade.   We moved down from Shelbyville, Indiana. A small town outside of Indianapolis,  Indiana .

What do we need to do to be more supportive of our transgender brothers and sisters? 

The  powerhouses of our community need to make an effort to include Transgendered individuals in all their decision making.  I am using Transgendered to include us all, and there are as many varying degrees of being Transgendered as there are snowflakes in a winters sky.  Non-Op, Transsexual, Transvestite , Cross-dresser, Drag queens and there are even Lesbian versions each one I mentioned too.  I have had the pleasure in my 33 years of living full time 24 hours a day as Daphiny of meeting one or more of them all.  I had my name and gender identifier changed when I was around 20 or so legally in California so I could work and I knew I was never going back, but wasn’t sure even then what type of Transgender I was. I have always believed the worse thing a Tg can do is rush into any surgeries especially the SRS.  We all change with time and that’s something you cant take back and to me its best to wait a little bit and be absolutely sure, than to stumble forward and find a few years down the road you made a mistake.  Some can pass in society without any problems, but some can’t, and whether you’ve got a pu@@y or not, people wont care and are very cruel..  I was very lucky, I always passed, but that was the only reason, I was lucky ……….

Thank you, Daphiny for sharing part of your story and your thoughts.  If anyone has questions or needs resources, please email me or contact TransActive.  If you are in desperate need, please contact the Trevor Project.

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe): LGBT Ally

15 Mar

Good Human Being

It is true. I am such a huge fan of the Harry Potter books. I have read all of them at least once.  I’ve always thought Daniel Radcliffe did a great job as Harry Potter, but today I’m just celebrating what a wonderful human being he is and how he is using his celebrity for social justice.  In the past year he has become involved with the Trevor Project, the organization that is working to try and prevent LGBT teen suicides. In a recent interview with Katie Couric, Radcliffe said:

And the idea that somebody would be victimized because of it, is … is so horrendous and … the fact that I could actually, I’m in a position to have a voice that’s heard on something like that, or at least draw attention to that, is…I feel very fortunate to be able to do so.

How grateful I am to be able to publish something good about an ally to the LGBT community after the very distasteful article I had to publish about the recent teen in Ohio that took his life because of being bullied. Click here to see the full article about Radcliffe.

Awarness and Prevention Of Suicide Among Gay Teens

27 Jan

As many of you know, I am currently designing a curriculum for public schools to use to educate teachers around issues of bullying, specifically bullying directed towards the LGBT community. I want to thank  my friend Jeffery Equality Newman for sharing this resource and for giving helpful hints for parents regarding bullying. If you have been following this blog, you know much of it has been dedicated to uniting and stopping the needless deaths of LGBT youth. Again, I would also like to put a plug in for the Trevor Project. Click here to see Jeffery’s link.

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