Archive for the ‘gay teens’ Category

>Deaths

October 12, 2010

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It’s one thing to read statistics or opinions on blogs about kids killing themselves.

It’s something altogether different when you put a face to the name and realize that yes, this is a real person who will never know love, will never have a career, will never get to have his or her own family, will never get to pet another cat or dog, will never see a sunrise, will never get to take state boards, will never get to meet a celebrity, will never give a surprise birthday party, will never open a Christmas present from someone special and will never eat an extra piece of red velvet cake even though they don’t need it.

Here are the known LGBT suicides over the past few weeks. There are probably more. There will be more unless attitudes and policies in our country change.

13 year old Asher Brown of Cypress Texas shot himself in the head on Sept. 23, 2010 after enduring constant harassment at school according to his parents. Complaints to the school went unheard. He looks so happy in this picture.

Asher

13 year old Seth Walsh of Tehachapi California died on September 28 from injuries resulting from hanging himself from a tree on September 19. He was tormented and school officials would not address the problem.

Seth

15 year old Justin Aaberg of Anoka, Minnesota died on July 9, 2010 of hanging after being bullied at school.

Justin

He was an accomplished cello player. He wrote and played the background music in this memorial video for him.

At his high school 5 kids have killed themselves in the last year. Three of those are tied to sexual identity issues. That school chooses to “remain neutral” on the subject.

Raymond Chase was 19 years old and was a student at Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island. He hung himself in his dorm room. He had an interest in culinary arts, but will never get to use the skills he was developing.

Raymond

Tyler Clementi was a student at Rutgers and a 2010 Festival of Young Performers Scholarship recipient when he jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River on September 22, after his roommate and another person broadcast webcam footage of Tyler in an intimate moment with another man. He was an intensely devoted musician who was described as sweet and shy.

Tyler

15 year old Billy Lucas of Greensburg, Indiana, hung himself in their barn on September 9 after enduring torment at a school that did nothing. He was called “fag” one too many times.


Billy

Billy loved horses. That he hung himself in the barn around the animals he loved is touching. I’m pretty sure he felt he was loved by his horses, I understand the human animal bond. He was surrounded by love. Here is Billy with one of his horses, Nic.

Billy and Nic

Hate messages have been left on his memorial page.

19 year old Aiyisha Hassan of Southern California took her life in her home on October 5. She was struggling with identity problems. She must have loved this little dog, speaking of the unconditional love our pets give us. They don’t care if we’re lesbian or gay, if we wear a dress, if we cut our hair in an odd way, if we sleep with a guy one week and a girl the next. Animals have a better outlook than many humans.

Aiyisha

Justin Lacey, 18 years old, recently began living as Chloe, a transgender woman, and after struggling with fears of harassment and abuse she shot herself in her Eureka California home on September 24, 2010.

Justin

Her mother was asked if it was hard to accept Chloe. “No, no. It’s hard to accept that she is gone,” she replied crying.

Chloe

Update: On the previous post I mentioned 19 year old Zach Harrington of Norman Oklahoma who killed himself a few days after attending a “toxic” city council meeting on September 28 where hateful individuals degraded the gay community. I watched a video of those proceedings. Part of what I heard was equal to what I and others have described as spiritual terrorism. I guess bullying occurs in places other than schools.

Zach

Will my community of Bessemer do something to protect the kids in our schools before something tragic happens? Will our school board pass an inclusive anti-bullying policy? We will soon find out.

What about the school board in your community?

>Coming out

October 11, 2010

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Coming out as a gay person, or a lesbian, a bisexual, or transgender, is not an event, it’s a process. A series of events, actually, because one must choose whether to share that information again and again and again.

One might be out to friends and not to family. Or out to friends and family and not at work. Or out to friends and family and at work but not at church.

Today is National Coming Out Day. That is a day, according to Wikipedia, for civil awareness for coming out and for discussion of LGBT issues.

It’s also Columbus Day, but that’s a bit controversial since Christopher came over here as what may be called an illegal immigrant and as a result the Native Americans had their land taken away.

So I’ll avoid controversy and write about being gay and coming out.

I came out to a co-worker (an employee of mine actually) 15 years ago on this day, by coincidence. I didn’t know it was National Coming Out Day until the next year. What a relief, to finally be able to say what I had bottled up inside for years. Of course, I knew that this person I told would be OK with it.

But in actuality I had come out a couple of months prior to that when I(figuratively) knelt before God and asked forgiveness for lying to Him and others about my sexuality and for strength as I sought to finally become the person He wanted me to be). That is when the big burden was lifted off my shoulders.

Then I came out again; to my family. At 40 something years of age that was difficult enough. I can’t imagine doing so at 13 or 17 or 20 like kids are doing these days. My hat is off to them and I offer them all the encouragement in the world.

But for some of them, in fact, even for some who do not come out, things are not rosy. Some are harassed. Some are bullied, some think they have have no where to turn, some take their own lives.

Such must have been the case for 19 year old Zach Harrington in Norman Oklahoma, the most recent young gay person to be in the news for taking his own life, reported yesterday.

Yesterday, as vigils were being held, across the country and in Birmingham, to highlight the problem of anti-gay bullying and teen suicide. Read about the Birmingham vigil and view pictures of the speakers here.

So here we are urging people to come out, but with the knowledge that some will put their relationships, their jobs, their lives, in jeopardy.

I admire those brave kids like 16 year old Garrett Hopkins who attends Vestavia Hills High School, where I graduated way back when, who has been a target of bullying at his school, yet bravely attends last night’s candlelight vigil in memory of bullied kids who took their lives and speaks to the media with no apparent reservations.

I’ve been urging kids by telling them “It Gets Better,” and for me it certainly did. Who knows what my life would have been like had I come out at 16 years of age. But at that time in Vestavia there was nothing to come out to. No support groups. No Equality Alabama, no Trevor Project, no cell phones to text my friends, no facebook and no internet and not even a cordless phone where I could get out of the kitchen to talk to someone on the phone. How was I to learn that being gay is OK?

Everyone is in a different situation and each individual must take many factors into account when deciding who to confide in. But as far as confiding in oneself goes, the first very important step, that can, and should, be done by anyone.

Now a word to the parents out there. If you have a child, that child could be gay. “Gay” here means any sexual minority. Go ahead, regardless of the age of your child, and tell yourself, “I will love my son or daughter regardless of who they chose to love or who they are attracted to.”

And let your kids know at a young age that you are accepting of all people and they will feel more comfortable if and when they let you in on the secret they’ve been hiding.

Like most gay people, I knew as a kid that I was somehow different.

Maybe not quite this young, but a couple of years after this picture was taken I knew. I love that shirt by the way, think I could find one in my size? And I realize there’s a little phallic element to the picture with the rocket and all…but I digress.

But even after I went off to college, I still could not admit to myself what I actually knew. Does that make sense? It will to some of you.


I immersed myself in religion, Campus Crusade for Christ to be precise, while submitting to secret urges on the downlow. I was as big a hypocrite as Pastor Eddie Long, I guess. Well, not really. I didn’t preach or speak against homosexuality, I just shared the Four Spiritual Laws.

I only share this information in order to let questioning people of any age know that where ever you are there are steps you can take to gain self confidence and eventually to come out.

And I hope that when you do, it does get better, just as it did for me.

>Western Tribune column November 11, 2009, Gay kids get a break

November 13, 2009

>Western Tribune November 11, 2009

Gay and lesbian teens in our community may finally be getting a break this fall.

Over the past few days several events took place which offer hope to gay youth and their families. Two religion based groups, Focus on the Family and Exodus International returned to Birmingham with their harmful Love Won Out conference, which attempts to coerce parents into forcing their gay and lesbian children into programs whereby which they must conform to their heterosexual parents’ expectations.

Advocacy groups came together to protest and brought in nationally renowned speaker Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out. In addition, a peaceful demonstration was staged prior to and during the conference, with creative signs indicating both the fallacy of the programs and the truth that God loves us all, including Adam and Steve who were there with signs indicating such.
Every medical, psychological, counseling and scientific organization has agreed that sexual orientation is inherent and cannot be changed. Further research shows that efforts to do so are harmful and may put a teen at higher risk for depression and can lead to increased chances of homelessness, drug dependency and even suicide.

Studies show that up to forty percent of homeless teens are gay. Some are forced out of their home when their parents learn they are gay. Others leave because they sense rejection, knowing that who they are is not acceptable to those they expect love from.

Much publicity was created because of the conference and protest, and hopefully kids and parents were enlightened and realized there is an alternative called loving your child just as he or she is. Our hearts broke as we saw obviously upset children being driven to the conference, certainly against their will.

(Go here to read about what happened inside the ex-gay conference.)

The other occurrence of note was the recent enactment of the Harassment Prevention Act which will require local school boards to develop anti-bullying policies. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 20 year olds, and legislators took this into consideration in passing this statute.

The Birmingham Board of Education has already passed an inclusive policy that covers sexual orientation and gender identity as well as race and other characteristics often cited when teasing and hazing others.

The gay and lesbian students at Davis Middle School and Jess Lanier High School (and yes, they are there), would benefit from an inclusive policy.

Some important developments, as every child deserves acceptance at home and protection at school.

Cheyenne Jackson

April 3, 2008

Now I really want to see Xanadu. Cheyenne stars as the leading man… struggling artist Sonny Malone in the Olivia Newton John remembrance. He’s part Native American and 100% handsome. He spoke about his gayness in The Advocate and his story, of coming out to his family at 19, of getting turned on by Popeye and Brutus bondage at 7, and of being in a loving and understanding relationship for 9 years is nothing but sweet and uplifting.

Of course he went through what we all do, whether we come out at 7 or 19 or 40, but of particular merit is the importance that celebrity or well known role models hold for young gay people. One teenager asked for a picture, and later clutched it as he told his parents he was gay “because it gave him strength.” He even loaned the picture to a friend a couple of weeks later when he coming out.

I might even watch the Tony’s this year…well, if he’s nominated.

At least click on the link and read the first of the article. What he says about Popeye will crack you up.

I probably won’t make it to New York to see Xanadu, but I did see this on Thanksgiving Day and did leave the oven unattended for a few minutes:

Here is Cheyenne’s web site Cheyenne Jackson

My other connection (yeah right, like that was one) to Xanadu is:

In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfoldingsunny spots of greenery.

The link takes you to the entire poem. I wrote a term paper in high school about Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s drug use and how it influenced his poetry.

Nice pictures (of flowers and such) are due Friday.

>Cheyenne Jackson

April 3, 2008

>Now I really want to see Xanadu. Cheyenne stars as the leading man… struggling artist Sonny Malone in the Olivia Newton John remembrance. He’s part Native American and 100% handsome. He spoke about his gayness in The Advocate and his story, of coming out to his family at 19, of getting turned on by Popeye and Brutus bondage at 7, and of being in a loving and understanding relationship for 9 years is nothing but sweet and uplifting.

Of course he went through what we all do, whether we come out at 7 or 19 or 40, but of particular merit is the importance that celebrity or well known role models hold for young gay people. One teenager asked for a picture, and later clutched it as he told his parents he was gay “because it gave him strength.” He even loaned the picture to a friend a couple of weeks later when he coming out.

I might even watch the Tony’s this year…well, if he’s nominated.

At least click on the link and read the first of the article. What he says about Popeye will crack you up.

I probably won’t make it to New York to see Xanadu, but I did see this on Thanksgiving Day and did leave the oven unattended for a few minutes:

Here is Cheyenne’s web site Cheyenne Jackson

My other connection (yeah right, like that was one) to Xanadu is:

In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfoldingsunny spots of greenery.

The link takes you to the entire poem. I wrote a term paper in high school about Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s drug use and how it influenced his poetry.

Nice pictures (of flowers and such) are due Friday.