(Editor’s Notebook is an occasional commentary about the state of affairs in the LGBT community.)
How many precious young lives must be lost to suicide before Americans admit that bullying is an epidemic embedded in our culture?
Why haven’t we as the superior species evolved into more compassionate beings who care about our most vulnerable children? Why is it OK, culturally and socially, to pick on others who are perceived to be weaker, or different, or whatever? And who among us have not been subjected to some form of bullying, as a child or as an adult?
Another river of tears is gushing this week, this time in Iowa for 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. who killed himself over the weekend about a month after he came out to his classmates at South O’Brien High School in Paullina, Iowa. Although Kenneth’s coming out appeared to include supportive parents and siblings, the teen's deeply personal process was met with disdain and contempt by his “friends” in school, who turned on him. His family said he was bullied in person and online.
Enough is enough! This behavior must not be tolerated anymore!
See the powerful documentary “Bully” and recommend it to your family and friends. Promote it on Social Media. Talk to people about the horrors of bullying. If you are like me and have been bullied as a child on the playground, share your stories with people about how it impacted your life. In my case, it made me want to stand up to the bullies of our lives, whether to oppose oppression or homophobia, or to fight for the rights of the underdog or the underprivileged. For many years, I was a volunteer at a nonprofit that provides safe homes and support to children who were abused. Get out there and help others!
If you are a young person who is being bullied, please reach out to someone you trust. Suicide is NOT the answer! As someone who saved a loved one after an attempted suicide, as someone who has endured months of therapy to try to understand what happened, I implore you to NOT subject the people you love to suicide. You only spread your pain, rather than solve your problems.
If you or someone you care about needs support, call The Trevor Lifeline at 1-866- 488-7386. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7. Learn more at TheTrevorProject.org.
Other resources for help:
-- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
-- Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: save.org.
-- Suicide Prevention Resource Center: www.sprc.org
-- Every county operates immediate mental health crisis response services. For information, contact your local county human services agency.
Attending the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles
Looking forward to attending the 23rd annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Los Angeles Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites on Saturday. The ceremony always attracts a bevy of celebrities, and Ellen DeGeneres will open the show. Straight ally Jason Mraz, the Grammy Award-winning singer who has a home in San Diego County, will perform.
Other special guests will include Chaz Bono, Betty White, Wendie Malick, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves ("Hot In Cleveland"); Josh Hutcherson ("The Hunger Games"); Jesse Tyler Ferguson ("Modern Family"); Joshua Jackson ("Fringe"); Kate Beckinsale ("Underworld: Awakening"); Kim Wayans ("Pariah"); Molly Shannon ("Casa de mi Padre"); Trevor Donovan ("90210"); Fran Drescher ("Happily Divorced"); Brooke Elliott, Josh Berman ("Drop Dead Diva"); Gilles Marini ("Switched At Birth"); Ali Larter ("The Asset"); Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato ("Becoming Chaz"); Mike Mills ("Beginners"); and decorated Air Force veteran Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach.
To purchase tickets, click HERE.
A laughable misnomer
Why don’t LGBT and progressive groups dream up outlandish names for their causes? The Religious Right is especially clever in naming their homophobic organizations.
Case in point the One Million Moms organization, which has a history of failed boycotts against people or businesses that support equality. This group is a part of the American Family Association, which the Southern Poverty Law Center labels as an anti-gay hate group. A recent web search shows that the group has 46,227 fans on Facebook and 1,346 followers on Twitter – which means that it is 952,427 people shy of truly being One Million Moms.
Another boycott that backfires
The Florida Family Association (see the above note … yep, they are anti-gay) is once against planning to warn folks near Orlando, Fla., about “Gay Day” on June 4 at Walt Disney World. They are trying to raise thousands of dollars to hire a small plane to tow a banner reading: “Warning Gay Day At Disney 6/4.”
I lived in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for many years, and my friends and I often attended the “unofficial” day at Disney World. It was always packed, and there never was any trouble from guests, gay or straight.
The FFA (oh, if they only knew what their acronym often is used for!) campaign only advertises the event and makes it even more popular … another hilarious example of a boycott gone wrong.
Favorite mobile devices
Some things you might not know about SDGLN.
Since our founding in October 2009, SDGLN has developed a sizable following using mobile devices. We have had 1.9 million visits from around the world, and 255,116 of those visits were via mobile devices.
The leaders are Apple iPhone (61,266), Apple iPad (23,027), Apple iPod Touch (4,447), HTC Evo 4G (4,474), SonyEricsson LT15i Xperia Arc (3,712), Motorola DroidX (3,440), HTC ADR6300 Incredible (2,422), Samsung SGH-1897 Galaxy S Captivate (1,841) and Verizon Droid (1,229).
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to (877) 727-5446, ext. 713.