ronkempmusic

Let's work together against bullying and help bring the teen suicide rate down to zero

Posts Tagged ‘lgbt

For World AIDS Day, A Troubling Report

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I heard this report yesterday on the all-news radio station in my area, and it caught my attention.  With World AIDS Day coming up on December 1st, some sobering statistics were announced that I think we need to take heed to.  The first thing that grabbed my attention was this:

“More than half of young people infected with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. DON’T know they’re infected.”

Young people, between 13-24, account for more than 1/4 of all new infections.  If there are 50,000 new infections per year, which is what they’re reporting, that means that roughly 12,500 of those new cases are young males between the ages of 13-24.  That’s not a good statistic.  That means that we’re failing in educating young people on HIV/AIDS prevention.  How can that even be possible with a disease that has been around since the early 1980s?

According to Julie Steenhuysen, Health and Science Correspondent for Reuters, that figure of 1/4 being young males stems from high infection rates amongst LGBT young people, African-American, and, Latino males.  What makes this problematic is that a lot of these young people report that they “Haven’t really learned much about how to protect [themselves] against infection.”  And, again, the question, “how is this even possible?”, comes into play.

And, of course, there are some who report being subjected to a lot of shame because of their sexuality and the stigma attached to being LGBT.  Now, the picture becomes a bit clearer.  Shame and stigma.  That goes back to a huge cultural problem we’re facing in today’s society as it pertains to the LGBT community.  This is the year 2012.  There is no way we should still be dealing with prejudices and bigotry when it comes to something as intrinsic to our being as our sexuality.  Worse, here’s more evidence of the life-threatening harm that it’s causing.

When asked what she thought needed to be done to reverse this trend, Julie Steenhuysen added this:

Communicating to the community how important it is to support young people, no matter where they are [with their sexuality] so that they can at least stay safe. That could mean…to train leaders who are not LGBT, perhaps in the faith community and entertainers to be more sensitive to stigma, and help establish a healthy environment for these young men in which to grow and to learn about their own sexuality.

I was a young, gay man when the HIV/AIDS epidemic exploded on the scene back in the early 1980s.  Worse, I lived in San Francisco during that time.  “Worse” because a.) I literally watched a least one friend die from this epidemic on a daily basis; and, b.) it was easily the most frightening time of my life.  Being a young, virile gay man, myself, at the time, of course I was sexually active as I searched for my Mr. Right.  And, at one point, I even resigned myself to the “reality” of “well, if all of my friends are infected, I must obviously be infected as well.”  By the grace of God, that was not the case.  And, once I got myself tested and learned that I’d been spared of this devastating disease, I changed everything about how I lived my life.  I educated myself.  Educating oneself was very easy then, pre-Internet days; it’s much easier today because of the Internet.  And, education is 100% effective.

Gone are the days when we can feel invincible and just do everything, sexually, we want to do.  That half of these young people didn’t even know they were infected is all the proof you need.  The only foolproof way of avoiding infection is protection.  Yes, I know that there will be fundamentalists who will argue that abstinence is the only true foolproof way of avoiding infection.  But, perhaps, being more in tune with the reality that these young people are going to have sex, protection is key.  Education has to be a key component in protecting oneself from contracting HIV/AIDS.  It’s that simple.  It’s 2012.  There’s no way there should be anyone, anyone!, who doesn’t have access to all of the education necessary to prevent numbers like this report reveals from happening.

December 1st, as we remember those who have already died from this epidemic, we must also re-energize our efforts to prevent it from continuing to spread.  That’s going to take acceptance.  That’s going to take communication.  That’s going to take education.

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THIS Is What We’re Up Against!

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By now, I’m sure that many of those reading this blog, or on the facebook blog page, have read the story of the North Carolina maniac, disguised as a pastor, who told his congregation to physical abuse their young children if they thought they were beginning to show homosexual tendencies.  That’s right!  In his words, “I give you a special dispensation this morning to…” crack the perceived limp wrists of their very young boy if they thought he was showing homosexual tendencies.  “Man up”.  He also urged them to PUNCH the boy.

I have to pause for a moment to regain my composure and dignity.

What’s worse is the “congregation” he was delivering the “sermon” to were laughing, cheering, and offering their “amen” to the words of this barbarian.    I’m guessing that advocating the harm of a child isn’t a crime in North Carolina.  Or, is that ok “as long as it’s done for religious, political, or philosophical beliefs.”?

My mind wants to go back to the person who “Anonymously” posted a comment last month to one of the blog entries who said that it was “absolutely absurd” to blame religious and political “leaders” for what’s going on in this country, and around the world, today when it comes to the LGBT community and, in particular, the LGBT youth.  Those words don’t go away.  I seeth every time they replay in my mind.

It doesn’t get any clearer than this:  what we’re witnessing right now in this country is an all-out war against the LGBT community.  Keep in mind, as well, that there was also recent a “DJ”, DJ Dominic Dieter, who went on record as telling a father that he should get one of his friends to screw his lesbian daughter straight.  For a nation so obsessed with terrorism, and the threat thereof (and, rightfully so), it’s interesting that groups who publicly wage war against a segment of our population aren’t considered domestic terrorists.  To be fair, I will add that a number of these maniacs are, in fact, listed as hate groups.  Wouldn’t you, as a Christian, be just a little leery about going to a church that is listed as a hate group?  Well, yes, of course you would.  That is, of course, unless your mind is as warped as those who lead these “churches”.

Here’s the issue in plain black and white:  we are in the fight of our lives, as a community, right here and right now.  At stake is our freedom, as a community, as “they” systematically attempt to erase all gains that have been made over the past few years as it pertains to marriage equality and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  WORSE, what’s at stake is the very lives of the LGBT teens from coast-to-coast and border-to-border as we see one political and/or religious “leader” after another all but say “we don’t care that they’re killing themselves.  If they’d stop being LGBT, they’d feel better about themselves and wouldn’t commit suicide.”  We need to let them know that this is 100% unacceptable.  From this constant attack, led by highly visible “leaders” comes the mentality of the young ones that it’s okay, and even expected of them, to bully those they perceive to be LGBT.  


I get a little emotional about this.

This just shows what we’re up against.  It shows that we need to fight harder, with even more conviction, and we need every single available voice to speak up loudly and clearly.  The message needs to be crystal clear:  we are NOT second-class citizens; we are NOT mistakes; we ARE equal in every sense of the word; and, God’s opinion of me and my life is between me and God.  Being gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender has NOTHING to do with the quality of our character.  We are PEOPLE, first and foremost.


Spread the word.  Every voice is needed…right now!

She’s Alive: Victoria Tristan Roxas Alora

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The same cousin who alerted us, two nights ago, that 15-year-old Victoria Tristan Roxas Alora had committed suicide after being constantly bullied at school, sent this message last night:

Subject: THANK GOD! Plz read!
Sent: Today 8:52 PM
Message: Thank you to all who showd concern towards my cousin.
Last night my cousin was claimed dead by a doctor,
I got a call this morning…
Last night my cousin was found breathing. I dont believe in god but if there is one THANK THE LORD!
Tristan is in a coma though.
I dont know what happened but she is better somewhat.
I was in awe nd found this very unbelievable.
I dontt evn no wut to say.
All i can say is thank yu all for the prayers and the help.
I really appreciate it nd when Tristan is better Ill have her msg you guys.
She is a living miracle.
When she is better I will make sure she knows NEVER to try it again.
Thank you all again.
I REALLY appreciated the support.

Miracles DO happen!!!  This is tremendous news for those who care about Tristan.  However, she is still in a coma, so we have to continue to send her lots and lots of positive vibes in hope that she pulls through completely.

There’s still the issue of being bullied the the point where she felt it necessary to go to this drastic measure in the first place.  It will be very interesting to see what steps, if any, are taken to reconcile what happened to Tristan.  The fact that she named names in her post should go a very long way.  The fact that no one of authority came to her aid should weigh just as heavily.  I, for one, want to see people held accountable for this.  She didn’t just wake up Tuesday morning and decide that this was what she wanted to do.  She was pushed to do this.  Now, there needs to be accountability.  I will be watching this very closely.  Watch for updates as they become available.

Thinking that she was not going to be alive after writing it, Tristan revealed graphic details about who had done what to her.  That’s huge!!    There’s documentation, with names, and with full description of what happened to her.  There’s no way this gets swept under the rug.  Not now.  Now, there’s someone who can put a face on what almost happened and tell a first-hand account of what led her to that point.  With names!!

In the meantime, now is also the time to send out all of the positive vibes, prayers (for those who are religiously inclined), and other good wishes to Tristan.  She’s still here with us.  Now, she needs a full recovery.  With tomorrow being the National Day of Silence, in an effort to bring attention to the national issue of harassment and bullying (particularly for LGBT teens), take time out to focus on Tristan.  She needs it.

Playing Politics with Teens’ Lives

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An unidentified 15-year-old girl has succumbed to bullying in Livingston County, KY.  Her suicide brought the number of teens in Livingston County who have committed suicide to 3 in the past 5 months.  Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers recently struck down a bill that would’ve strengthened the anti-bullying laws there and could’ve saved her life.

Parents in Kentucky are picketing for zero-tolerance for bullying.  I applaud them.  I also think it’s time to get very serious with our political machine and let them know that their politics are costing lives.  I can’t put it any clearer than that.

Following the suicide of a 13-year-old due to bullying in October 2011, a 14-year-old girl testified before the House in an effort to get the bill passed that would provide greater protection for all students.  Sadly, however, Rep. Sam Waide (R) had this to say about why the bill was struck down:

House Republicans …blocked passage of the law on grounds it would place “gay rights in our schools,”

I’m of reasonable intelligence, with better-than-average reading comprehension skills.  What they said was that it’s more important to uphold their own anti-gay beliefs than it is to pass measures that will save lives!  HOW is that possible?  How is it that we’re allowing our political “leaders” to place their beliefs over human lives?  And, this isn’t exclusive to Kentucky.

  • Stacey Campfield, Tennessee, is still trying to pass legislation in Tennessee essentially disregards the existence of LGBT teens.  Worse, he wants to pass legislation that will sanction the bullying of LGBT teens.
  • There’s legislation in place right now, awaiting passage, in several other states that will also sanction the bullying of LGBT teens.  To clarify, the language of these bills basically says that it’s ok to bully an LGBT teen as long as it’s done for “religious, political, or philosophical reasons.”
  • And, we can never forget the disaster of Anoka-Hennepin.  The culture of hatred and intolerance towards the LGBT community there created by Michele Bachmann and her religious, ultra-conservative followers created what amounted to an outbreak of LGBT teen suicide in her district.

These are just a few of the extreme cases that we know about.  Whereas these three instances are bad enough, (and, make no mistake:  they are atrocious!), you can rest assured that there are more around the country.

Recently, one member of the facebook blog page voiced his concern that I was “bashing” the Republican Party on the page in the blog posts.  I’m all about equality for all members of our society.  One party tends to be for equality for all people; one party tends to want certain groups of people to, well, disappear.  Do your own math.  It really isn’t that hard to figure out.  That’s not bashing; that’s just reality.  And, trying to spin it any other way is as reckless and dangerous as their actions.  Period.

When protecting one’s political and/or religious beliefs become more important than protecting the lives of the people they were elected (read: hired) to protect, especially when said people are teens, it’s time for them to find new occupations.  Clearly, they don’t understand their job description of public servant.

Meanwhile we, the concerned and compassionate citizens, can afford to wait no longer.  Far, far too many lives are being lost, friends and families being destroyed, to continue to sit back and let this continue.  It doesn’t matter if “they” agree or disagree with one’s sexual orientation.  When “they” are willing to pass legislation that is proven will cause great harm to or, in this case, block legislation that will protect all of their citizens rather than just the ones “they” approve of, it’s time for “them” to go.  It’s that simple.  A life is a life, gay or straight.  They don’t get to play God and choose who gets to live and who doesn’t.  And, while on that subject, the argument of “it’s against God’s will…”?  Yeah, save that.  In that same Bible that “they” use to bash people, it also says that only God can judge.  If a person’s sexual orientation is truly against God’s will, let them and God deal with it on Judgement Day.

Daniel Zamudio, 24, Beaten to Death Because of Sexuality

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I was just asked, on my facebook blog page “why all the gay posts?”  The fact of the matter is that there can’t be enough good news, “normalized” posts and stories about the LGBT community.  Not at this point in time.  There are far too many people, in this country and around the world, who would like nothing better than to see us disappear.  Some of them would even resort to violence to achieve their goal.  Such was the case with 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio of Chile.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 3rd, Daniel was brutally attacked by a group of neo-Nazis, ranging in age from 18-25, simply because of his sexual orientation.  He sustained serious and irreversible brain damage during the attack and lied in a drug-induced coma for 3 weeks.  Tuesday night, Daniel Zamudio, succumbed to his injuries.

Chilean police have the 4 men who are allegedly responsible for this heinous crime in custody.  The level of hatred directed at Daniel was astonishing.  Amongst other things, they carved swastikas into his flesh.  Just because he was gay!!

“Why all the gay posts?”  Because, madness like this must end!  Because, hating someone on such a deep level, simply because of their sexuality!, that you’re willing to mutilate them is a symptom of a contagion that’s affecting the entire globe.  Because, people who are LGBT deserve to live a rich, full, and happy life just as much as their non-LGBT counterparts.  With so many people standing at the ready to humiliate and shame them, to discriminate against and minimize their worth as a human being, to inflict emotional and/or physical harm on them, sometimes to the point where it costs them their lives, I’m going to be on the front line every single day letting them – US!!! – know that we are second-class citizens to no one!

Daniel Zamudio’s life should not have ended the way it did.  NO human being should ever have to endure that level of hatred and intolerance.  Ever.  Gay, straight, black, Jewish, or whatever.  It is not okay with me to know that we live in a world where what I do in the privacy of my own home, with someone I love, can get me killed!  It shouldn’t be okay with anyone.  Yet, it happens.  Worse, I live in a country where we have politicians working to pass laws that condones and encourages this level of brutality against the LGBT community.  And, it will continue to happen as long as people sit on the sidelines, shake their heads, and say their dutiful “that’s terrible” or “this has to stop” rather than get involved, at some level!, in bringing about a difference.

Daniel, the world mourns you.  May you rest in peace.

Written by Ron Kemp

March 28, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Ignoring It Doesn’t Make it Go Away

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I read story after story, comment after comment about how some teen was bullied, they report the incident to the proper authorities, only to have it treated as it’s a non-issue.  Too many suicides have resulted from this.

In one high-profile case recently, a spokesman from the local Sheriff’s department went on record as saying that despite media and online reports of the teen’s suicide being a result of bullying, their “investigation” concluded that “that was not the case”.  Yet, my own personal contact with someone very close to the family and the situation told me exactly the opposite.  And, of course, it was later made know that bullying was, indeed, at the root of the suicide.  This wasn’t the first instance.  In the trailer for the controversial, and very necessary, movie, “Bully”, a teacher foolishly goes on camera to say that she’d “ridden on that bus” where a young boy was allegedly bullied and the kids “…were as good as gold”.  Ultimately, this boy committed suicide because of the bullying.

Sometimes, in some cases of bullying against LGBT teens, the victim is blamed for the bullying!!  In the case of one high-profile LGBT teen suicide from a couple years ago, the parents were told that if their son didn’t act [gay], he wouldn’t get bullied.  How is THAT acceptable?  That’s not “not taking bullying seriously”, that’s turning a blind eye to what’s going on.  Worse, that’s essentially sanctioning the violence because this boy was simple being himself.  The sad end result was him taking matters into his own hands and ending his life.  

On my facebook blog page, read comment after comment from real-life people who were bullied, went to the authorities, and nothing was done about it.

I was bullied in school for being “different”,”odd”, and my school did nothing about it. Often, they ignored it cuz the kids who did bully me were kids of pta and parents who supported and gave alot of money to the school. My dad fought hard to get me help because other stuff was going on due to bullying, like my academics. I was not sent to a private charter school till I was a junior in high school, and that was due to case workers and an advocate, because i tried to commit suicide more then 3 times in less then 2 yrs. While being at that special school, they (the school) found out I have autism. Had the school I attended prior would have taken the time to listen to my father, I would of been put in the right classrooms and would have gotten the help I needed from day 1. Even when I was in 9th and 10th grade, people where horrible to me. I wonder, now that we are adults, how they would feel if they found out they bullied a girl with disabilities to the point of trying suicide.  I wonder how they would feel, especially if they had kids…bullying needs to stop on all levels.  I just wanted to share my story.

That’s one of the comments left recently on my facebook blog page.  This is but one example.  Unfortunately, there are more.

Problem with schools, I’m a senior in high school, and in all my years in middle school (6-8) I was bullied and fighting back each year leading me to get kicked off to a new school each year….kinda sucks how “they who purposely care” really don’t…..well until until you’re pushed too far.

“Until you’re pushed too far” is 10 steps too late.  Bullying needs to be taken seriously, on all levels:  not only against LGBT teens, but against anyone who’s perceived different, anyone who doesn’t “fit in”.  School officials, elected officials, adults in general!, all need to be re-educated.  And, part of that re-education process needs to be making them acutely aware that ignoring the bullying issue doesn’t make it away.

Passing the Torch

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In any war, the battle is essentially being fought for the generations to follow:  for our children.  And, their children.  Warriors lay their lives on the line so that their kids, their kids kids, can have a better, safer, happier life.  The “warriors” of Stonewall fought for their “kids”, the generation of young LGBT kids coming behind them.  And, behind them.  I’m so glad they did.  See, I’m part of the generation they were fighting for.

I remember Stonewall being in the news.  I was 12.  I knew, instinctively, that what was going on in the newspaper (life before the Internet was vastly different!) was good.  By that time in my life, I was fully aware that I was a gay teen and had already had my first boyfriend.  Seeing them lay their lives on the line against an establishment that hated them touched me in an indescribable place.  I knew.

The war we’re fighting today is for the liberty, justice, and equality for our LGBT youth of today.  We’re fighting for their freedom to live happily without a government or religious body that sanctions their being attacked, both emotionally and physically.  We’re fighting for their freedom to marry the one they love, just as their straight counterparts will do.  We’re fighting for equality, for ourselves as well as for them.

And, we’re passing the torch.

Because of the Internet, there’s a “right-now-ness” that we didn’t have in generations gone by.  We can, and do, connect with people all around this massive globe at the click of the “send” button.  And, as a result, there’s a movement going on right now that is going to change the world as we know it.  A paradigm shift.  Yes, we the children of Stonewall are paving the way.  However, the torch is also being passed to some very strong, very dedicated young leaders.  And, they need to be recognized for the work they’re doing:

  • Christi O’Connor contacted me about a month ago about the Monster March Against Bullying.  The goal is for at least 10,000 LGBT teens to march to the step of San Francisco’s City Hall in an effort to compel their leaders that “It HAS TO Get Better”.  The Rodemeyers will be there.  Jonah Mowry and his family will be there.  That’s powerful stuff.  And, all of this was organized by TEENS!!  On her wall, Christi posted this:

“Hi Everyone.The good news is we have more wonderful content, new partners and teens’ videos we hadn’t anticipated this week. The down news is it has delayed our launch of our www.themonstermarch.com site until MONDAY. We’ll remind everyone to go to it Monday. So sorry for the delay. Big announcements coming on the site!”

The official website goes up on Monday.  Looking forward to checking that out.  Looking forward even more to October and their Monster March!!

  • While not at teen, at 23, Mark Blane is still young enough to be considered part of the youth movement.  This very talented director/playwright/activist is putting his best effort into making a difference.  On June 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, the play, which Mark wrote and directed, “The Rock and The Ripe” will go into production in Chicago.  The play is about “the bullied and bruised Gay Youth of America”.  There’s also a book by the same title.  But, most importantly, Mark has a fundraiser page in place in an attempt to take this provocative and important play national.  This very compelling video makes you understand what’s at stake.
  • And, then there’s 18-year-old Brett Simpson.  I had seen this video response floating around for a while but, quite frankly, didn’t watch it because I’d grown weary of the “flash-card messages”.  Eventually, of course, I gave in and watched it. (it kept popping up here and there, so I figured there had to be something to it.  I was right.)  Watching that video changed my life.  Here was this handsome 18-year-old who, himself, had been badly bullied!, reaching out to other teens who were in crisis!  He opened his life to the world of LGBT teens, giving almost all of his personal information, and told them “I’m always here for you”.  That, alone, made my eyes water.  Refusing to be “the victim”, Brett instead stood strong and reached out.  And, the teens have been responding!!!  As an example, this message was just posted to his wall:  Zachary Smith: “Brett, this is amazing. I know you can do great things for the future of this country. It would be wonderful to meet you someday. Also, make sure you save this somewhere, because coming from someone who wrote something similar about a long battle with learning disabilities, personal written pieces such as this one are very appealing to higher learning institutions, if that’s what you plan on doing in the future.”  He has quite a following in his facebook community, Click “Like” if You Support the LGBT Questioning Community.  I’ve been so impressed with the work Brett’s doing, I made him an administrator on my facebook blog page.  And, he’s done great there, as well.

  • As a testimony to the impact Brett is having on the young, up-and-coming LGBT teens, this video was made by a 14-year-old LGBT youth named John.  The video is stunning, to say the least.  And, to think that a 14-year-old produced it just warms the heart.  The message is clear and, coming from someone who is in the age group most affected by the bullying against LGBT teens in this country, and around the world!, it’s extremely powerful.  If the readers of this blog post click no other link herein, do check out this video.

Obviously, there are more teens around who are doing some great things, like Daria, Amber, and Alexis in Indiana who have their own anti-bullying page.  And, they’re only in middle school!!!  I could probably dedicate an entire week, at least!, recognizing the efforts being undertaken by our youth, gay and straight alike, as they take matters into their own hands in attempt to make their world a better place.  This is just a few of them.

The world truly is changing, right before our eyes.  And, it’s changing for the better.  Most importantly, the youth-led movement is really getting traction and making a difference.  It makes us older warriors feel good to know that the torch is being passed to such capable hands.

The Rock & The Ripe

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I just spent a couple hours going over this project.  Going over this project, familiarizing myself with it, caused me to go back and review some of the videos and stories about people like Phillip Parker, Jamey Rodemeyer, Ashlynn Conner, Seth Walsh, Jamie Hubley.  The list is sickeningly long.  Then, I cried.  With every different face I saw, I cried.  Then, I got mad.

I watched videos that reminded me just how important this all is because there are actually people, and I mean high-profile people, working just as hard to minimize or even eradicate everything we’re doing.  To them, bullying isn’t a problem; LGBT teens shouldn’t have “special protection”; LGBT teens bring their problems on themselves by being out.  Thank the God of your understanding that we outnumber them.

I named this blog Enough is Enough for a very specific and obvious reason.  Our society has been plagued long enough by narrow-mindedness, ruled too long by a “moral majority” (which , by the way, they’re neither) who feel that everyone should live by THEIR standards or be damned.  And, in the cross hairs are struggling, emotionally fragile LGBT teens.  And, the result is far too often…suicide.  Enough TRULY is enough.

In watching the video promoting The Rock & The Ripe, one segment stopped me in my tracks.  I watched it repeatedly.

So, don’t be f*cking shocked and wonder where all these bullies are coming from that are torturing young kids and are driving them to kill themselves because they’re different.  They learned it from watching you.

That’s directed at every politician who continues to attempt to pass legislation that minimizes LGBT teens; that’s directed at every teacher who turns a blind eye at the bullying of an LGBT teen; that’s directed at every parent who speaks hatred and intolerance around their own children, ESPECIALLY if they have LGBT kids.

Watching those videos got me angry.

Mark Blane is 23-year-old gay man who was bullied unmerciful as a teen.  He is also a very talented director and playwright.  He is inspired and inspiring.  He’s assembled, in his words, “…an incredible network of artists, actors, and activists…” in his effort to “…expose the secrets and real issues behind gay [teen] bullying in America.”

“The Rock & The Ripe” the play, is set for production in Chicago June 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  Mark’s ambition is to get the funding to take it nationwide.  He’s going to need massive help in doing so.

“The Rock & The Ripe”, the book, goes into deeper detail.

The book will be a dissection of how this process and project came to be, the atrocious facts and stories of anti-gay bullying from across the country, information commemorating the lives of 14-year-old Phillip Parker, 14-year-old Rafael Morelos, and many others. Direct quotes from phone-calls, in-person interviews in communities across the country that are affected by homophobia, ignorance, careless town officials, and unsympathetic and uneducated (ironically) school administrations. This book will be PACKED with photography, research, plus insight into the the minds of the actors/activists.

Enough really is enough.  Our numbers are growing around the world, and our voices are being heard.  People young and old, black and white, gay and straight, and everywhere in between, are standing up and saying enough is enough!!!  And, we are making a difference. The reality of it is we’re going to have to create the change we’re seeking.  The politicians won’t do it.  The educators won’t do it.  And, too many parents won’t do it.  WE are the ones who will make the difference at the end of the day.  Mark is doing his part at trying to make a differnce.  He needs help getting his project up and running.

He’s created a Kickstarter page for people to contribute as little as $5 towards getting his story out.  If you’re unfamiliar with how Kickstarter works, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.  Anyone can contribute.  There’s a set target amount.  Anything at or above that amount, Mark gets for his project.  However, if that number isn’t met, he – and, the project – gets nothing.

It’s a story that must get out!!!

100 Homophobes Tweet They’d KILL Their Gay Child!!!

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Everytime it seems we’re turning a corner on some of the madness we face, something comes along to remind us that there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done.  And, this one ranks right near the top of the list of the worst things I’ve ever seen.

On Monday, March 12th, trending on storify was tweets to people’s unborn children.  Tweets that vowed to KILL their unborn child if he or she turned out to be LGBT.  I don’t think it gets any worse than that.  Luckily, these tweets were picked up on by someone, and these people are being put in the spotlight.

Codie Sowders wrote:

#ToMyUnbornChild if you so much as think about being a homosexual I’ll put a bullet in your damn skull

From Daborey  Burrell comes this:

#ToMyUnbornChild if you turn out gay, I will burn you alive.

Rob Grant wrote:

#ToMyUnbornChild if your gay or retarded I will kill you.

And, this tweet from Chris Woodie:

#ToMyUnbornChild If you think gay is an option,let me know because we’ll abort you

Extremely graphic, I know.  However, I think it’s urgent that we know, and fully realize that there truly ARE people out there who, by their own admission!, would kill their own child if he or she were gay.  Worse, they said it unabashedly, as if the murdering of unwanted LGBT children was just the norm.

My first thought was “I sure hope they don’t have any other children!”  Any person who can even formulate such a thought about any human being at all, let alone their very own unborn child should, at the very least, be mandated to have every snip and tie done as to assure that they can never, ever reproduce.  This level of homophobia is reprehensible.

Here’s the danger:  this level of hatred, intolerance, and violence is precisely the accelerant that fuels the violence against the LGBT teens we’re seeing today.  And, as we’re being shown more and more every single day, the violence against LGBT teens, the bullying, is a learned behavior taught to them, in many if not most cases, by adults.  Directly or indirectly.  Imagine:  Codie Sowders has another child, or children!.  Wonderful parent in all aspects; however, the child or children knows Codie’s intolerant feeling towards gays.  And, that level of hatred would be impossible to mask despite the best efforts.  Well, what do you think the odds would be of that child, or those children, growing up to become homophobes themselves?  And, thus, the vicious cycle continues.  The bullying continues.  The LGBT teen suicide rate remains the same.  And, frightfully, if an LGBT child is born to any one of these people, the murder rate will go up as well.  By their own admission.

I’ve got a real problem with this one.  Hopefully, a lot of people have a real problem with it.  Just reading these real tweets from real “people” should be enough to get your blood up to 210 degrees.  For that other 2 degrees needed to reach boiling point, realize that there are teachers, judges, police officers, definitely politicians. priests and preachers…people from every walk of life with this level of homophobia.

It’s getting better, yes.  We still have lots of work to do.

Written by Ron Kemp

March 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Celebrating Acceptance: Dad gets “Born This Way” Tattoo!!

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What a marvelous story of acceptance!!  At a time when we’re grasping and struggling for acceptance, at a time when we’re losing teen after teen after LGBT teen to suicide because of a lack thereof, we get this heartwarming story from Jessica Romani about her brother, Dylan.

Dylan, who is bisexual, went through all of the usual trials and tribulations that nearly all LGBT teens experience.  He knew at a very young age that he was “different”.  He struggled with acceptance of himself!  And, of course, he was bullied.  Or, according to Jessica, he dealt with “extreme bullying”.

In Dylan’s own words, “…I was so scared of what he would do or think or say because he’s a tough guy and i am his only son so I didn’t want to be a disappointment or anything.”  That sounds familiar.  What he found, instead, was the surprise of his life.  Fred Romani, the dad, in an amazing show of unconditional love and acceptance, got the Lady Gaga-inspired catch-phrase, “Born This Way” tattooed in Italian on his wrist.  Dylan already had it on his.  You have to watch the video to see the reaction to it.

When I read Jessica’s and Dylan’s description of their dad, the image comes to mind of the stereotypical testosterone-driven Italian male.  Sylvester Stallone.  Santino Corleone.  Fred Romani showed, however, that macho men also have a heart.  Especially when it comes to family.  Even moreso, I would say, when it comes to his only son!  It’s that show of unconditional love and acceptance, even if he doesn’t yet fully understand what his son is going through, that makes the most significant difference.  It’s that acceptance that, say, EricJames Borges was looking for but got the opposite, instead.  And, we know where that led.  The mental and emotional health of young Dylan Romani grew exponentially by Fred’s gesture of support.  That’s what makes this story so important.  And, quite touching.

I first viewed this video, and story, yesterday on Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook, the social network super page that is helping so many people, LGBT and straight alike, and saving lives.  It’s stories like this that makes us realize that love really is winning the war over hate.  For Fred, an old school Italian dad, to reach out to his young, struggling son with such a loving gesture, and then to see Dylan’s caught-off-guard, stunned reaction speaks volumes to the power of love and acceptance.

The hope, of course, is that this video will catch on and go viral so that people all over the world can see with their own eyes the sheer power of unconditional love and acceptance.  Dylan’s tears of joy say it all.  If more families showed their LGBT teens this type of support….  Well, you know.  Let’s hope that this video is a harbinger of things to come.

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