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Posts Tagged ‘Michele Bachmann

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.

Is There Such Thing as TOO MUCH Emphasis on Teen Suicide?

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Incredible question, right?  Yet, I was recently told just that.  Actually, on one of the social networking pages that I was running, I was booted by the original owner of the page because I was putting too much emphasis on LGBT teen suicides.  TOO MUCH EMPHASIS!?

Research shows, clearly, that LGBT youth attempt suicide up to 4 times as often as their hetero counterparts.  We witness all-too-often another LGBT teen suicide in the news.  That says that there isn’t ENOUGH emphasis being put on the matter.

(as a side note, I was told by the owner of the page that “I’m all for gay-related issues…I have lots of gay friends.”  That’s akin, in my mind, to the old catch phrase “hey, I’m not racist.  I’ve got a black friend.”)

Just in the past month, we’ve seen in the news how certain politicians are attempting to pass bills that would make life even more difficult for LGBT students.  Stacey Campfield, (R) Tennessee, is determined to get his “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed in a district that already has an anti-bullying law in place that excludes discrimination because of sexual orientation.  The teen, and primarily LGBT teen suicide rate in Michele Bachmann’s district got so bad, a national publication thankfully ran a must-read article about it.  There are jurisdictions in this country that are still attempting to pass bills that would sanction the bullying of LGBT teens by adding the language that would permit the bullying if it’s done for “religious, philosophical, or political beliefs.”  That’s amazing in this day and age.  And, I can’t put enough emphasis on the issue of LGBT teen bullying and suicides.

To be fair and see things through her eyes, the owner of the page I was running points out that there’s many different forms of bullying:  bullying in the workplace and domestic violence.  That’s very true.  There IS an issue of bullying in the workplace.  And, domestic violence is very much a serious issue.  Bullying on all levels needs to be addressed.  We have a tendency to be a very mean-spirited people.  My only point, which I stand by, was that mixing all of them together in one place would be awkward, at best.  A community for ending domestic violence?  I’m on board.  Bullying in the workplace?  Sign me up.  Teen, and especially LGBT teen bullying and suicide.  I will die on the front line of that battle.  What rattled me, and rattles me still, was being told that I was putting too much emphasis on the issue.  There’s no such thing as the Easter Bunny; there’s no such thing as the Tooth Fairy; there’s no such thing as too much emphasis on LGBT bullying and suicides.

Hunter Mack, 14, Recuperates from Suicide Attempt

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Friday was not a good day for school kids in two states on separate sides of the country.  There was Drew Ferraro‘s completed suicide attempt in La Cresenta, CA in front of his classmates.  The students of Cresenta Valley High School, many of them friends of his, were left severely traumatized and to try to make sense of what they had just witnessed.  Their recovery will take years.

On that same day, 14-year-old Hunter Mack, of Walpole, NH, made an unsuccessful attempt, also in front of classmates.  In Drew’s case, early reports say that bullying was definitely a factor.  However, in Drew’s case, it appears that depression was the biggest factor.  In both cases, the casualty list extends far beyond the victims, themselves.

Despite what some out-of-touch politicians and “religious leaders” are attempting to hoodwink us into believing, the fact of the matter is that this is an epidemic.  It’s taken on a life all of its own.  And, as is usually the case when the rubber really meets the road, it will have to we, the ordinary, caring, and compassionate people who will make the necessary changes to end this scourge.  It will have to be those people who have seen one too many young person end their life far, far too soon.  It will have to take the families and friends of past victims to honor their lost loved ones by continuing to reach out to others in hope that no other family, no more friends will have to go through the lifelong pain that they are going through.

We can’t count on our politicians.  Michele Bachmann, and likeminded religious fanatics in her district, virtually declared war on the LGBT teens who reside in her district.  The result has been an explosion of teen suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin district.  Stacey Campfield is busy introducing bills that makes LGBT teens sitting ducks.  His bills will make it ok to bully and abuse them as long as it’s for “religious, political, or philosophical beliefs”.  He wants it so that teacher would risk losing their careers at the mere mention of the word gay.  And, there are others around the country who are busy trying to pass similar legislations.

Religious leaders are just barely better.  And, to be sure, not all religious leaders are all-condemning of LGBT youth or the LGBT community in general.  Similarly, not all politicians are jackasses, either.

Still, the change that is desperately needed at this very point-in-time is going to have to at least START with us, the common folk.  We who care.  We who are right there on the battlefront watching the carnage.  The bright side of that it that there are many regular people in every size, shape, age, and color, and from all around the world!, doing their part to help bring this madness to an end.  And, indeed, things are being done, and progress is being made.  Young people are reaching out to other troubled teens.  Songs are being written; videos recordedHotlines have been set-up.  Online support networks have been set up.  Ordinary people who have just said:  “Enough is Enough!  How can I get involved!?  This has got to end!”  This epidemic must, and will!, be wiped out.

Until we reach that end, there will still be casualties, unfortunately.  But, as we continue to grow massively in numbers, and as we continue to bring global awareness to this issue, we will begin to see that casualty list decrease.  Until that day, however, we have to continue to fight like hell!  There are just too many lives in the balance to do anything else.

At this moment, 14-year-old Hunter Mack lay in a New Hampshire hospital attempting to recover from his attempt at ending his young life.  Let’s hope for a speedy recovery for him as well as healing for his family, friends, and schoolmates.  They all have a long journey ahead of them.

In My Own Backyard!

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Don’t be too quick to jump on the Maryland bandwagon.  Governor O’Malley may be pushing for the legalization of gay marriage here (and, it looks as if it has a real shot of passing!), but then there’s madness like this.  At Albert Einstein High School, literally a 20-minute drive from my house, a group that calls themselves PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays) sent home a flyer with the students’ report card that basically tells its LGBT students that “you weren’t born that way” and, once again, “we can help you change”.

Their flyer is carefully worded as to not give the impression that it’s religion-motivated.  We know better.  In the flyer, they allege that “every year, thousands of people make the decision…” to no longer be LGBT.  In an attempt to mock the LGBT community, they cite:  “…formerly gay men and women are discriminated against simply because they dare to exist.”  “Thousands”!  And, again, I’m completely ok with them having their opinions.  That’s their right under our Constitution.  However, to force-feed it to the students of Einstein represents a collapse in moral responsibility.  At a time in their lives where they’re already struggling to figure out who they are and how they fit into society, at a time where some are definitely questioning their sexuality or, worse, beginning to feel confident with it, P-FOX has thrown a monkey wrench of uncertainty into the picture.  Instead of doing things that will help these students grow and become confident, productive adults, they opted to send the message “if you’re LGBT, you’re defected.  But, don’t worry, We can fix you!!  It’s your choice.”  Maybe, P-FOX needs to be reminded that just last month, the leader of Exodus (the largest ex-gay farce in this country), Alan Chambers, announced that no one changes their sexual orientation.  He admitted that it was a farce.  In his own words, “99.9” of the people in his group didn’t become “ex-gay”.  Another of the co-founders of Exodus, Michael Bussee, went as far as to write this very revealing, very honest letter of apology.  Please take the time to read it.

What did happen, however, was there were suicides because of his program and the confusion it caused.  There were people left with emotional damage after being forced to believe that they were defective in some way, that their natural orientation was wrong.

Groups like P-FOX are now sprouting up around the country even as the ex-founder of Exodus has made it clear that it was basically a 20-year scam that he was running.  Infamous politician, Michele Bachmann, is married to a man who is making a mint off of one of those “ex-gay” “therapy” farces.  And, now it’s here in my own backyard.  I don’t like it.

Albert Einstein school officials, and the Montgomery County School Board made sure to distance themselves from this debacle with this disclaimer:  “These materials were neither endorsed nor sponsored by the Board of Education of Montgomery County, the superintendent, or this school.”  Smart move.

To contact P-FOX and voice your opinion, you can reach them on their website.  Let them know that what they’re doing is wrong.

Power in Numbers

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Since I posted the link, “Help LGBT Students Get Their Voices Heard“, the petition has picked up over 125 new signatures.  Awesome!  If you’re reading this and haven’t signed, or don’t even know what it’s about, I encourage you to sign it.  And, if you don’t know what it’s about, read my previous entry of the same name.

At this point in time, it’s urgent that we, the people who care and are passionate to see change in the way of equality for all, continue to pull together and be heard.  “The Other Side” is lashing out like never before!!!  Just today, I read of two MORE states attempting to implement their own version of a bill that will make it okay to bully LGBT teens if it’s done for religious, political, or philosophical reasons.  That’s absurd.  And, very dangerous.

Also today, pastor Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church spoke out against his state’s push to legalize gay marriages.  His remarks were, indeed, remarkable:

“Do they believe that if they change the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman, what is going to stop two men one woman, two women one man, one man against a horse, one man with a boy, one man with anything,”

I can’t even comment on that.

One of the two states that want to give a free pass to bullying if it’s for religious, political, or philosophical reason is Michele Bachmann’s Minnesota.  More specifically, it’s the very district that she represents.  Bachmannites.

See, these people are determined to impose their narrow-minded beliefs and destructive bigotry on the entire country.  It’s totally ok if they are against homosexuality, gay marriages, or sanity.  That’s their constitutional right.  For them to attempt to force their opinions, their intolerance, their hatred down the throats of an entire nation is morally wrong.  Beyond that, it adds to the feeling of despair felt by millions of vulnerable LGBT youth from sea to shining sea.  And, that is one of the factors driving the increase in gay teen suicides.  The good news is that it’s a factor that can be minimized.  There is power in numbers.

People are joining together in record numbers, all in support of the same cause:  to end inequality and hatred towards the LGBT community.  Straights and gays alike are letting their voices be heard:  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.  “Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook” is approaching 300,000 members;  “STOP Teenage Suicide” has more than 25,000 people involved;  “ABC: Anti-Bullying Coalition” and “The Equality Mantra” are both over 12,000; you get the point.  We need the numbers to continue to increase.  But, it can’t stop there!  We need people to stay plugged in and involved.  The ONLY way we’re going to create the change we’re seeking is to continuously, and loudly!, let our voice be heard, our presence felt.  Our voices must be loud enough to drown out the boisterous rants of a Michele Bachmann, a Rev. Ken Hutcherson, and the Tennessee lawmakers.  It is the people of this ilk who would rather see the LGBT population dead than become equal.  By extension, they couldn’t care less about the LGBT teen who commits suicide!  Our presence must be made known.  There truly is power in numbers.  It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, or asexual; black, white, or Venusian.  We all have the same goal:  equality.  That’s the big umbrella that will help protect our LGBT teens from the storm of hatred we’re witnessing today from our so-called leaders.

Story of The Year!!!

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To me, at least, this is definitely the story of the year.  And, it delivers the MESSAGE of the year:  eliminate hate-filled language.  Not just in schools, for they’re only repeating what they’ve learned from adults.  Indeed, hate speech needs to be dealt with swiftly and harshly, no matter if it’s Michele Bachmann or Mr. Johnson from down the street.

This story isn’t new.  It went viral August 16th.  See, “Amelia” has a 6-year-old son who just happened to tell her that he likes kissing boys!  In an innocence that only a 6-year-old can provide, he told his mother that it’s quite possible that he’s gay.  Thinking it was cute coming from her 6-year-old son, which it was, she wanted to share that with a couple of online friends.  Overnight, it went viral.  Why would something so cute and innocent, and personal, go viral overnight?  There are two very basic reasons why.

People connected with it easily because we could all relate.  Well, most of us. (those who said they couldn’t lie to themselves)  See, everyone one of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, knew when we were in that age group which gender made us happy on the inside.  And, it’s the ones who make us happy on the inside that we are attracted to, whether it’s in childhood or adulthood.  I knew when I was 7.  And, every single gay friend I’ve ever had has said the same thing.  Conversely, every single straight friend I’ve ever had knew that the opposite sex pushed their internal buttons.  It’s only natural!  See, we’re not talking sex here.  We’re talking attraction.  We’re talking about who makes us feel happy inside.  Isn’t that what love’s really about?

“Amelia” not only accepted her son’s words at face value (knowing full well that, at age 6, those words were definitely not set in stone), she embraced him.  She encouraged him.  Guess what happens when he “comes out” at such an early age AND the most important person in your world embraces and encourages you?  Your self-esteem has no choice but to soar.  Which brings me to the obvious second reason people connected so quickly to this story.

People with Michele Bachmannitis were APPALLED that she would encourage such deviant behavior!  “He is much too young to know about sex”, they argued.  Huh?  I think I missed that part of the story.  See, the Michele Bachmanns of the world would have the exact opposite effect on this boy:  his self-esteem would be ruined.  He’d be chastised for his “unnatural” feelings and, probably, sent off to be “cured”.  That’s what “they” do.  And, in just a few years, we’d run the risk of having another suicide victim on our hands.

“Amelia” sat up and took notice.  And, from her observations, for every Michele Bachmann who commented, there were “multiple messages” saying that they, too, knew when they were very young which gender tickled their fancy.  We all do!  Of course, at age 6, we don’t put a label on it.  We don’t learn that everyone has to fit into a category until later on in life.  But, I knew in 1st grade that Keith made my heart flutter while Debora was just pretty to look at.

The other thing that “Amelia” noticed was how extremely dangerous the hate speech was to not only her 6-year-old son, but to ALL young people!  And, indeed it is.  As I’ve been saying, it’s damaging on both ends:  your bullies learned to hate from somewhere.  Enough said.  Likewise, however, far-too-many of these young suicide victims “learn” from their Michele Bachmannesque parents that they are “abnormal”, “freaks”, “deviant”, “sick” and worse.  They learn that they are defective, that they need to be “fixed”.  I don’t feel I need to say anything about what this does to their young self-esteem.  Let’s just say that we read about them far too frequently and once it’s far too late.

My favorite part of the story, though, is where “Amelia” reached the point where she said “Enough Is Enough!!!”  She made a stand.  She vowed to protect her children from the Michele Bachmanns of the world because THEY spread hate as if they have a license to do so.

Ever ask yourself why is it so important to these hate mongers that everyone HAS to think as they do, act in accordance to what THEY think is right

Written by Ron Kemp

December 30, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Religion, Homosexuality, and Suicide

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I just finished reading an entry from a fellow blogger that moved me to tears.  And, I strongly suggest that everyone reads this story.  See, religion nearly cost him his son.  Thank God he didn’t succeed.  Ironic, huh?

I promised myself from the beginning of this blogging venture that I would do my damnedest to keep religion out of this.  It’s hard.  When you see people like Michele Bachmann constantly ranting in the media against gays, (and, today’s story is a doozy!!!), it becomes increasingly harder.  People of her ilk are extremely dangerous because they’ve become so consumed with their belief and ideology that there’s no room for anything other than what they believe.  That’s a dangerous place to be.  Life is so many shades of gray.  Kept out of the limelight as this woman runs for the highest office in the entire free world is the fact that her husband runs one of those “clinics” that “cures” gays.  Where was he last week when I had a cold?  These “clinics have been known to drive people to suicide.  And, the scary part about that is that “they’re” ok with that.  In the eyes, in the heart (sic) and soul of these “believers”, if you’re gay or lesbian, you SHOULD burn. (did I say she wanted to become our President?)

I relate to this lunacy completely.  I was born into one of those 5-day-a-week church-going families.  I was also born gay.  Once my mother passed away, the rest of the family effectively died, as well.  I have a sister who lives literally 5 minutes away from where I’m sitting this very moment, and 15 minutes away from where I live.  I have not seen my mother’s daughter since Thanksgiving 1985!  All of my aunts and uncles and cousins also soundly rejected me, as well.  Orphaned.  HATED, in the name of the Lord.  I survived.

Here’s the real deal, and you’re free to agree or disagree with me.  Either way, my view here is unflappable.  Today, there are people who disguise themselves as Christians who are as dangerous to the mental and emotional well-being, not to mention safety, of members of our society as any terrorist could ever be.  When you have a pastor ordering his congregation (Grace Fellowship Church in Fruitland, TN) to beat a gay couple trying to enter the church; when you have Westboro Baptist Church, pastor and congregation, carrying out their mission of hatred; when you have a Presidential candidate pushing anti-gay rhetoric so fiercely that the rate of gay teen suicides in the district she represents is greatly higher than in any other part of the state, you know that we have a deep problem.  Fruitland?  Heh heh heh.

It’s okay if these people don’t “accept” me.  I couldn’t care less.  I accept me, and I know that God accepts me.  And, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs.  Supposedly, that’s one of the beauties of living in the United States of America.  Supposedly.  However, when these people start attempting to ram their beliefs down our collective throats, when these people start committing acts of violence against us, when these people start showing up at our funerals as we mourn and say goodbye to our loved ones, the line has to be definitively drawn.  Enough hatred!

The irony here is that God is love.  That’s what I was taught.  These people, disguised as Christians, are preaching exactly the opposite.  They’re spreading hatred and intolerance in the name of the Lord. (who REALLY needs to fear Judgment Day?)  I’m reminded of a quote from Gandhi:  “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians.  They are so unlike Christ.”  Amen.

 

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