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

Posts Tagged ‘Phillip Parker

And, Then There’s Tennessee

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Some of you may have already seen this article posted on the facebook blog page or elsewhere on the Internet.  According to Republican Rep. Jeremy Faison, teen suicides are due to bad parenting.  I can make this stuff up.

We can’t continue to legislate everything and we’ve had some horrible things happen in America and in our state, and there’s children that have actually committed suicide, but I will submit to you today that they did not commit suicide because of somebody bullying them. They committed suicide because they were not instilled the proper principles of where their self-esteem came from at home.

I don’t even know where to begin.

Let me make sure I’ve got this right:

  1. Bullied teens who commit suicide have their parents to blame.
  2. It’s more important to protect the bullies than it is to protect the victims of it.
Ok, if a middle- or high school student takes a weapon to school, a gun or a knife or whatever, and attacks another student, is that a criminal act?  Yes.  It’s called assault.  In Maryland, it would be called assault with a deadly weapon, with the possibility of the added charge of assault with the intent to maim.  Either, or both, charges would certainly then make the perpetrator a “criminal”, and they would be facing significant time.  If a middle- or high school student takes a  weapon to school, gun or knife or whatever, and kills another student, is that a criminal act?  Of course it is.  It’s called murder.  So, how is it that if that same middle- or high school student bullies another student, be it verbally or physically (and, always emotionally), so badly and so relentlessly that the bullied teen resorts to ending his or her life, they should be absolved of any wrong doing?  Explain to me so that I can fully understand justhow does sending these kids to the Principal’s office for detention is going to solve anything?  A child is dead because of his/her actions!  That makes THEM responsible!  Jacob Rogers is gone because of bullies.  Phillip Parker is gone because of bullies.  And, Jeremy Faison wants to send their bullies to detention.  He doesn’t want them to become criminals.  I won’t mention the fact that they’ve already committed criminal acts.  And, when it comes to the targeted bullying of LGBT teens, just as it is with bullying based upon race, the potential is there for it to be a hate crime.
That Mr. Faison could even dream of blaming the parents of the suicide victims is beyond reprehension.  What he did with his statement was kick these families, who are already reeling from the untimely and unnecessary death of their beloved young child, right in the gut.  Worse, he’s now on record as saying that, in his misguided opinion, it’s more important to protect who cause death by their actions of hatred and intolerance than it is provide protection for those who are suffering.
If there’s any “failure” to be “good parents”, wouldn’t it make sense that it would be the parents of those who find it necessary to demean, verbally and sometimes physically batter others to the point where they feel suicide is the only remaining option for them to make the bullying stop?  The obvious ones with self-esteem issues are the ones who feel the need to put others down in order to make themselves feel good. (and, yes, thatis a problem that needs to be addressed if we’re to tackle this issue of bullying/teen suicide)  To a further extent, where are these young people learning to hate and be so intolerant at such an early age.  They weren’t born that way.  Hatred and intolerance is taught and, in most cases, it starts at home.  Good parenting?
I’ve pointed out before, several times actually, that these lawmakers were elected into office.  The question has to be “how”?  To a further extent, the larger question, in my opinion, should be “how are they staying in office”?  And, to show a little equity to Jeremy Faison, he’s not the only problem in the Tennessee legislation.  There is still a push to pass a bill that would make it illegal for teachers to even say the very word “gay” in their classrooms.  They are also one of the states that wants to make it legal for LGBT teens to be bullied as long as it was because of the bully’s religious, political, or philosophical beliefs.  There’s a definite problem with bias and intolerance in Tennessee’s legislation, and it’s costing lives.  Worse, there are those in the Tennessee legislation who seem to be perfectly okay with that.  In fact, they now have one legislator on record as saying that he wants to protect the bullies.
Power in numbers?  Politicians are “hired” by virtue of our votes.  As such, they can be “fired” by virtue of our votes.  This isn’t about politics.  Enough is Enough isn’t a political blog.  This is about stopping the madness of bullying and teen suicides.  And, in particular, LGBT teen suicides.  Having paid, elected officials introduce laws that goes against preventing bullying and, especially, teen suicides only assures that we’re going to continue seeing the spike in bullying, teen suicides, and especially LGBT teen suicides.  After all, strip away all of their smoke and filters, and what they’re really saying is that they’re homophobic and don’t really care about what’s happening to our LGBT youth.  That is unacceptable.

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!!!

Petitions to STOP Tennessee Lawmakers from Victimizing the LGBT Community

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I read yet another heartbreaking article about Phillip Parker and the abuse he endured.  I cried.  It went as far as the church, a pastor, telling him to pray the demons out of him so that he could be straight.  Yes.  In Tennessee, being gay is demonic.  How many more lives will be lost to this sickness that’s being passed off as Tennessee law?  How many more LGBT teens will be cornered into suicide as the bigoted, myopic lawmakers continue to endorse and pass legislation that sanctions their abuse, prevents teachers to intervene in the abuse, and completely demonize their existence?

There are petitions already in place to force their hands.  There is power in numbers.  Here are three petitions that NEEDS to be signed and then massively circulated.  There needs to be an overwhelming number of names on these petitions so that we can show them that we will no longer tolerate their intolerance.  Reversing, or stopping, these bills will work towards providing protection for the LGBT youth of Tennessee as well as stripping away the power to freely discriminate against the LGBT community, in general.

This petition is to force the Tennessee lawmakers to eliminate the language in the anti-bullying bill that would allow for the bullying of LGBT citizens, teens in particular, as long as it’s done for religious, philosophical, or politic believes.  This is a very crucial petition.  Sign and share.  And, share.

This petition strips away the insanely myopic and bigoted “Don’t Say Gay” bill.  Without that bill in place, Phillip Parker may still be alive today.  The teachers who wanted to help would’ve been able to do so without breaking the law.  Understand:  it is illegal for teachers to intervene if an LGBT teen is being abused; it’s illegal for counselors to counsel them!  Sign and share.  And, share.  And, encourage others to share.

This petition  is to help protect other LGBT teens in Cheatham County, where Jacob Rogers committed suicide in December.  The rules MUST be changed; the laws MUST be reversed.  There has to be stronger policies in place to protect the LGBT teens going to school in Tennessee.  And, it’s up to all of us, concerned citizens, to push for change.  The lawmakers there have already shown that they’d rather see them kill themselves off.  Zero tolerance!

Phillip Parker and the Tennessee Legislation

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The more I read about Phillip Parker, the 14-year-old LGBT youth who committed suicide in Tennessee Friday, the angrier I get.  According to several different stories, the bullying had been going on for a long period of time.  His family was overwhelmed with information about the verbal, emotional, and physical abuse he endured over the weekend when it was, sadly, too late.  However, the report is that several of his friends did, in fact, go to teachers at Gordonsville High School to tell what was happening to him, and no one did anything.  No interventions.  No calls to the family.  Nothing.  No one did anything!!!!  Heads need to roll.  Teachers, the principle, the whole school system needs to be held accountable.  This is criminal neglect if nothing else.  The ones responsible for the abuse also need to be sought out and punished severely.  There are people there who know exactly who’s responsible for it.  They have already gone forward with it to the school staff.  They need to go public with it, as in to the police.  Of course, none of it will help the Parker family or Phillips friends at this point.  But, it could go a long way to preventing another family in Tennessee from having to go through this.

Or, will it?

It seems that Tennessee, and more specifically it’s legislatures, have a problem with the LGBT community.  Tennessee has a “Don’t Say Gay” statute in place that prohibits teachers, basically, from acknowledging that gays and lesbians even exist.  Does that mean, then, that they can’t intervene if a LGBT student is being bullied, like Phillip was.  Like Jacob Rogers was?  Do they, by law, have to pretend that it’s not happening, look the other way when it involves an LGBT student?

In Tennessee, same-sex marriages are illegal.

In Tennessee, LGBT people are not protected from housing and employment discrimination.

In Tennessee, they are trying to pass that bill where bullying against members of the LGBT community will be sanctioned as long as it’s done for political, philosophical, or religious beliefs.  That’s a free pass to emotionally, psychologically, and physically abuse LGBT teens!  All they have to do is claim it was done because of their beliefs, and they get a get-out-of-jail-free card.

There needs to be outrage.  There needs to be petition after petition after petition.  Concerned parents need to be voicing their concerns.  Loudly!  It is mind-boggling that the citizens of Tennessee are allowing this to happen in their state.

Tennessee is apparently the nation’s hotbed for homophobia.  Comedian Tracy Morgan went on a homophobic rant at a Nashville comedy club, going as far as to say that he’d stab his son to death if said son was to come out as gay.  The significance of this is that it was met with a “thunderous applause”.    He said he’d kill his son if he turned out gay, and people applauded!?  How is this being allowed to happen in this country in 2012!?

Meanwhile, family and friends of Phillip Parker are searching for answers.  And, justice.  Unfortunately, they won’t find much justice in a state that passed a law that forbids teachers to even say the word “gay” in their classes.  They won’t find justice in a state that, just recently!, made it ok to discriminate against LGBT people in the housing and job markets.  They won’t find justice in a state that wants to sanction the bullying of LGBT teens.  Is there any wonder why teens like Phillip, and Jacob, felt such a sense of hopelessness that they ended their lives?

There’s a girl named Alissa.  She was Phillip’s best friend…”like brother and sister”.  Like his family, she’s in an awful lot of pain right now.  Another friend started a facebook page to honor the memory of Phillip.  Alissa has made painful posts there.  Please go and offer her words of encouragement.  She, along with the Parker family, needs to be surrounded by love right now.  Do it for Phillip.

Another Gay Teen Lost to Bullycide: Rest in Peace, Phillip Parker, 14

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Every time we lose another LGBT teen to bullycide, we suffer another setback in our efforts to end this malignancy plaguing the LGBT community.  Phillip Parker, 14, ended his young life last week after enduring bullying over a period of time at his Gordonsville, Tennessee high school.  Tennessee is also the state where Jacob Rogers succumbed to bullycide in early December and the same state that I wrote about, here, earlier in the month.  You may recall that Tennessee lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that will allow bullying as long as it is for religious, philosophical, or political beliefs.  We’re not going to let that happen.  A petition needs to be up within the next 24 hours to present to the Tennessee legislation letting them know that we will no accept them sanctioning bullying against LGBT teens.

According to the news report, Phillip’s family had gone to the school administrators numerous times to report that he was being bullied.  Nothing changed.  No, I’m wrong.  Things DID change.  Things actually got worse for him.  The bullying increased.  Finally, he’d had enough.

Knowing about these tragedies isn’t nearly enough.  What’s needed is a continued concerted effort of many people, loudly and strongly stating the message that “We’re mad as Hell, and we’re NOT gonna take it anymore!”  Every state legislature needs to be heavily petitioned until there are very strongly-worded laws on the books that will protect EVERY teen from the horrors of bullying.  The penalties for bullying need to be harsh.  After all, the penalties against the families and friends of those who take their own lives because of bullying are as harsh as it gets.  Further, school systems need to be penalized heavily for failure to a.)  provide each student with a safe learning environment; and, b.)  act upon complaints of bullying.  No way should they be allowed a free pass when a family losses their loved ones.

It goes without saying that our deepest sympathies and heart-felt prayers go out to the family and friends of 14-year-old Phillip Parker.  May you find peace in Paradise.

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