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

Posts Tagged ‘The Rock & The Ripe

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!!!

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