ronkempmusic

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

Archive for November 2011

Rest In Peace Ben Lewis 11/19/2011 (15 year old victim of bullying)

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The prayer is that someday, SOMEDAY!!, these headlines will disappear.  Fifteen year old Ben Lewis, of Lincoln, Nebraska took as much bullying as he could handle.  On November 19th, the bullying claimed his young life.  Say a prayer for his devastated family.  Then, get involved.  In your own way, to whatever extent you can afford, get involved.  This HAS to end!!!  Every state in the Union needs to examine and re-examine their anti-bullying laws, make them strong and all-encompassing, then ENFORCE them!!!  That these young people to get away with pushing another human being to their death with impunity is absolutely an issue that needs to be re-examined.  Rest in Peace young Ben Lewis.

How Some Parents Drive Their Kids to Suicide (Updated)

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How Some Parents Drive Their Kids to Suicide (Updated)

I’ve been saying for too many years that there are parents in this country, and probably around the world, who drive their gay or lesbian sons or daughters to suicide.  And, to their defense, I will say that they don’t even realize they’re doing it until it’s too late.  We as adults, young or old, already know how difficult the teen years can be.  The teasing, the bullying, the “trying to fit in”, the sheer weight of peer pressure.  Toss into the ring the reality of being a gay or lesbian who is still figuring themselves out – or, for that matter, even the ones who are confident within themselves with their sexuality – which is almost certain to bring added pressure and tension.  Take all of that turmoil that they’re already dealing with at school amongst their peers, add to it living in a household where they already know that gays and lesbians are not accepted, looked down upon, or (in some cases) vehemently hated.  That’s a recipe for disaster.  It plays out in household across this country, and around the world, every single day.  Remember: every 18 minutes, a kid takes his own life.  That’s an epidemic!  It’s time we start changing the way we think in order to start saving some lives.  Even the strongest steel breaks under too much pressure.

UPDATE:

I thought it was fitting to add to this entry.  At this very moment, I’m also chatting with a simply delightful, highly intelligent, very handsome and sensitive young man.  Unfortunately, he also fights suicidal tendencies regularly.  And, at the root of that is a home where his family, his parents belittle him (at best) for who his is.  I spend as much time as needed, and as I can, talking to him.  It’s paying off.  He IS doing better by the day.  However, this morning, his self-esteem took another punch to the gut as his own mother called him “…a fool” for being in love with someone from his own sex.  If only we could get these parents to understand the devastating effect some of their words have on their children, I’m sure the suicide rate amongst teens, gay and straight alike, would be drastically lower.  Here’s the blog entry this young man-made (his permission to reblog was granted) after being verbally assaulted by his own mother:

Heartbroken…

I feel like everyone is stalking at me… Pressured just anywhere I go… Finally when I’d try to get closer to someone I love from all my heart… someone will surely be there to break my least effort… and break my heart to tiny pieces…

Even my own family wants to take away from me what matters to me the most… Urging me not to have what my life is just all about… if that’s so then I don’t even need my life either 😦

Sometimes I just wish to run away and get the whole thing over with…

Only then comes school, where I’m, yet again, handled as a darts target, a trash can, a whatever… what does life worth like this? 😦

A grateful thanks to the few beautiful people who reassure me from time to time… ily!

Pray for change.  Then work towards making it happen.

Prayers for Brittany and Roger

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I want to thank every one of you who rose to the occasion last night in attempt to save a young life.(blog entry “AN URGENT CALL TO ACTION”)  I don’t know where this young man lives other than in the US.  I’ve sent him links for help, my own contact information, and prayers.  Many of you did, too.  Let’s hope for the best.

And, as I’m sure you know, there’s always more to do.  Fourteen year old Brittany needs your prayers.  The facebook posting that I saw said that she’s in ICU after attempting suicide today.  We need to send lots of prayers her way.  And, yes, she was yet another victim of bullying, but we’ll get to that later.  For now, let’s send lots and lots of prayers and hope she pulls out of this first.

Lastly, and sadly, we lost a crusader in the war against bullying.  Roger Crouch, whose son, Dominic, committed suicide in May of 2010, passed away tonight.  In loving memory and honor of his son, Roger worked hard to bring about changes that would hopefully help prevent other teens from going through what Dom endured.  His efforts reached around the globe, and he will be missed.  I’m sure his family would love to hear your words of support.  R.I.P. Roger Crouch.

AN URGENT CALL TO ACTION!!!!!!!

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I spend a lot of time perusing through information to share with you in this blog.  Tonight, I was watching a video of an actual suicide note that was written by a young boy just before he killed himself.  Heart wrenching doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling I got.  And, the feeling YOU would get if you were to read the same note.

Then, I started reading the comments.  This one jumped off the screen at me:  “I’m 19 and I’m going to end my pain…Well my b day is december 15th…I’m 18…If only you guys knew my life…And the pain I’m going through”  You read that right.  And, THIS WAS WRITTEN JUST A FEW HOURS AGO!  So, I’m calling on every single person reading this to help save this young man’s life.  I’ve only been able to connect through his youtube page, http://www.youtube.com/user/donaldadin2009, but I sent him a message pleading for him to seek help.   I sent him a link for befrienders.  Lots and lots of kind words and genuine concern might just save a life!!!!  Let’s give it a try.  Like, right now!!!  A life is depending on it.

The Good….

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In the grand scheme of things, this is a battle that’s been fought for as long as I can remember.  In the ’50s and ’60s, it was the Civil Rights movement.  That torch was passed on to the Women’s Rights movement.  And, here we are today.  Same fight; new warriors. (well, on one side of the battle, at least.  If you look deep enough, I’m thinking you’d see the same core institution on the OTHER side of the battle in all of these cases.  Makes you wonder…)

This battle for acceptance, gay rights, gay marriage, tolerance, ending gay teen suicide all fits under one big rainbow-colored umbrella.  Our army has some strong leaders.  Fighters.  When you have a 14-year-old openly gay student taking on the school board, that’s a fighter!!
In seeing and listening to young people like Graeme Taylor gives you the sense that, through the darkness, there really is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.  The message here for young people is it can and will get better if you just hang in there.  Pass it on.

Written by Ron Kemp

November 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Why It Matters to Me

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welcome-to-portsmouthTwelve years old.  I’m on vacation in a little rural city named Portsmouth, VA.  My aunt, with whom I was spending the summer, prearranged with her friend and neighbor to have her friend’s nephew also visit from out-of-state at the same time.  Built-in companions.  Little did my aunt know that I would become very attracted to this boy.  Sure, we certainly did hang out together nearly every minute of every day!  I was mesmerized by him.

One summer afternoon, we were over his [aunt’s] house shooting pool in the basement.  This was the most exciting time of the entire vacation for me!!  My heart-throb and I were alone together at last!!  Who cared who would win the match!?  I just wanted to be alone with him.  Eventually, I got close enough to sneak a kiss on the cheek!  I was in Heaven.  He was furious!  Needless to say, that slammed the brakes on our friendship.  Stopped on a dime.

I went on with my summer vacation sans my former heart-throb.  I’m resilient like that.  We never uttered another single word to one another, as badly as I wanted to.  He met all new friends.  They weren’t the kind of kids I would hang around.  Riding my bike merrily down a neighborhood street on blazing summer afternoon, I spot my former friend at the other end of the street riding his bike towards me.  And, he was with his new friends….the ones I would never hang around.  My gut instinct told me that this wasn’t going to be a friendly encounter.  I had no idea how right that instinct was.

As we met in the middle of the block, one of the boys knocked me off of my bike.  It was downhill from there.  Quickly, I was surrounded by the pack as they proceeded to beat the holy shit out of me!!!  At one point, the biggest of the boys had my head locked between his knees, using his knees as a vice grip!, as he delivered blow after blow after bloody blow to my face.  Eventually, I was rescued, and the gay bashing was over.

Nothing about me was ever the same after that summer.  Whereas it didn’t lead me to suicide (told you I was resilient!), it forever changed everything about how I view life.  There are emotional scars left even today. (to wit, my eyes teared as I wrote this recount)It matters to me because I’ve been there.

It matters to me because it’s either costing lives or leaving a lifetime of emotional destruction in its wake.  It matters to me because this kind of brutal, animalistic behavior MUST end!!

Taking Steps to Prevent Bullying

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Bullying has been identified as one of the major contributors to gay teen and teen (in general) suicide.  Certainly, the latest rash of teen and gay teen suicides have named bullying as such.  So, maybe the issue is to catch the situation before it becomes an irreversible issue.  Do YOU know what to look for?  Would you know how to identify if your son or daughter is being bullied?  My next several entries will be providing very valuable information on how to recognize the signs before it’s too late.The Bullying Report is a 44-page free downloadable book full of good information.  Get yours now!!

A Day of Rest (Updated)

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Today, and everyday, give thanks for what you have in your life…especially your loved ones.

I’m actually doing something today that I very seldom get the chance to do:  nothing at all.  It’s my day of rest.  In just about an hour or so, I will be well-rested with a big, full belly.

I wish that the dilemma of teen suicide, gay teen suicide, and suicide in general could take the day off, as well.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  In fact, suicides tend to increase during the Holiday Season, which is now upon us.  Unfortunately, depression, the feeling of isolation, and all of the other native causes of suicide doesn’t take the day off.  As we gather with our families and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s also remember the families and friends of those who have left this world through their own actions.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everyone!!

UPDATE:


It was quickly brought to my attention that suicides actually DON’T increase during the holidays, that it’s just a long-held myth.  I stand corrected.  In fact, suicides tend to lower in December.  Sorry for the misinformation.  I, too, fell for the myth.  Thank you, Barb, for the correction.

Happy Birthday, Jamie Hubley

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You know, 40 short days ago, I had no idea in the world who Jamie Hubley was.  In the days since then, however, his name, his voice, and even his spectacularly handsome image is known to people all around the globe.  On October 14th, Jamie ended his young life.  Being 15 years old and openly gay had its price as Jamie was yet another victim of homophobic bullying.  Being 15 years old, openly gay, enduring bullying, and having clinical depression on top of that proved to be too much weight to carry.  In his short time here, Jamie was already making a major impact on people’s lives.  According to his father, in a recorded interview, Jamie just loved people and wanted to make a difference.  According to Jamie, in his now-defunct tumblr blog, “I just want to feel special to someone”.  Today, the things he wished for and wanted are coming to fruition:  he is making a difference in people’s lives around the globe; he is very special in the hearts of thousands and, perhaps, over a million people from that same geographic location.  To be sure, as of this day, I can still say I never “knew” him.  I can say, however that he has had a profound impact on my life.  See, Jamie Hubley is why you’re reading this.  Jamie Hubley gave me my voice.  As a singer/songwriter by profession, and as a gay man, I’d ALWAYS taken the issue of gay teen suicide very seriously.  I’d been trying to bring awareness to the issue for a couple decades.  I’d written about it in a few of my songs.  It wasn’t enough.  I needed to get more deeply involved in helping to bring about change.  This very blog is in Jamie’s honor.

Today, November 23rd, 2011 is Jamie’s sweet 16th birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, JAMIE!!!  You are loved by many.

VICTORY!!!

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Those of you who have been following my blog will remember a post about the bill in Michigan that was trying to get passed.  In the bill, however, was an exemption for people who acted out of “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”  Hard to believe, I know.  In response, there was a petition sent around to get that exemption removed from bill.  And, people from all around the country were signing it.  GREAT NEWS!!!!  Your efforts worked!!!!  No hiding behind religion to commit your acts of hate and intolerance.  Thanks for your signatures!!!