Sunday, October 03, 2010

Really a tragedy

The last few weeks have brought a great deal of sad news to the LGBT community. In listening to The Savage Love Podcast (Dan Savage’s amazing podcast) last week, I learned that 15 year-old Billy Lucas had taken his life after classmates called him a fag and told him to kill himself. Then, earlier this week, I read in the New York Times that 18 year-old Tyler Clementi had jumped from the GW Bridge in New York after having his romantic life broadcast online by a roommate. Just one day later I learned that Andrew Shirvell, an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan, had been stalking and harassing Chris Armstrong, the first openly gay president of the Michigan Student Assembly. Shirvell is also apparently the “concerned alum” who was up in arms about the appearance of a rainbow sticker at New York Pizza Depot a few years back. (Thanks for sending that link mom!)

At this point, you may be wondering, what can I do? How can I help? Here are some suggestions:

Both and the Detroit News have reported that Shirvell has been suspended or that he has taken a personal leave. This link will take you to a site organized by the Victory fund (a group that supports LGBT candidates) to send a message to Mike Cox, the Michigan Attorney General, asking him to dismiss Shirvell.

In response to Billy Lucas’ death, Dan Savage created the “It Gets Better Project,” YouTube channel, which features videos submitted by out LGBT individuals letting kids who may be going through a rough time that life gets better after you leave high school. His The first video, posted by Dan and his boyfriend Terry is inspiring and the outpouring of support (and thousands of videos) is incredible. Check out the site, and if appropriate, make a video yourself!

Finally, I hope that all of you will make sure to share an anti-bullying message whenever you get the chance. You can use this HRC Action Alert to contact Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to encourage anti-bullying programs across the country, or you can get involved in your own school district and ensure that the necessary policies are in place to protect vulnerable kids where you live.

1 comment:

  1. Marney Rich Keenan, in the Home Style section of the Freep today, also has a nice column about all this. Human can it be so hard.