One is too many. Six demands action.
“Back to school” isn’t supposed to mean a return to bullying, torment, fear or suicide. Yet this September it meant just that for too many LGBT and presumed to be LGBT children and youth.
In the last four weeks the relentless drumbeat announcing yet another LGBT youth suicide has been simply horrible. One would be too many. Six compels us all to act.
Our hearts go out to the families, friends and classmates who have experienced the unimaginable grief that accompanies this kind of loss.
Asher Brown, 13, Cypress, Texas, Sept. 23rd 2010
Seth Walsh, 13, Tehachapi, California, Sept 19, 2010
Justin Aaberg, 15, Anoka, Minnesota, July 09, 2010
Billy Lucas, 15, Greensburg, Indiana, Sept. 09, 2010
Tyler Clementi, 18, Ridgewood, New Jersey, Sept 22, 2010
Raymond Chase, 19, Monticello, New York, Sept. 29, 2010
These LGBT youth and their legacy must become our collective commitment. Every child deserves a safe school and an opportunity to learn, and among those deserving children are LGBT youth and the children of LGBT-headed families.
Bullying, harassment and assault have consequences. Chief among those consequences is a victim’s desperate sense of aloneness, of helplessness, and the belief that no one will stand with them, that no one can or will help and that life will forever bring this torment.
It’s long past time to send LGBT children and youth, as well as those who would bully them, a very different message. You are not alone. We will stand with you. We will protect you. There will be a better day, a different day.
We WILL protect our youth.
LGBT community groups and The Center are organizing a set of activities this month to focus upon the problems of school bullying of LGBT youth, youth from LGBT-headed families and all other youth who are not safe in schools. As a part of these activities we will be attempting some coordinated response with the school systems themselves regarding bullying prevention, intervention and local resources. Stay-tuned for details and actions you can help support.
Those interested in getting involved immediately should contact Carlos Marquez at email@example.com.
Parents and pastors, educators and elected officials, legislators and law enforcement — all of us must answer the call to Protect Our Children. We all have an inarguable human duty to protect and intervene.
***Important local resources are available and we need to ensure those resources are readily available to families, youth and children. Below are some key numbers:
• The San Diego LGBT Community Center, Counseling Services available for youth and families: (619) 692-2077
• The San Diego LGBT Community Center, Hillcrest Youth Center: (619) 497-2920, ext. 113
• Trevor Project: LGBT Youth National Hotline. Call 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386). All calls are confidential and toll-free from anywhere in the United States, 24/7.
***GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey (www.glsen.org)
7, 261 students, ages 13-21, from all 50 states surveyed
• 85% were verbally harassed (called names or threatened) at school because of their sexual orientation
• 72% heard frequently or often heard remarks like faggot and dyke at school
• 61% felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation. This is the highest percentage of students who felt unsafe at school as compared to students who felt marginalized because of faith, color, disability or for other reasons.
• 53% were harassed or threatened by their peers via electronic mediums (cyber bullying)
• 40% were physically harassed (pushed/shoved) at school because of their sexual orientation
• 19% were physically assaulted (punched, kicked, injured with a weapon) because of their sexual orientation
• 62% of students who were harassed or assaulted did not report it, in large part because they believed no one would/could help them
• Absenteeism: LGBT students who experienced harassment and assault were 3X more likely to have missed school days/classes
• Lowered aspirations and achievement: LGBT students who experienced harassment and assault were more likely to have lowered grades and to say they had no plans to complete or continue their education
• In-school experiences of harassment and assault were related to poorer psychological well-being (higher depression, higher anxiety, lower self-esteem) for LGBT students
Students in schools with the following were less likely to feel unsafe, were less likely to be victimized, were less likely to miss school days because of feeling uncomfortable or afraid, and were more likely to report harassment and assault and be more pleased with the outcome.
• Gay-Straight Alliances
• Inclusive curriculum that includes ALL families
• Identified supportive educators
• Schools with comprehensive/inclusive harassment policies and laws that students are aware of and know how to utilize to protect themselves, and the clear, identified presence of adults who will help to protect them
Help us send the message – We WILL Protect Our Youth.
Dr. Delores A. Jacobs
Chief Executive Officer
The San Diego LGBT Community Center
I think you’re right, times are a changin’. The only cotansnt is change. All these words and labels don’t fit trans kids, because fundamentally labels are political. Kids are apolitical.Transgender was coined in the late 80 s as push back against the decidedly hostile environment trans people faced then. No rights, no nothing, and the larger LGBT community was perfectly comfortable with ignoring trans people, or at least continuing to think of them as drag queens, transvestites etc. Remember that back then the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care encouraged disassociation for trans adults. If you did by the book, you were supposed to abandon your friends and family, move to a new city and start a new life. That was the standard recommendation given to trans people by the shrinks. A lot of trans people did that, which contributed to invisibility. There wasn’t much of a community, and definitely not one defined by an umbrella term that encompassed all gender variance. So where does that leave the trans kids today? I’m not so sure, but I do know that their experience is fundamentally and radically different from people in my generation and I’m not so old. I started transition at 23 in 2003, and over the past 7 years I’ve seen younger and younger people come out as trans. The future sneaks up on you. The people who represent the larger trans community in terms of LGBT political organizations are much much older than me and even they have trouble relating with people in their 20 s. So a trans kid who’s 8 now and will be 18 in 2018 might as well be from Alpha Centauri. So these labels, and really even the larger transgender community is all well and good for the moment. Will it look like in 10 years, I really really doubt it. Whatever it looks like will be different because of kids like Hope. But even then you ask your daughter, Hope if she can relate to the label transgender in 10 years, or even say 5 or 6 when she has more political awareness and I’m pretty sure the answer will be: No, not really. One other thing, in my personal experience the idea of detransitioning is horrifying on a lot of levels. I feel deep down that gender identity is fixed along a spectrum. The metaphor I use, is that it’s like flying a kite. The kite might move around some, but there’s something anchoring it. If you asked me and say 99 other trans women, if given the choice to not take blockers, and detransition at age 12 and go through a male puberty, at least 110 of us are going to say are you kidding?Socialization is a powerful thing, especially when you want it, it feels right, makes sense, and makes you feel good. The whole idea of detransitioning or the idea that you need to make sure, is something that makes very little sense to me. It’s something that mostly just cis (typically gendered) people say. Ask yourself, do you need to make sure you’re really a woman. Do you need to give it a lot thought? The number of people who detransition is so exceedingly small as to be irrelevant. And those that do, do it because of pressure from family, friends, or because the sacrifices they made were too much. That’s not something that even begins to apply to a child who has loving and supportive parents. Gaaah I take way too long to get to the point.Points:1. Labels are meaningless to trans kids. Maybe just maybe, they’re kids being kids; kids who couldn’t careless about politics.I say trans, mostly because it’s nice and inclusive, but is as label free as a label can get. 2. The answer to the question: Nevertheless, I don’t know if in a year or two she wants to continue with blockers and pursue a medical transition. Is: Mom, ummm . why would you even ask me that? Like duh.If I could bet on that being the answer, I would be very very rich in a couple years. my 2 cents,Abigail