We Matter~Indigenous youth who are feeling alone

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I Matter~You Matter~We Matter

e861fb7b5d22fc4a6f97d642b05b8b72We Matter is a national campaign designed to share the message to Indigenous youth struggling with suicidal thoughts and other hardships that no matter how hopeless or lonely things feel, there is always a way forward.

Suicide rates for Indigenous youth are several times higher that of other Canadians, as well as instances of addiction, abuse, violence, and many other issues. We believe this doesn’t need to be the case.

OUR MANDATE

native-girls2Our mandate is to communicate to Indigenous youth that their lives matter, and to provide resources to encourage and support those in crisis while fostering unity and resiliency. We provide a forum for people across the country to share video messages of hope and positivity with youth who are going through a hard time. By sharing our stories, our words of encouragement, and our authentic messages of hope and resilience, we help to make a community stronger. We remind youth that I matter. You matter. We matter.

MEET WE MATTER

The We Matter Campaign was concepted in the summer of 2016 by two First Nations with-love-smiley-emoticonsiblings, Kelvin and Tunchai Redvers, whom started We Matter with the belief that hope can be brought to Indigenous youth who are feeling alone.

Growing up in the Northwest Territories, they saw potential to connect Aboriginal youth, and provide help and guidance in an interactive, multi-media format. You can take part – by creating a video, artwork, or story – or simply watching and sharing (to friends, family, facebook, or even schools), you can also visit us at our website or facebook.

OUR GOALS

As We Matter grows, we hope to have video, art and written submissions from every Aboriginal community across Canada so that all youth can feel the support of their home community. We encourage you to add your voice. Your feelings of sadness, your feelings of hope, your own lived experience and your resilience can help remind youth why their lives matter. Every voice added makes a real difference.

 CANADA IS HUGE, AND NOT ALL COMMUNITIES HAVE READILY ACCESSIBLE INTERNET CONNECTIONS.

We are reaching out to share our messages in hard copy formats. Please connect with us if you would like to bring We Matter to your community. info@wemattercampaign.org

boy-girlfriend-it-gets-betteritgetsbetter-300x183Our model of sharing messages of hope and resiliency was based on the It Gets Better Project, an initiative to share videos of hope and positivity with LGTBQ youth. These messages remind youth that life becomes easier and gets better if they can get through the difficult teenage years.

We thank the It Gets Better Project for their ongoing support as our Organizational Partner, and encourage you to visit their website for more videos addressing community, strength and resiliency in the face of adversity.

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OUR PARTNERS

We Matter has only been possible thanks to the kind support of the people and organizations who believe in a world where Aboriginal youth have the resources to overcome hardships, struggles with mental health, and suicidal ideation. Please visit Our Partners page to learn more.

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Webinar: Perspectives on LGBT Suicide Prevention

hands-imgA webinar on the Prevention of LGBT Suicide and the Role of Health Professionals and Religious/Spiritual Advisors

Despite some improvements in public attitudes toward gay marriages and greater acceptance of homosexuality, disparities in suicide ideation and attempts between LGBT and heterosexual youth persist. New research indicates that few LGBT people sought help prior to attempting suicide and when LGBT people did seek help it was not effective in preventing suicide attempts. Further, counseling from a religious or spiritual advisor was associated with worse outcomes. Compared with individuals who did not seek help at all, those who sought help from a religious or spiritual advisor were more likely later to attempt suicide. Black LGBTs were also more likely than White or Latino LGBTs to seek treatment in religious or spiritual settings prior to a suicide attempt.

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Speakers:
Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D., Williams Senior Scholar of Public Policy, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law
Abbe Land, Executive Director, The Trevor Project
Ann Haas, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Rev. Delman Coates, Ph.D., Senior Pastor, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church

Discussant:
Peter Goldblum, Ph.D., Professor, Director of the Center for LGBTQ Evidence-based Applied Research (CLEAR), Palo Alto University

About:
Dr. Meyer will summarize recent research showing that, at least in the past, few LGBT people sought help prior to attempting suicide and when LGBT people did seek help it was not effective in preventing suicide attempts. Study respondents who sought mental health or medical treatment at some time prior to their suicide attempt (or, among those who did not attempt suicide, prior to the age when suicide might have been attempted) were as likely as respondents who did not seek any mental health treatment to have a suicide attempt or serious suicide attempt after this time. However, counseling from a religious or spiritual advisor was associated with worse outcomes. Compared with individuals who did not seek help at all, those who sought help from a religious or spiritual advisor were more likely later to attempt suicide.

Ms. Land will discuss the role of professionals and trained peer counselors in suicide prevention, especially related to LGBT youth. She will also describe preventive trainings, programs, and model policies offered by The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT and questioning young people ages 13-24.

Dr. Haas will discuss advances and challenges in research of prevention of suicide in LGBT populations.

Rev. Coates is Senior Pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD and President of the Black Church Center for Justice and Equality, committed to reclaiming the social justice tradition of the Black church. Rev. Coates believes in keeping the legacy of African American Christian activism and the responsibility of progressive faith leaders to further Christian love and American democracy. He will talk about why he believes it is important for African American pastors to dispel the myth the bible condemns homosexuality and the role of LGBT individuals in the Black church.

Dr. Goldblum is the co-editor of Youth Suicide and Bullying: Challenges and Strategies for Prevention and Intervention (forthcoming September 2014, Oxford University Press). Dr. Goldblum will discuss the four presentations and share from his own extensive experience as director of a clinic that specializes in working with LGBT people.
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Attitude is Altitude “No Arms No Legs No Worries”

sliderI have a HUGE passion for reaching out to teenagers about bullying throughout the world. In every country teenagers are experiencing the mental, emotional and spiritual battles that result from being teased and bullied. I attempted suicide at the age of ten because I was teased and became convinced my life had no purpose… Today, I live for the purpose of encouraging people around the world with my message of faith, hope and love.

This world needs stronger young leaders who will stand up against bullying. My company, Attitude is Altitude, held a camp for 53 teenage students in southern California in 2011 and we had a great time discussing this issue and working on ways to out an end to bullying while increasing acceptance, understanding and love among all people. Soon, we will put up a report on our meeting done by FOX News San Diego.

I believe in the power of unity. Our team at Attitude is Altitude is constantly brainstorming to combat bullying especially in the United States.

In March of 2013, we will participate in a statewide anti-bullying campaign with Governor GARY R. Herbert of Utah. I will be speaking in that state to two middle schools and two high schools. I will deliver a one-hour keynote speech about bullying, self-esteem, dreaming big and never giving up. Governor Herbert has deemed that every middle and high School would tune into the online live stream of this event so that all students will benefit.

We are very excited about this event and we will update you with any news to come on this web site and on my Facebook/Twitter platforms.

DVD: Nick Vujicic wants you to feel good about yourself. In his DVD titled, “No Arms, No Legs, No Worries!” Nick encourages audiences to focus on the positive and TO realize their true potential.

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Visit Nick and read his incredible journey of life, a story like no other I have seen or read.

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Prince Harry: I might experiment with gay men if my relationship doesn’t work out

prince-harryPrince Harry has said he might try relationships with men if he “changes his mind” about women, while on a night out with his current girlfriend.
Harry and his girlfriend, Cressida Bonas, were taking a night out together at The Rum Kitchen in Notting Hill on Friday, when Harry was slipped the phone number of Vincenzo Ianniello.
He reportedly accepted the number happily, and promised to call Mr Ianniello if he changed his mind about dating women.
Mr Ianniello later tweeted about the exchange: “I gave Prince Harry my number tonight, he promised he’ll call me if he changes his mind about women. Or men. #epicwin”
Last week Conservative peer Lord True suggested the law needs to be changed to prepare for a married lesbian Queen who conceives using donor sperm.
Friends close to James Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s younger brother, dismissed rumours that he is gay but also say he’s not “bothered” by them.
In November 2012 Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William, wrote a letter supporting the Terrence Higgins Trust in its campaign against HIV.
Earlier in 2012 Harry came under fire for using the word “queer”, but was defended by Peter Tatchell, who pointed out that Harry has made a video diary in which he kisses and licks the face of another male soldier.

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Massachusetts’ Anti-Bullying Law: It Got Better & Students Get A Say!

pictured: MA Governor Deval Patrick signs improved anti-bullying legislation into law
pictured: MA Governor Deval Patrick signs improved anti-bullying legislation into law

Youth hear over and over again that “it gets better”. And it does. In fact, the Massachusetts Anti-Bullying law got even better last week when it was strengthened in three key ways. This is a great step forward for Massachusetts youth. Under the amended law: School anti-bullying plans must prohibit bullying someone based on certain personal characteristics, including actual or perceived LGBTQ-status, as well as their friends and the children of LGBTQ couples.

Each school’s anti-bullying plan must recognize that certain students are more likely to be targets of bullying or harassment because of personal characteristics. The law specifically identifies sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as characteristics that make someone likely to be bullied. It also protects someone who is perceived to have one of these characteristics as well as someone who associates with someone who is or is perceived to have one of these characteristics.

This “association” language really boosts the protection of the law. It makes sure that someone who hangs out with their LGBTQ friend during school is protected, and it protects children of LGBTQ parents because they “associate with” their parents, too.
Other characteristics identified in the law are: race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, socioeconomic status, homelessness, academic status, physical appearance, pregnant or parenting status, mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability.

  • Schools must report bullying data to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

This new law holds schools accountable by requiring schools to report bullying data to DESE annually.

Data that must be reported includes:

  • the number of reported allegations of bullying or retaliation;
  • the number and nature of incidents where schools found that bullying or retaliation happened;
  • the number of students disciplined for engaging in bullying or retaliation.
  • any other information required by the DESE.

With this data, DESE can compare school districts, examine how often bullying is alleged but not substantiated, and determine the number of students disciplined. By requiring schools to report the nature of the bullying, we’ll get data about bullying and LGBTQ people.

DESE will annually report statewide data that identifies trends and areas for improvement. DESE also is empowered to investigate bullying and, if a covered school is found not to have properly enforced its prevention plan, DESE may enforce the prevention plan or take other appropriate actions.

Students get a say!

DESE will be developing a student survey to gather data on what students think about bullying in their school. Students will be surveyed about school climate and the prevalence, nature and severity of bullying in schools. DESE can compare the student survey results with the school’s reports on bullying. This will be an important reality check for schools and DESE.

The survey will be administered at least once every four years with the first survey to be in the 2016 school year.

Get more information about what you can do about bullying in your school on our youth rights website.

If you need help or more information, contact GLAD Answers at www.GLADAnswers.org

April 30, 2014 By Vickie Henry, Senior Staff Attorney GLAD

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Uganda gay teen commits suicide over anti-gay law

At least 17 gay people, with the majority of them being under the age of 25, have attempted to kill themselves over Uganda parliament introducing the anti-gay law.Uganda_President_Anti-Homosexuality_Bill_protest_3_0_0_0
A Uganda gay teen has committed suicide over the homophobic law, it was reported today (7 April).
The young man, who we will call Denis, overdosed on pills and swallowed rat poison around a month ago.
For the past few weeks, he showed little signs of recovery as he slipped in and out of consciousness. He also lost his ability to speak.
Last Thursday (3 April), Denis was pronounced dead. He was just 17 years old.
Pepe Julian Onziema, a Uganda LGBTI activist, paid tribute to Denis saying he was ‘gone too soon’.
He told GSN Denis was the son of Muslim parents who consider homosexuals to be ‘proof of sin itself’ and ‘not people’.
‘This is the psychological effect of the anti-gay law,’ Onziema said. ‘It is affecting young people the most.’
The Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was made law in February, punishes homosexuality with up to life in prison. Promoting gay rights and refusing to report gay people to the police is also illegal.
Gay rights activists have said they have heard of at least 17 LGBTI people who have attempted to kill themselves over the law. It is unknown how many succeeded in their attempt.
Onziema called on Ugandan LGBTIs to keep safe and to seek help wherever they can, such as on social media.
‘It makes me sad that my community is unsafe. It’s intentionally put at risk,’ he said.
‘It’s like standing by the roadside and being pushed in front of a speeding car. That is what the president has done to us.’ 07 April 2014 | By Joe Morgan

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Dentist gives gay hate crime victim expensive dental care for free

Man was left with a broken lip and nine missing teeth after a brutal attack during gay pride week in Austin, Texas in October 2012.

Photo via kvue.com
Photo via kvue.com
It’s just been hard on the inside more for me than the outside, not because of how people see me, but how I feel about myself.’A victim of a gay hate crime has received a six-figure oral reconstruction surgery for free after nine of his teeth were knocked out. In October 2012, during gay pride week in Austin, Texas, Andrew Oppelman and Nick Soret were severely beaten while waiting for a slice of pizza at a food truck. The alleged attacker, Lambert Borgardt accused Soret of hitting on him and was caught by a security camera striking Oppelman in the face, completely knocking out nine of his teeth and leaving him in serious need of oral surgery. Bogardt fled the scene but was later indicted with third degree felony assault.
Dr Gary Cash, a local Austin dentist, read the dreadful story on a news website, and was left deeply disturbed.
Speaking to KVUE.com, he said: ‘I contacted the reporter and said “I’d like to meet this person, and I can maybe help them”.‘People have been so warm and welcoming to me here, I figured that’s not the way someone should be treated from out of town.’
For the past year and a half, Dr. Cash has been providing Oppelman with up to six figures worth of oral reconstruction procedures completely free of charge.
The dentist wanted to give back to the city of Austin and the people who have been ‘so warm and welcoming’ to his practice.
Oppelman couldn’t wait to see his new smile and leave this hurtful experience behind: ‘As soon as they were in and he gave me the first look, it seemed like a river just washed over all my insecurities and washed over all my hurt and a lot of the damage that has been done inside and out,’ he said.
The gay hate crime victim is now healing physically and emotionally.
He posted on his Facebook: ‘As of right now I have had thousands of dollars in dental work done and a lot more to come. My spirit has been broken but because of the support I am on the mend.’ To watch the full story, click here Article posted on March 7, 2014 | By Anna D’Alessiogaystarnews-logo
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Blackpool teen has teeth smashed and face pummelled in alleged homophobic attack

A student from Blackpool suffered damage to his teeth and face in an assault which he claims was motivated by homophobia.Kid teeth Lancashire police say they are currently investigating the incident although they cannot confirm if it was of homophobic intent.
Richard Scott Kennedy published a photo of himself on Facebook looking battered and bruised following an attack by several individuals which happened on Tuesday after leaving a nightclub in Preston.
He wrote:
Here is my face after a homophobic attack, 4 of my teeth are gone, not fallen out but deep inside my gums and cheek, one is sitting under my cheek inside my gum on the right side bottom of my nose. My face is swollen and it was worse yesterday, both my knees are badly injured and I struggle to walk and my whole face is constantly throbbing and I’m now on 4 tablets a day for pain and infection and may require surgery to sort the damage.
All of this and what was their motive? because of my f**king sexuality. something that doesn’t concern ANYONE else minus me and the person I fall for, either man or woman. A sex life is private and has nothing to do with no one, needless to say it’s absolutely disgraceful to violently attack someone because of who they are. My confidence has gone; I’m utterly embarrassed to be seen in public, the only reason I am putting this picture up is because I want you to see me as an example. An example why homophobia is wrong and it’s disgusting that it’s still around in 2014.
PinkNews has reached out to Richard for further details about the assault.

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Toronto Rejects Rob Ford’s Objections to flying “Pride flag” during “Olympics”

The rainbow flag flies at Toronto city hall. Mayor Rob Ford had ordered the flag taken down but later reversed his position.
The rainbow flag flies at Toronto city hall. Mayor Rob Ford had ordered the flag taken down but later reversed his position.
In another pointed jab at the gay community, Doug Ford accused the mother of a gay son of “bullying” for accusing Rob Ford of homophobia. Rob Ford has begun his mayoral campaign by saying that he deliberately avoids the Pride festival and vocally opposing the city’s decision to fly a rainbow flag during the Olympics in solidarity with the gay community in Russia. Doug Ford, his brother’s campaign manager, has complained that Pride involves “buck naked men.” On the second episode of their YouTube campaign show, released on Tuesday, Rob Ford read aloud a letter from a Scarborough mother who said she is hurt by his actions and called him “homophobic.” “This is about being patriotic to our country,” Ford said to the camera. “I am not homophobic. I will go to anyone’s house, anyone’s place, to help them out. I take offence when people say that to me.” Doug Ford said: “You know how many gay friends that we have? People that have worked on our campaign. So you may want to try to bully us into things, but — that’s how I feel sometimes, Rob. I feel like I’ve been bullied into something.” He added: “Don’t try to put a gun to anyone’s head that disagrees with you. It doesn’t mean that they hate gays. It’s just a bunch of bullying, a bunch of bullies coming after you.”He added: “Don’t try to put a gun to anyone’s head that disagrees with you. It doesn’t mean that they hate gays. It’s just a bunch of bullying, a bunch of bullies coming after you.”
The frequency with which the Fords have criticized the gay community early in the campaign suggests a strategy to appeal to social conservatives. The comments have coincided with several visits by Rob Ford to conservative churches and come soon after he began making religious references in speeches and interviews.
Since he was stripped of most of his mayoral powers in November, Ford has returned to the rhetoric of the outsider he once was. In the YouTube episode, he calmly said he wants 39 of the 44 current city councillors defeated in the election.

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Ottawa Teen’s School Bullying Musical Getting Wider Audience

17-year-old Elliot Wehrle’s musical Break Before Bend to play at Centrepointe Theatre

Elliot Wehrle, 17, started writing the musical Break Before Bend when he was in Grade 10. (Kate Porter/CBC)
Elliot Wehrle, 17, started writing the musical Break Before Bend when he was in Grade 10. (Kate Porter/CBC)
An Ottawa teenager is about to take his musical about high school bullying to an Ottawa stage, and hopes the fact that it’s written for teenagers by a teenager will help its message resonate. Elliot Wehrle, 17, has been working on Break Before Bend since he was in Grade 10. He composed all 23 songs and wrote the lyrics.
“For the last 10 years I’ve just been writing songs, starting out with little nothings,” said Wehrle, who’s been taking piano lessons since he was small. It was after his band took part in a school production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar that Wehrle was inspired to think bigger. “The idea of a musical was just so enchanting to me. It was this grail,” he said.

Musical about gay teen coming out

Jamie Hubley, 15, commit suicide Saturday Oct, 2011after battling depression and being bullied over the fact he was the only openly gay teenager at his west Ottawa high school. R.I.P little Brother
Jamie Hubley, 15, commit suicide Saturday Oct, 2011after battling depression and being bullied over the fact he was the only openly gay teenager at his west Ottawa high school. R.I.P little Brother
Wehrle’s musical follows a gay teenager named Jesse, who decides to come out. The character tells his best friend and looks to her for support, but is ultimately let down when she doesn’t stand up for him against his bullies. While there have been high-profile cases of bullying in the Ottawa area in recent years, Wehrle says they did not inspire his musical. Instead, he was interested in focusing on the role of the bystander in high school life to reach a larger population of teens. “As a student, the most frustrating thing is not necessarily the bullying, although that is very aggravating, but the lack of action to stop that bullying from other students,” said Wehrle. “That’s why I’m turning to all these student bystanders who have that power to really change these bullies, or inhibit these bullies, but do nothing.” Wehrle’s Break Before Bend was performed in December for Grade 12 students at Mother Teresa High School in Barrhaven. Members of his cast say its raw, serious themes led to many discussions in school hallways. They have also seen fellow students speak out against bullies since the production was performed. “It’s really cool to see the impact that it’s had,” said Sam Turgeon-Brabazon, who plays the bully.
Wehrle believes his message is able to get through because his musical is penned by someone their own age, rather than by an adult. “For better or worse teenagers have this thing where they only really seem to listen to other teenagers,” said Wehrle. “There’s just a relationship there, a kind of unison there.”

Play coming to Centrepointe Theatre in March

Centrepointe Theatre
Centrepointe Theatre
Wehrle and his cast felt the production should be seen more widely, so they rented Centrepointe Theatre in Ottawa for March 18 and 19. “I don’t know a teenager in Ottawa who can’t relate this story to something else they’ve thought of in their own life,” Turgeon-Brabazon said. Through ticket sales, they hope to raise funds for Ottawa’s Youth Services Bureau. And while teens are the primary target audience, Wehrle thinks adults would also get something out of Break Before Bend. “I hope … it’ll help them see inside the tornado of these teenagers’ minds, help them understand a bit, and maybe break down that wall that separates them,” Wehrle said.
By Kate Porter, CBC News Posted: Feb 18, 2014
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Jamie Hubley was a figure skater and the only openly gay boy in his school
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Chris Salvatore It Gets Better (Jan 2014)

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Chris Salvatore (born May 22, 1985) is an American actor, singer-songwriter, model, and gay-rights activist. He is currently sitting at #41 on After Elton’s top 50 gay celebrities. Growing up chris_salvatore-itin the small town of Richboro, Pennsylvania, he spent his days singing, acting, and performing for his family. By the time he was 15, young Chris had already written his first song. After completing his high school education, Salvatore began his career in 2005 during his attendance at Berklee College of Music in Boston. There, he studied vocal performance and soon began recording songs. After some time at Berklee, Salvatore moved to New York City in 2006 to try his hand at acting. Once there, he enrolled in The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and realized his talent and love for film. Salvatore completed his schooling and began preparing for the big leagues in Los Angeles.

He was contacted by a casting director for Q. Allan Brocka’s Eating Out film series and within the week, Salvatore moved to California to star as “Zack” in Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat (2009). chris-salvatore43He continued the role in two additional films in the series: Eating Out 4: Drama Camp (2011) and Eating Out 5: The Open Weekend (2012).
Chris Salvatore is known for his single “Dirty Love” (released in 2010). Recently, Salvatore has been uploading short musical covers of songs he and his fans like to his YouTube channel (which currently has over 12,000 subscribers).

In addition to song covers, he spends his time evangelizing equality in the LGBT community. Some of his videos include messages for the It Gets Better Campaign while others are simply kind and uplifting messages of hope. His latest efforts include the singles ‘What You Do To Me‘ (2012) and the ballad ‘Hurricane (2012). Salvatore’s songs have been featured on MTV’s show Paris Hilton’s My New BFF and in the movie credits of Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat. In August 2013 Chris Salvatore was named “GymPaws Fit Guy of the Week” in recognition of being a positive role model to his fans and embracing and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices.

Chris Salvatore on YouTube

Chris Salvatore on facebook

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The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, shows his support for the It Gets Better campaign to support young LGBT people in Scotland and further afield. The Scottish Government firmly believes that there is no place in Scotland for prejudice or discrimination and is committed to improving the lives of LGBT people.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights {Video Format}

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The 56th Grammys 2014: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Ryan Lewis and Macklemore pose in the press room during the Grammy awards in Los Angeles on 26 January. Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage
Ryan Lewis and Macklemore pose in the press room during the Grammy awards in Los Angeles on 26 January. Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Rap purists were shocked by the duo’s sweep of the hip-hop categories, but Macklemore’s triumph shows how the music genre is seeping into pop culture
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s track “Same Love” a song about gay rights which the pair performed at the ceremony backed with 33 gay and straight weddings, Macklemore explains how he’s really not gay, but that it’s OK for other people to be, but really he’s bringing the LGBT struggle into the homes of those who misunderstand them, which is a great thing.
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Elton John: Anti-Gay law is ‘Damaging and Divisive’ to Gay Russians

EltonReflecting on time spent in Russia since the passage of a law which bans the promotion of “non-traditional relationships”, Elton John has written on the “deeply dangerous and divisive” nature of the law.
Sir Elton took to the stage in Moscow on 6 December, spoke of his support for LGBT rights, and dedicated the evening to murdered gay Russian Vladislav Tornovoi.
He has now written an article published on his official website, which reflects on having spent time with LGBT Russians, and notes the damaging effect of the law.
HIV awareness and prevention campaigns have been shut down since the legislation was signed into law in June by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and violence against gay Russians has dramatically increased, he writes.
The full statement by Elton John is available to view below:

ejStatementI am deeply grateful for the support of the Russian people who have welcomed and accepted me in their country ever since I first visited in 1979.
On my last visit, in December 2013, I wondered whether the new legislation banning “homosexual propaganda” might have changed that. It hadn’t. I still felt the same warmth and welcome from the audiences that I have felt every time I have been in Russia.
On that trip I met with members of the LGBT community in Moscow. Although I was still welcomed as an openly gay foreigner, I wanted to really understand at first-hand what difference the legislation had made to Russian LGBT in their own country. What I heard reinforced all the media stories that have been circling since the propaganda bill became federal law: that vicious homophobia has been legitimised by this legislation and given extremists the cover to abuse people’s basic human rights.
The people I met in Moscow – gay men and lesbians in their 20′s, 30′s and 40′s – told me stories about receiving threats from vigilante groups who would ‘cure’ them of homosexuality by dousing them with urine or beating them up. One young man was stalked outside a gay club by someone posing as a taxi driver who tried to garrotte him with a guitar string because he was a “sodomite”. Everyone shared stories of verbal and physical abuse – at work, in bars and restaurants or in the street – since the legislation came into force last June. And, some of the vital work providing HIV prevention information to the gay community has been labelled “homosexual propaganda” and shut down.
It was very clear to me that, although foreigners like myself who are visiting Russia are not affected by this new law (and President Putin has recently confirmed this), it is a very different story for those living inside the country. As Maria Maksakova told her fellow Russian MPs last month: “We are seeing extremely negative consequences as a result of this law, with the growth of hate crimes.”
President Putin asserts that this was not the intention, but it is undoubtedly the effect that this law has had by promoting misunderstanding and ignorance. In particular, it is very disappointing that the law explicitly links homosexuality with child sex abuse, which countless studies have shown to be conclusively wrong.
The people I met in Moscow were decent, kind, patriotic men and women who had no thought of forcing their sexuality on anyone. Whatever the intention of Russia’s homosexuality and paedophilia propaganda laws, I am absolutely clear from my own personal experience that it is proving deeply dangerous to the LGBT community and deeply divisive to Russian society. I would welcome the opportunity to introduce President Putin to some Russians who deserve to be heard, and who deserve to be treated in their own country with the same respect and warm welcome that I received on my last visit.

Elton John

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Historic Ruling: Judge orders Anti-Gay “Scott Lively” to stand trial for Crimes Against Humanity

Scott_Lively_5Extremist anti-gay US pastor is accused of engineering the Uganda ‘Kill The Gays’ bill, saying LGBT people are the ‘new Nazis’ and recommending Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ laws.For the first time, a federal US judge has ruled a persecution of LGBT people is a crime against humanity. This sets a precedent ensuring the fundamental human rights of LGBTI people are protected under international law. It comes as a Ugandan LGBTI advocacy organization filed a lawsuit against prominent US anti-gay extremist Scott Lively. Accused of helping to play a part in the persecution, arrest and murder of gay people in Uganda, Lively’s lawyers requested to dismiss the lawsuit. Michael Ponsor, the US District Judge in Springfield, Massachusetts, said: ‘Widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms.’ ‘The history and current existence of discrimination against LGBTI people is precisely what qualifies them as a distinct targeted group eligible for protection under international law.
‘The fact that a group continues to be vulnerable to widespread, systematic persecution in some parts of the world simply cannot shield one who commits a crime against humanity from liability.The lawsuit states Lively collaborated with key Ugandan government officials and religious leaders that allegedly resulted in the introduction of the ‘Kill The Gays’ bill. The founder of Abiding Truth Ministries, Lively has made a career of stirring up anti-gay feelings in the USA and across the world. He co-authored The Pink Swastika, which suggests ‘homosexuals were the truth inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities’ and the rainbow flag is a symbol of the ‘end times’. In 2007, Lively also toured 50 cities in Russia where he is accused of recommending a ban on ‘gay propaganda’. Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, said: ‘Today’s ruling is a significant victory for human rights everywhere but most especially for LGBTI Ugandans who are seeking accountability from those orchestrating our persecution.’
While the court battle is certainly not over, it will allow the Ugandan group to seek justice for what they believe Lively has done. US law allows foreign citizens to sue for violations of international law in US federal courts under the Alien Tort Statute.

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Study: 40 per cent of young LGBT people in England have contemplated suicide

The Youth Chances Project is the largest social research study into young LGBT people in England.
Youth_Chances_project_logo1 (2)
According to a recent major report, more than half of young LGBT people in England have suffered mental health issues, and 40 per cent have considered suicide, emphasizing a growing concern that schools and health services are failing gay teenagers.
According to the report obtained by the Independent, young gay people in England are facing a generational mental health crisis as schools continue to neglect LGBT issues.
The findings of the Youth Chances Project, to be published on Monday, show that 50 per cent have self-harmed and 42 per cent have sought medical help for anxiety or depression.
Led by the charity Metro, the project was the largest social research study into young LGBT people in England, with more than 7,000 16- to 25-year-olds asked about their experiences of education, employment, and health services, as well as relationships.
Metro’s acting chief executive Dr Greg Ussher said: “We are failing LGBTQ young people. The clear message is that they are badly served. What they want most is emotional support and they are not getting it.
“By the age of 13 most are already sure or are questioning their sexuality or gender identity, so we need to ensure all families and schools are equipped to give that support.”
While one in five LGBT pupils admitted to being the victim of physical attacks at school, most did not report them and only a small amount felt the issue was resolved when they did.
Only a quarter of respondents also said they had been taught anything at school about safer sex with a same-sex partner.
Dr Ussher warned that if schools failed to act it would lead to a “hugely increased risk of bullying and abuse; isolation and rejection – all leading to significantly increased levels of depression, self-harm and suicide”.
He added: “We must acknowledge we are facing a crisis. Schools have a key role to play in providing inclusive environments for all young people with zero tolerance of bullying and discrimination and by eliminating the fear of it through education and support.”

pink_news_logo (2)LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell said the project’s findings “should be a wake-up call for the Education Secretary, Michael Gove.
“Every school should be required to teach sex and relationship education that addresses LGBT issues.”
http://www.terkinbydesign.ca/
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Robin Roberts Comes Out in Facebook Post

robin-roberts-at-peabody-awardsGood Morning America co-host Robin Roberts came out publicly for the first time today in a Facebook message that reflects on her health battles and expresses gratitude for the people who supported her, including her longtime girlfriend, Amber Laign. “I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together,” Roberts wrote. Roberts made headlines in May 2012 when she landed the interview with President Obama where he first announced his support for marriage equality. A month later, Roberts was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone marrow disease, which was related to treatments that followed her 2007 breast cancer diagnosis. In today’s Facebook post, Roberts also thanks her sister, who was also her bone marrow donor.
The theme of the post is gratitude.
HEART TRUTH FW10 NEW YORK 02/11/2010 “Reading this comforts me and I hope the same for you: ‘If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present,’” Roberts wrote. “At this moment I am at peace and filled with joy and gratitude.”
Roberts joins celebrities such as Wentworth Miller, Jason Collins, Michelle Rodriguez, Raven-Symoné and more who came out in 2013.
Learn more at http://www.hrc.org/comingout.
December 29, 2013 by Carolyn Simon, Associate Director of Digital Media

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An Important Message For “ALL” LGBTQI People

email-header-bl-2013-04-242013-11-12-blsurvey2
We Need BETTERLegal Volunteer Help!
I hope everyone had a great Holiday Season, as we close out the end of the year, we are still trying to get to our goal of 500 survey responses. Right now, we are still 200 responses short, so if I could please ask if you have not taken the survey, please take 3 minutes and complete the survey, it is very important to help enhance advocacy for LGBT youth..I received another response from Mr. Elliot Rozenberg the Director of BETTERLegal, please help us reach our goal, it is very important that all LGBTQI people no matter where in the world you are to Take our short 3 minute survey to help provide us with invaluable information and lend your voice to this important project. I am including a copy of Mr. Rozenberg’s email below, so please take a few minutes to take the survey, it will not only benefit LGBTQI youth, but rather make life just a little bit better for LGBTQI people’s every where, click the image above or the links provided and show your support for LGBTQI youth, have you showen your colours recently? ….Lotsa Luv cheers 🙂

Calling All BETTERLegal Volunteers!
Dear Melvin
Yesterday, you received an email from me with a link to a new survey that BETTERLegal has created to collect the data and stories necessary to advocate on behalf of the LGBT community.
Today, I am hoping that you will take the time to send the link below to your friends, family, and local organizations that want to help enhance the advocacy for LGBT youth.
Take our short 3 minute survey to help provide us with invaluable information and lend your voice to this important project.
We have already been able to collect important data that will assist us, and our partner organizations, in advoacting for new laws & policies. Help us collect as much information and reach out to as many individuals as possible to best serve the LGBT community.
Thank you for all of your hard work and for your continued support!

Sincerely,

Elliot Rozenberg
Director, BETTERLegal

You can also follow the direct link at the top of this page to take the survey any time.

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YOU!!!

pointing_fingerOne of three new 60-second TV commercials from the Church of Scientology, called “You.”
You are not your name.
Youre not your job.
Youre not the clothes you wear or the neighborhood you live in.
Youre not your fears your failures or your past.
You are hope.
You are imagination.
You are the power to change to create and to grow.
You are a spirit that will never die.
And no matter how beaten down,
you will rise again.”

KNOW YOURSELF, KNOW LIFE

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Human Rights Campaign

946551_10151730310393281_1268639255_nfrom: Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign
reply-to: “Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign”
to: terr.kinnn2@gmail.com
date: Thu, Nov 28, 2013 at 11:00 AM
subject: Thank you.
Dear Terry,
You are part of something extraordinary.
There are millions of people whose lives will be better next year – truly, tangibly better – because of what you helped achieve this year. So today, I’m writing to thank you.
This year, more than any year in history, we have seen a true shift in momentum for equality in America.
…State by state, marriage equality is becoming reality.
…Case by case, the bonds of love are triumphing over discrimination and hate.
…Vote by vote we are moving toward true fairness in the workplace.
…Step by step, we are building a nation where all people are secure in their full civil rights.
Email-Header-NarrowAnd it’s all because of you, Terry. History is not made by bearing witness. It is made by taking action.
You have generously proven your willingness to see this struggle through to the finish – until the day when every young person in this country will grow up knowing true equality, freedom, and dignity. We know that day will come. We will not rest until it does. And when you look back, you will know you were on the right side of history.
From all of us at HRC – thank you. May you have a warm and happy Thanksgiving.
Yours,
Chad

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Kick Down the Door of Fear

Thomas MaxwellI don’t think we need to define what fear means to us. I feel like the more we define what Love means to us, it simply opens the up door to a dark room lighting everything inside, rather than us trying to run around the room with a flashlight. I don’t think that’s going to work really well, and I think its only going to scare us more than we already are. And every time we open up “this door” in one aspect of our lives, it ALLOWS God to come and fill us, “I Won’t Ever Stop Loving” by Simple Tom.

Fill us full of Love.

Fill us full of passion and inspiration and peace and its said that EVERYTHING that is good, is God, which is also different “distortions” or derivatives of Love that we’ve assigned different names for.

So God is Love.

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So EVERY single aspect of you that has fear is like “a door” that has not been opened yet, which is essentially a part of you that your not allowing God or Love to fill. What this means is that to allow God to fill our lives full of abundance and Love, we must face our fears, or “UNVEIL THE DARKNESS”, to release that which we are resisting or fearful of. This only happens though when we make the CONSCIOUS CHOICE to “open up that door” and face our fears. This will drive your EGO crazy, but it has to be done to reconnect with God and with Love, and to HEAL those parts of your life.
Know that its ok that your scared. I’m terrified some days of facing different situations.
But REMEMBER and KNOW, that as soon as you KICK that door down you will feel 100x better, And since we defined God as Love, passion and inspiration… I’d say its a pretty positive and worth while decision.

Cheers,
And have an amazing day!
Nov 27, 2013 by Thomas Maxwell

P.S. Remember that You ARE loved more than you can even imagine! Don’t ever EVER forget that. You literally cannot even conceive of how much you are Loved, Just thought you should know that.Love heart
If you have an extra minute or two, please check out this excellent tune by this extremely talented young man, Thomas Maxwell. Lotsa Luv is all you need cheers 🙂

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To Russia With “LOVE”, From Melvin

unnamed996989_779320625418777_754825273_nAs you navigate the darkest hours of life, know that you are not alone, that your Brother’s & Sister’s around the world are standing with you, we feel your pain, we see your pain and as a community we must remain strong, to stand up for who we are and who we love. We shall not rest until we are “ALL FREE & EQUAL”, I pray for you every day that the evil that has bestow itself upon you, weathers away and dies for one great man said “No one is born hating another person, People are taught to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can learn to love for “LOVE” comes more naturally to the human heart than it’s opposite”. {Nelson Mandela} Lotsa Luv from my home to yours..Cheers

Every day we hear more stories about the struggles of LGBT people in Russia. While we remain dedicated to sending messages of hope to LGBT youth, we are thrilled to expand our reach further with a new initiative, “Вы прекрасны” (You are beautiful). This collection of videos brings together our affiliates and partners from nine countries in an effort to let youth in Russia know that they are beautiful, valued, important, and supported by people everywhere.

View English Site and Video’sView Russian Site and Video”s
Right now in Russia, a law banning the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors” prevents the estimated 2.5 million LGBT youth in the country from receiving the support they need and the resources they require to live healthy and rewarding lives.
We hope the videos you watch today are the first of many more to come. We encourage you to add your own message to the collection and will do our best to translate your words of hope and strength into Russian. Together we can demonstrate solidarity on a global scale, giving lasting support to our young LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia during this difficult time.
Sincerely,
Ted Farley
Executive Director
It Gets Better Project

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It Gets Better (November 13)

cropped-email-header-2011-12-291In October 2010, following an alarming spike in the suicides of bullied gay kids across the country, eight mental health professionals in Chicago gathered to respond. These mental health professionals have worked extensively within the gay and lesbian community. And they have something important to say to you, your families and your friends. Filmed and edited by Michael Stewart.

It started for GMCLA with this video. The movement grew dramatically. We have taken this video to the next step: it gets better Tour. On October 24th, 2010, members of GMCLA, along with their friends and supporters, gathered at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles to sing a song of hope. This is the result of that extraordinary afternoon.

NYC nightlife legend & comedian MURRAY HILL and his friends filmed an important message for the gay kids all over the world live from the Miss LEZ Pageant at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, New York. Many queer icons were in the house to share the love, like Michael Musto, World Famous *BOB*, JD Samson, Silas Howard, Bitch, Sarah Greenwood, and many others. All walks of life were present, loud and proud. Overheard in the audience, “It doesn’t get better, it gets f*%king awesome.” Video shot and edited by Jackson Memenza. Get to know Mister Showbiz.

The Columbus Children’s Choir and the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus from Ohio join together to raise their voices for the It Gets Better campaign. Reflect as they sing the lyrics, “Cause we are beautiful no matter what they say. Yes, words won’t bring us down” Please support www.itgetsbetter.org and www.thetrevorproject.org Dr. Sandra Mathias is the artistic director of the Columbus Children’s Choir. Their mission is Artistic Excellence and Personal Growth
through Music Education and Vocal Performance. Dr. Timothy Sarsany is the artistic director of the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus. Their mission is Voices Raised, Lives Changed.

“Victims” is a single from UK band Culture Club‘s album Colour by Numbers, released in 1983. As with most early Culture Club singles, the song is about Boy George’s then publicly unknown relationship with drummer Jon Moss. Although the group’s previous single “Karma Chameleon” had been a massive hit throughout the world, “Victims” was only issued in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, and Australia. It peaked at #3 on the UK Singles Chart. In Ireland it peaked at #2, and in Australia it peaked at #4. Despite this global success, it was never released as a single in the United States.

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The Day I Died

THE DAY I DIED A film about a secret video that destroys the friendship between two teens and leads one to the brink of a tragic decision.
BULLYING NEEDS TO STOP 3.2 MILLION children in grades sixth through ten, nearly ONE out of every SIX kids, are bullied each year.
THE DAY I DIED
This film will be an engaging and poignant story that surfaces the honest and raw truth behind bullying. It’s a story that should be told. The script, from writer ADAM C. BLOOM, will be directed by MICHAEL EMANUEL and produced by MICHAEL EMANUEL and DAVID REIVERS. It will be executive produced by TED STANFORD, GLEN REYNOLDS and CORBIN BLEU, from HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL and DANCING WITH THE STARS, who will also star in a pivotal role as the first year drama teacher who serves as the moral rudder in our movie.
PLEASE READ – AN IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT OUR FUNDING
We know that we’re asking for a lot of money… $500,000. We also know that’s a steep mountain to climb and that’s why we think it’s important for you to know that we are dedicated to getting this movie made, one way or the other. Not reaching that goal will not stop us. Yes, in a perfect world, we would raise the full $500,000 and have all the funds we need to go out and make this film the way we want. However, if we don’t reach our goal, we can, and will, use whatever we do raise here on Indiegogo and put it towards this anti-bullying cause and getting this story told. This story and this cause is something that we’re passionate about and if you’re reading this, chances are you’re passionate about this, too. We sincerely hope that you consider donating to this cause and, if you do, do know that we’ll be using every last penny towards making THE DAY I DIED. We will make a change!
THE STORY
16-years-old Cameron is struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality. He is too ashamed to share what he’s going through with his prejudiced father, or even with his best friend Kelsie. She is outgrowing their friendship, and so desperate to fit in with the popular crowd that she fails to notice the physical and emotional abuse Cameron is enduring at school from other boys who suspect he’s gay.
When Kelsie stumbles on Cameron during a moment of sexual exploration with another boy, she secretly captures the moment on her cell phone. In an attempt to gain favor with the popular kids, she betrays Cameron by showing the tape to a fellow classmate. The tape spreads like wildfire, and Cameron is now the victim of brutal bullying. As his world seemingly collapses around him, Cameron is so desperate for relief that he is drawn to the brink of a tragic decision.
WHY INDIEGOGO?
We chose INDIEGOGO for two reasons. Firstly, if successful, INDIEGOGO allows us the creative freedom to make the film the way we feel it needs to be made – based on reality. Bullying is malicious, anxiety-provoking, and can be deadly. We want this film to represent that, and in turn, bring awareness and positive change to schools and communities around the world.
Secondly, INDIEGOGO’s crowdsourcing format allows us to connect with our audience in a unique way. Through both our INDIEGOGO and Facebook page, we look forward to hearing from and working with our backers and supporters to both raise awareness of our film, as well as bullying at large. This will be a collaborative effort and we NEED YOUR HELP!
INDIEGOGO is the best funding platform available, and because of its success, we have been so fortunate to witness many great art, music and film projects brought to life. This film, The Day I Died, is as much yours as it is ours… and we need you on our team. The more people that get involved, the more people we’ll reach, which means the bigger change we’ll make! Please help us by donating and spreading the word. Share this link; “Like” us on Facebook; tweet about us; email your friends, family and co-workers!
Together we’ll make a difference in the lives of those victim to bullying.
THE TEAM
If you want more information, want to read about our team or if you’d like to contact us, please go to our website or find us on Facebook.

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In Good & God We Trust

hands godThank you so much for signing up to volunteer for BETTERLegal. We are happy to announce that our first online training will be held on Saturday, June 1st. As we get closer to that day, we will announce a specific time and provide more details to you. Since the program launched on April 2nd, we have had over 100 law students and lawyers like you sign up to participate to use it gets better videos and materials to help support the work that legal services organizations are doing for the LGBT community. In addition, we have already partnered with Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Southern California, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund and we are working on partnerships with over 20 other organizations who have reached out to us. We are glad to have you on our team and look forward to the amazing things that we will accomplish together! Sincerely, Elliot Rozenberg, Director, BETTERLegal
For more information and to find out how it works.
god1There are those of us that have a burning or yearning, the thoughts of what excatly is going through the mind at that very moment, putting it bluntly, they shoot themselves, take an overdose or hang themselves, it’s that moment when it will all finally stop, you will be free finally, that’s how bad it can be, believing something so horrific, is the only answer, only to find yourself very dead as well, they end their life (Pain). I honestly can say I know, because at the age of just 19 years old, “I” a failed suicide attempt, as they say “Been There-Done That” I was there and know all the terrible feelings of hurt and pain, and how much you pray for it to stop but never did, until I realized that it was GOD who decided my faith at that moment, he said no my son not now I have things I need you to do for me, but let it be known, I will not decide for you how your life will be, Good or Bad?, nor will I make life wonderful for you, throns of Christ“No” I won’t, as only you have that power, but if you trust me, let me lead the way, I will see you have all that you will need, courage, strength, knowledge and Guidance, you may not see me but I will be at your side no matter what, as long as you follow me you will succeed. at this point I’m Feeling really bad, for my sin and cannot look God in the eye, with tears in my eyes asking GOD for forgiveness, saying over and over how truly sorry I was..he said do not be sorry my son, for I have an abundance of forgiveness just follow me, so I did! the crossA difficult task for some but if you really tried to replace feelings of HATE with LOVE and understanding, you will see it’s a positive step in changing the world. We all have the ability to Hate, we also have the ability to love, always try to choose Love because LoveWorks. In closing, I am sincerely honored for the opportunity to be of assistance and associated with “BetterLegal” and the “It Gets Better Project” So I want to share my sincere gratitude and say thank you very much to Mr. Dan Savage, creator of the “It Gets Better Project” and Mr. Elliot Rozenberg, Director, “BetterLegal” for enabling me this opportunity to participate and offer my assistance for the wellness and security of all LGBTQI people’s …Lotsa Luv 🙂

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empower-me

It Gets Better – In Memory of Jamie Hubley

JAMIE-HEADER

People who are in a position to make it better — elected officials — but who have chosen, over the years, to make it worse, can come around. ~ Dan Savage ~


downloadIn response to the tragic suicide of Jamie Hubley, the 15-year-old gay teen from Ottawa, I advocated that it was time for Canadian politicians to be more vocal in their support for struggling LGBT youth. I suggested a simple step they might take was to join their American political counterparts and make a video for the It Gets Better campaign.
They did.
In the three days since the video was uploaded it has been viewed over 12,000 times. It has also been exposed to numerous criticisms. Most of the complaints I’ve heard and read centre around the individuals in the video and their history of engagement with, or against, Canada’s LGBT community.

Numerous MPs in the video voted against same-sex marriage. Rona Ambrose and Vic Toews voted against gay marriage in 2005 and voted again in the 2006 motion in the House of Commons to restore the traditional definition of marriage. Of those in the video, I believe only Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird voted against the motion.
So the challenge then becomes, what to make of a bunch of historically anti-gay MPs all of sudden attempting to reach out to gay teens.

Is it hypocritical? Does it redeem them of their past? Has Vic Toews disavowed his comment that gay marriages are “black masses” and has Alice Wong moved away from her beliefs that led to a past association with the Canadian Alliance for Social Justice and Family Values Association? The answer to all of these questions is no, but with a caveat appended on the question about hypocrisy. I believe the Conservatives were right to make the video. As Dan Savage, creator of It Gets Better, reacted”:

People who are in a position to make it better — elected officials — but who have chosen, over the years, to make it worse, can come around. It’s essential that they do. People who have advanced the cause of ignorance and bigotry and hate–people, like Vic Toews, people who have empowered the bullies–are welcome to see the error of their ways, to come around, to make amends and make it up.”

However, he adds that a video is just the start. I am not in Minister Toews’ constituency. But those who are might not be the type who advocate for his participation in anti-homophobia bullying videos. Therefore, his place in the video is significant.
It shows that, unfortunately through such a tragic event, new sets of ears are willing to listen and understand that there are very real issues faced by LGBT Canadians. This isn’t something to be dismissed; it is a national moment that must be capitalized on. Otherwise, Jamie’s suicide will have been in vain.
It is for this reason that the video is to be commended; it opens the door. And given what’s at stake, I believe that heaping criticism and labeling those in it as hypocrites will only seek to undermine the potential for real change and deter the government from meaningful engagement with the LGBT community. Instead of being outright dismissive, the question becomes, “What will come next?” Will Minister Toews and Rona Ambrose talk to their colleagues about the plight of LBGT youth and the widespread homophobia in high school hallways and online forums? Can the government act quickly on a national anti-bullying and anti-teen suicide strategy with a specific focus on homophobia and LGBT youth? Will Prime Minister Harper, like Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, make a video and highlight a commitment to these issues from the top? People’s well-placed skepticism on these questions is why the Conservative Party does not have much street cred with Canada’s LGBT community.

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