Bullying Not ExtraCurricular in Schools

Ads to Help Parents Teach Kids to Speak Up Against Bullying

Starting in October, look for television, print, and web ads aimed at parents to teach their children to get involved when the kids witness bullying in their school. The ad campaign, was created by the Ad Council, a non-profit that distributes public service announcements, and the Free to Be Foundation, that includes entertainers Marlo Thomas, author of Free to Be You and Me,,comedian Mel Brooks, and actor Alan Alda.

An Issue that Obama Administration Consider a National Priority

The ads were first seen in early August at an annual anti-bullying conference. Hosted by the Department of Education, lawmakers, educators and government officials developed a national strategy aimed at ensuring a safe, healthy learning environment for students. Attendees heard keynote speeches by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary at the summit.

Parents Responsible for Kids’ Safety

Kids hear every day that they are “worthless” and “everybody hates you.” To counteract these negative messages barraging them, these ads will help parents bolster their children’s self-esteem so they can be pro-active rather than passive when bullying occurs.

Bullying Can Lead to Suicide

Because of the high incidence of student suicides due to bullying, Sebelius calls these needless suicides a national wake-up call. “We are responsible for our children’s safety,” Sebelius confirms. “And no one can afford to be a bystander. It’s a systematic situation that threatens the health and well-being of our young people. It’s destructive to our communities and devastating to our future.”

Cyberbullying Becoming a Bigger Problem

With heavy usage of text messaging, Internet among students, cyberbulling has become an escalating problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added bullying to its regular survey of risk behavior in schools.

Anti-Bullying Tactics in School

School districts and states are working hard to combat school bullying. Thirty-six state anti-bullying laws were enacted in 2009 and 2010. GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) also has programs for K-12 to keep children safe in schools.

Education advocates are particularly concerned about bullying that is directed against students who are perceived as lesbian or gay such as Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old who killed himself in 2010 after being bullied online by his college roommate.


Gay Police Inspector Files Against Force

In London today a gay former police inspector told how he was forced out of his job after being unlawfully arrested by two “homophobic” and drunk special constables in 2007.

Richard Hendron, 31, from Richmond has filed papers at the UK’s High Court claiming that he was victimised by his police bosses and managers after the wrongful arrest. He said he was forced to leave London’s Metropolitan Police two years after the incident due to the constant bullying he endured on a a daily basis.

Mr Hendron tells how the two specials were drunk when they grabbed him after he tripped as he left the Britannia public house bar in Kensington London after ‘Christmas drinks’ in December 2007. They shouted “You’re nicked, guv, for drunk and disorderly.” as they pounced on him. A the time, Mr Hendron was an inspector with responsibility for special constables in Kensington and Chelsea.

Special Constables are all volunteers and are often considered to be part time offices due to the limited number of hours they work. Mr Hendron claims these two ’specials’ made “homophobic” and “ageist” remarks during the evening and he says, dragged him to a nearby post office whilst they waited for uniformed officers to arrive and handcuff him.

He was taken to a police station, put in the cells and released the next day, however he claims that he wasn’t given the opportunity to convey his side of the story nor make complaint about the arrest or the special constables.

He was moved within days to an administrative “non-job” at the Metropolitan Police territorial policing offices and later to a role in Tower Hamlets. However, after “constant bullying and harassment from the senior management team”, he alleged, he had no choice other than to leave the force in 2009.

In the High Court papers it states “The claimant was arrested for drunk and disorderly when in fact there was no disorder,” and that the specials “acted unlawfully and maliciously in exercising their power, which was motivated by personal reasons against the claimant.”,

Speaking to London’s evening paper The Standard, Mr Hendron said he was claiming compensation because he was “targeted and let down” by his bosses after the arrest, while no action was taken against the two specials constables. “It was an off-duty officer with two staff, who were both drunk, tripping in the road and they arrest him for being drunk. Are they motivated by something other than protecting public safety?” he told them.

“When I went to Tower Hamlets people didn’t know I had been arrested by two officers who were drunk, they just knew I had been nicked. If you are a regular police officer you spend eight to 10 hours a day at work — the last thing you want to do after work is arrest someone. These specials, because they don’t do much in terms of policing, get carried away and misuse their powers.” He said.

The Metropolitan Police declined to comment on the case itself or any of the issues it raises of deep routed homophobia existing at all levels of the force.

CDC Survey for Gay Men Available Online

The largest Center for Disease Control study “Sex is the Question” explores the sexual practices of gay and bisexual men, 18 and up. Confidential, it is designed to help the CDC establish new techniques to battle the increasing trend of new HIV infections in U.S. gay communities.

This survey will be used by the CDC, state and local health departments to better understand the behavior among gay and bisexual men in communities and make sure that HIV prevention resources have the greatest impact. Gay and bisexual men and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been steadily increasing since the early 1990’s. From 2006-9, GB men accounted for more than 50% of all new HIV infections annually in the U.S.

How This Survey Differs From Others

Other studies have looked at very specific subsections and issues of the community. However, this survey is designed to be inclusive as possible: it looks at a wide variety of men, including guys who spend time online looking for sexual partners, in monogamous relationships, or men who are politically active. It is co-sponsored with the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

Educational Tool As Well

This is the first study of its kind to provide immediate feedback to its participants by incorporating videos and other interactive tools. At the end of the survey, you will be presented , based on your answers, personalized insight and comparisons. You will receive feedback by video and other interactive media targeted at HIV prevention.

Why You Should Take It?

  • You will be one of 25,000 volunteers who take this survey and will play an important part in the national effort to combat new HIV infections.
  • You can invite your friends to participate.
  • It only takes a few minutes to complete.
  • It goes to a good cause: for every completed survey, It Gets Better Project receives a monetary donation.

Where Do I Sign Up?

https://sexisthequestion.org/track/262703 will take you directly to the survey.



Closets Are For Clothes

When one is in the closet, it can be a very lonely place.  I have a t-shirt that says “closets are for clothes” regaled in bright rainbow colors.  I want to relate how this t-shirt played a role in my coming out.

I was at a point where I had told many of my closer friends that I was gay.  Most embraced me for who I was and stated that they pretty much knew already.

After some time I began to “worry” again about my professional counterparts.  That old fear began to creep in; what would they do if they found out about me?

At that time I was preparing to go to an annual training.  I decided it was time I came out to those in my “other world.”   I wanted to do something fun.   After some thought, I came up with a brilliant idea involving the t-shirt.  I see now the universe had a plan for that t-shirt.

I had e-mailed a number of my close friends and came out to them, all of whom e-mailed back and said it just didn’t matter to them.  I had told them of a plan that I had conspired to do a mass self “outing.”  I told them that there would be a sign, and that once they saw it, they would know what I was doing.

At one of the gatherings at which the whole school’s registrants would be attending, I wore my t-shirt.  I told one of my dearest friends, Bonnie, to stick close to me and not let me out of her sight.  She was a trooper and did so willingly and gave me a big hug before we entered the dining area.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see people looking at my shirt.  Some came up to me and hugged me and said, “It’s cool; what the hell took you so long?”  Another person came up to me and said, “You know, people wear things like that if they are sending a message.”  I said to him, “you are a brilliant man” and walked away.

So my coming out to my professional counterparts was not bad at all either!   For those in the closet, I encourage you to find a close friend and confidant that you trust unconditionally.  Decide to come out in your own way and be true to yourselves.  Live your life without fear as the person you were born to be and always remember “closets are for clothes.

Discrimination Case goes to Supreme Court

The UK Christian Bed & Breakfast owners who refused to allow a gay couple to share a room have won the right to appeal to the Supreme Court against a conviction for breaching the UK’s equality laws.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull, are the owners of the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion, Cornwall, refused to let a gay couple share a bedroom at their seaside guest house. In 2008, Mr Bull, 72, and Mrs Bull, who is in her late 60s, devout Christians who regard any sex outside marriage as a “sin” accepted a reservation for an £80 a-night double room booking from Steven Preddy, who is 38, thinking hat he would be staying with his wife. Yet, when Mr Preddy arrived with his 46 year-old civil partner Martyn Hall, the men, from Bristol, were told that they could have two rooms, but would not allow them to share the one double-bedded room they had booked.

Earlier this year the Court of Appeal dismissed a challenge brought by the homophobic Bull‘s against a ruling that they breached the then relatively new equality legislation when they turned away Mr Hall and partner Mr Preddy. They denied they had either direct or indirect discriminated against the gay couple, arguing that their policy of restricting double beds to married couples, in accordance with their religious beliefs, was not directed to sexual orientation, but sexual practice.

Dismissing the Bulls’ appeal in February this year, Sir Andrew Morritt, Chancellor of the High Court, sitting in London with Lord Justice Hooper and Lady Justice Rafferty, said that the restriction was “absolute” in relation to homosexuals but not in the case of heterosexuals. “In those circumstances it must constitute discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Such discrimination is direct” he said. Lady Justice Rafferty said a homosexual couple “cannot comply with the restriction because each party is of the same sex and therefore cannot marry”.

The Bulls had suggested they had previously barred unmarried heterosexual couples from sharing double rooms since they opened for business 25 years. Although according to locals, the Bull’s have on occasion let out a double room to an unmarried heterosexual couple, further compounding their discriminative tendencies. However this week the UK Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, has now decided it will hear an appeal of their case and may well find in their favour.

The Bull’s legal appeals are being funded by the Christian Institute, which funded Mr and Mrs Bull’s appeal, said “Something has gone badly wrong with our equality laws when good, decent people like Peter and Hazelmary are penalised”

A Tree Grows in Arizona

Cheaper by the Dozen?  The Brady Brunch and Jolie-Pitt  families are small compared to same-sex couple Steven and Roger Ham’s brood in Arizona. Two men can’t be married or adopt kids together in Arizona, but the Hams managed to adopt a dozen, against many odds, for which they were spotlighted on national television.

The Ham Family

Who Are These Saints?

For ten years, Steven Ham, 44, Director of Customer Service and Events at Activator Methods, and Roger Ham, 48, school bus driver, have taken in 42 foster kids. Then, they started adopting. The first boy was adopted in 2003.

Legally, he belonged to Steven because Arizona doesn’t allow for a same-sex partner to adopt a partner’s children. In 2007, Roger legally changed his name to Ham. With only one legal parent, children in gay households are not entitled to health and social security benefits, inheritance rights or child support from the other parent. (If a gay couple splits up, only the legal parent has custody rights.)

Arizona’s Statistics on Adoption

However, Arizona ranks first in country for timeliness of adoptions from foster care: 47% of children getting adopted within 2 years, as opposed to 36% in rest of country. Typically, a third of 2,100 kids on average in the state foster care who have a case plan for adoption would be adopted by single parents in Arizona. Heterosexual couples get preference.

The Ham children, ages infant to 15 ½, were adopted in Arizona. Two of the children are from Washington which has legal same-sex marriage. Shelly Kreb, a lawyer who helped the couple adopt in Washington, offered to facilitate re-adoption of the 10 other kids for the price of one – $1,500. On July 13, Judge Diane Woolard called to inform them that from now on both Steven’s and Roger’s names would appear on birth certificates.

Rewarded in more ways than One

Besides having a warm, healthy family that runs smoothly with the kid-assigned chores, the Hams received an award from Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents, signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in 2009. This award was given” for not only providing a secure, loving, and stable home for their kids, but for working so had to keep siblings together in a system that often forces them apart.”



Gay Marriage Will Bring In Polygamy

A senior cleric from the South Australian Catholic Church has warned state Premier Jay Weatherill’s backing of same sex marriage will open the door and the floodgates to polygamy and lead to “weaken the family as the basis of society”.

Mr Weatherill has backed a move for South Australia to go it alone on marriage equality if the Australian Federal Parliament does not move on the issue in the coming year. There are a number of legal disputes regarding whether states have the power to regulate marriage, which would need to be explored and resolved before South Australia could change current marriage discrimination.

Bishop Greg O’Kelly of The Port Pirie Diocese issued a statement this week attacking Mr Weatherill’s position. “What the Premier has described as marriage equality is not the equal to marriage as all cultures and faiths have understood it throughout the centuries,” Bishop O’Kelly said, adding “Marriage demands a man and a woman in a vowed permanent union that is open to life. If people are to be entitled, as the premier says, to express their identity in any way they wish, and that is all that constitutes marriage, then the gates are open to all sorts of arrangements like polygamy and polyandry, and the weakening of the family as the basis of society.”

Bishop Greg O’Kelly

Some of South A ustralia’s MP’s are preparing to bring in a vote at the states Upper House if Federal Parliament does not back its own gay marriage bill. Similar to Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings who has also backed a Tasmanian state-based reform push if the Federal Govt don’t move forward.

Many are just dismissing the Bishops remarks as those often spouted by outdated and out of touch homophobic clerics when it comes to same sex equality and same sex marriage.

81,000 Sign Petition for Gay Scout

An internet campaign a petition has been started in the hopes to convince California’s Golden Empire Council to reinstate 22 year-old Eagle Scout Tim Griffin and to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s policy barring gay, lesbian, bisexual scouts and scout leaders.

Mr Griffin, who was the longest-serving employee at Camp Winton, says that he was fired from the scout camp because of his sexuality. The campaign was begun by Alex Hayes, Camp Winton’s programme director. Mr Hayes, along with nine other employees of the camp, resigned in protest following Mr Griffin’s dismissal. He said: “For the past eight summers, Tim was loved not only by his fellow camp staffers, but all of the Boy Scouts who participated in programs he ran at the camp.

“More than 60,000 people have joined me, and the nine other employees who resigned, in taking a stand for Tim. We want the Golden Empire Council to know that the Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory policy has no place in our Scouting community.”

The Golden Empire Council said in a statement that Mr Griffin’s firing was “due to an issue with performance, violation of expected camp behaviour and camp standards.”

My Hayes stated “The Golden Empire Council claims he was fired because he violated the camp’s dress code, but as his direct supervisor at Camp Winton, I know this isn’t true. He was fired because of his sexual orientation. If the Golden Empire Council truly stands by its statement, and Tim wasn’t fired because he’s gay, then the council should have no problem rejecting the Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory ban on gay scouts and leaders.”

Even President Obama, the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America, has publicly opposed the body’s anti-gay policy. The 81,000 plus signature petition due to be handed in this week.

See the petition here

Catholics Pray Against Marriage Equality

Same sex marriage and gay adoptions are in the spotlight in France at the moment as the French Catholic Church is using a religious holiday to put pressure on and urge politicians to protect heterosexual traditions.

The new French President Francois Hollande has repeatedly said he wants push forward laws to allow same-sex marriage and adoption next year. Recent opinion polls suggest that the vast majority of the population are in favour of these changes and a moved towards a more equal society, France remains a traditionally Catholic country. On the Assumption day holiday on Wednesday, French bishops’ conference asked priests all over the country to read a special prayer calling on politicians to follow “their conscience” and resist requests by special interests, and stressing the importance of “the love of a father and a mother.”

According to local news agency, Sipa, many parishes ignored the prayer request and reported that many churchgoers were divided on the issue and whether the church should even get involved in politics.