Taking Children From Their Homes: Russia Introduces Bill To Remove Gay Parenting Rights

“Waves of protests surrounded Vladimir Putin’s return to power as Russia’s President in March 2012. Since then, parliament has passed so many new laws restricting civil liberties that some people now call it the ‘mad printer.'”

– Amnesty International Wire (Amnesty.org)

Russia’s Civil Liberties Record: Getting Worse and Worse In Word & Deed

“Everything you add to the truth subtracts from the truth.”

                                                                          – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

According to the Associated Press, Russian State Duma Deputy Zhuravlev (Putin’s United Russia Party/parliamentary caucus) is introducing a law making “nontraditional sexual orientation” viable grounds to remove child custody for LGBTQ parents.

In the draft bill for this proposed new law, Zhuravlev wrote:

“Following the letter of the law that forbids propaganda of non-traditional sex to minors we must restrict such propaganda not only in mass media but also the family… if one of the child’s parents indulges in sexual contact with persons of the same sex, the damage to the child’s psyche is immense as a mother or father serves as an example for their offspring.”

Additional grounds for denial or revocation of parental custody include alcoholism, drug abuse or any amount or type of drug use deemed inappropriate, which has nothing at all to do with gender, sexual orientation or law-abiding families established in-place, having committed none of these substance-related offenses.

Here we see yet another instance of punishing allies in addition to homosexual persons, as once passed, this bill would affect families and children who aren’t even LGBTQ-identified. Custodial rights could then be revoked if both or either parent were gay (out or not), so if two parents happen to have an understanding in their relationship, share post-divorce custody, etcetera, the parent who happens to be gay can be penalized, or a child can be taken away from one or both parents for any so-called ‘homosexual-affiliated’ reason(s).

As it is already illegal to mention homosexuality around children or to advise or counsel LGBTQ or questioning youth. This recent unfortunate move is thought to be the next step in Russia’s plans to eradicate gay tolerance, inclusiveness or protections altogether for LGBTQ persons, friends, allies or families.

At this point, though the bill is to be debated before it is formally passed, it seems such motions are little more than a formality. Russian lawmakers keep clinging to the through line that their anti-gay motions and laws are being instituted to protect the children, rather than being anti-gay.

Putin has already banned LGBTQ people residing in other countries from adopting Russian children, and as of this writing, the Russian government is also considering reinstating a gay blood donor ban.

Though boycotts and protests are occurring worldwide, even Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge is throwing his hands up in the air, saying Russia will not change their minds or policies in terms of its anti-gay legislation, and Rogge’s sharing little more on the matter.

Rogge told the press, “…one should not forget that we are staging the games in a sovereign state, and the IOC cannot be expected to have an influence on the sovereign affairs of a country.”

Activists, lawmakers, PR representatives, athletes, spokespeople and officials can make all the claims they want leading up to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, but we won’t know who’ll be arrested or how LGBT people or allies will be treated (both on arrival, during the events and while attempting to leave Russia) until it’s too late.

Many LGBTQ folks (like Johnny Weir) are Russophiles and/or have Russian spouses or partners. Have you been to Russia? Did you love it? If so, how do you feel now that Russian policymakers are passing all of these awful anti-LGBT laws?


Randy, Oral Roberts’ Gay Grandson, Says: ‘#ItGetsBetter…and It’s Complicated.’


Close-Up – by A. R. Ammons

Are all these stones


I said

and the mountain



but reluctant to

admit my praise could move it much


shook a little

and rained a windrow ring of stones

to show

that it was so


Stone felled I got

up addled with dust


and shook


without much consequence


Obviously I said it doesn’t pay

to get too

close up to



and the mountain friendless wept

and said

it couldn’t help


Re-Imagining Religion: “Falling In Love Will Not Send You to Hell.”

                          – Randy Roberts Potts

“All students are required to sign a pledge stating they will live according to the university’s honor code. Prohibited activities include lying, cursing, smoking, drinking, and a range of sexual acts including homosexual behavior and sex outside marriage.”

                                                                   – Excerpt, ORU Student Codes , Oral Roberts University

Wouldn’t you know it: every time the “gay agenda” is reexamined, the “master plan” appears to become more and more normal on the face of it. Because it is.

“The gay agenda” is “the human agenda:” we all want love. Hope. Home. Family. We all desire the same things.

Back in 2010, Oral Roberts’ out, gay grandson Randy Roberts Potts read a letter to his closeted gay Uncle Ronnie (Oral Roberts’ eldest son) and recorded a viral video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYa0wi4XzeI) to honor Ronnie’s life, as unfortunately, his uncle had already passed away when Randy was just a kid (in June of 1982).

Randy’s irrepressible spirit remains to alchemize life’s tests and turn them into life’s testimonies.

In the video, after 2:38 minutes of silence (during which time we see the handwritten letter for his uncle), Potts reads a revelatory poem entitled “Close-Up” written by A. R. Ammons. Then, Randy moves into his own compelling testimony about the strange magic behind growing up with a gay uncle (around whom Randy’s mom was most captivated), and how it affected Potts himself.

We witness Potts as he entreats Ronnie’s spirit (for healing? For explanations?), “When my mother spoke of you, a look of awe lit up her face. You were the one voice in her life that could inhabit multiple worlds at once…. You stood for everything she was afraid I would become: gay, intellectual, and godless. And yet nothing caused my mother’s face to light up like your memory. I was jealous, and I always hoped to be you.”

Randy recounts following in his uncle’s footsteps simply by following his heart, and reminisces about the tragedy of losing a loved one who took his own life because he felt he had no options. No hope. Because he felt that life would not and could not get better.

“I’ve seen pain and loss and sorrow,” Potts continues. “I would have held you in my arms had I been a man at the time…. but there’s no one holding you, because you’re holding on to no one. And now I’m here sharing the same destiny…. your path and mine are crossed. They intersect…in some ridiculous dance.”

With a tonality not unlike Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight,” Potts brings us into present day. Yes, he is angry, but we can somehow see the light at the end of the tunnel, the burning hot flames of passion for living forever aglow in Randy’s heart. We somehow feel his uncle lives in some kind of virtual second life, through Randy.

Another “Gay Agenda,” Another Pleasant Valley Sunday.

Oral Roberts was the first and one of the biggest of the televangelists. He brought the Pentecostal faith to mainstream America, he started a self-named university, and of course lived a rich life through his relentless please for money from his followers. His grandson Randy Roberts Potts grew up with him…steeped in that really sheltered, Far Right Christian world. Now he’s following a calling like his grandfather, but with an unexpected message.”

Reporter Page Hopkins for MSNBC

In sharing his story with MSNBC, Potts did indeed reveal he’d felt suicidal too—coming out was unthinkable to him. Having married a woman and raising three children with her, Potts’ coming out narrative is a common one that always feels mysterious and new during the discovery process. He told Hopkins, “Honestly, I thought I was just a really good christian that I just didn’t sexualize women.”

Though Potts’ closeted gay uncle passed away when Randy was just a boy, as he unfolded the discoveries about Ronnie’s life, they paralleled discoveries of his own.

It is now Randy’s life mission to reach back across the table and minister tolerance and inclusiveness to evangelicals themselves. Potts informed Page Hopkins that he’s doing so non-publicly, holding confidential meetings with religious leaders and consulting with them regarding family cohesion, suicide prevention and myriad other positive effects of practicing religious tolerance.

In one of the most romantic and courageous activism campaigns out there, Potts and his partner are now conducting what they call an ongoing “performance project designed for conservative towns with visuals of domestic gay life.” Potts is setting up storefronts from town to town , choosing to put his normal day-in day-out familial relationships on display, in a performance art piece called—what else…

“…The Gay Agenda.



Reach out to Randy @randyrpotts and connect with ORU Out, ORU LGBTQ alumni and ombudsmen) at http://oru-out.tumblr.com.

To watch Potts’ It Gets Better video in its entirety, please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYa0wi4XzeI

Have you got time to sit and pray a while? Check out Randy Roberts Potts – Re-Imagining Religion Series at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uYWf2WfPH8. During his ministerial speech in this video, Potts reveals that his brother is also gay and his family still ostracizes them both.


And for more information about suicide prevention and LGBTQIA resources and support, please visit the It Gets Better Project at http://www.itgetsbetter.org.






“Moscow Is Not Sodom:” Valeriya, Russia’s Madonna, Worries About Gay Propaganda

| “ RT @BBCNewsnight: Russian Singer Valeriya Perfilova says she worries about..influence of ‘gay propaganda’ on her children #newsnight ” |

Don’t Tell Me.” I Won’t Ask You.

Gay? Out? Don’t tell Valeriya about it. The living, thriving spirit of Pussy Riot continues to push the dialogue forward and keep LGBTQIA rights, allies’ rights and progressive activism in the planet’s consciousness.

In what’s being called a new gay holocaust, Russia’s resurgence of anti-gay sentiment (including myriad anti-gay/anti-ally/anti-activism laws) continues to change hands and to be bandied about by various talking heads. The revolving door of anti-gay rhetoric moves from the streets to the legislature to celebrity mouthpieces and back again.

One of the more prominent voices fearful of “gay propaganda” is Valeriya Perfilova, considered by many to be Russia’s version of Madonna. The singer directly benefits from (but does not publicly acknowledge) the love of her LGBTQ fans.


Using the Word “Propaganda” As Propaganda

Having sold over 100 million records worldwide, Perfilova is mainly known by her one-name moniker (see: Cher, Madonna) Valeriya. In her press materials, she appropriates much of Madonna’s heat, style and vibe—but somehow, she manages to kick the gay-friendly part of Madonnaisms to the curb. This is particularly unfortunate, as the singer’s a domestic abuse survivor and her body of work does much to buoy the spirits of female abuse survivors (all the while redirecting abusive behaviors toward another culture).

In a June 2013 broadcast with BBC Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman and Russian gay activist Anton Krasovsky, Valeriya championed a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell-esque” viewpoint, towing the party line that LGBTQ persons should not be seen or heard as such.

Regarding Russia’s anti-gay legislation, Valeriya began:

“It was funny to me, because it’s nothing to do with politics. Being the mother of three children, I approve this [anti-gay] bill… I don’t want to meddle with other people’s lives. I don’t care what they do behind their doors. But I do care about my children’s bringing up [i.e. upbringing]…. The vast majority of people in Russia, 88 percent of people, support the ban of homosexuality propaganda. That’s a fact. And this bill responds to people’s demand. That’s all.”


L.W.Q: Living While Queer & Beingness As Illegal

Here’s a bit of a backgrounder: in January of this year, former Russian TV journalist and presenter Anton Krasovsky came out on Russian television and was fired immediately thereafter.

Now, back to Newsnight—during the BBC television broadcast, Krasovsky brought forth the idea—and his lived experience—that essentially now in Russia, it’s illegal to be gay.

Holding back uncomfortable laughter, Krasovsky couldn’t hold back the irony of the situation:

“I’m glad that that situation is funny for Valeriya,” he responded. “But it’s not fun for me. I think it’s against me. Against my family. Against all gay people in Russia…. From today, I cannot say that I’m gay and I’m the same human being…like all of you. From today, I’ll have to pay for this. From a hundred to two-thousand pounds. Because these words could be taken as propaganda.”

The beingness of gay life, being LGBTQ, being a questioning soul, being LGBTQ and out, or even advocating for those who are—in Krasovsky’s experience and in his own words, now this is a crime in and of itself, no matter what one does or does not do. It’s about the beingness now. Beyond being a thought-crime, this is L.W.Q. “living while queer.”



Some of My Best Friends Are Gay…

Ironies continue to prevail. In 2008, Valeriya became a goodwill envoy for the Russian Federation on behalf of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an agency to combat human trafficking. She’s been bequeathed with honors and endorsement deals from Avon, from a custom perfumier, from MuzTV and MTV Russia. She was awarded the title of “Honoured Artiste of Russia” by Putin, and has been cited by Forbes magazine as one of the 50 most highly-paid people in movie, sport, literature and music.

All this to say her platform and audience is immense, and the Russian government is using her star power to their full advantage.

During Newsnight Valeriya continued, “I have a lot of friends who belong to gay society, and they do not support their unisexual marriages. They would never take part in gay parades. They’re just normal people. They do their business…. are still working on TV, the media. I don’t know why it happened to you [Anton].”

But of course, the “friends” are not out—or as Anton Krasovsky put it, they are not “open gays.”

To watch the full video, visit the YouTube link below.

BBC News – What gay ‘propaganda’ vote tells us about Russia Today:


Connect with Anton Krasovsky at @krasovkin and share your thoughts with BBC Newsnight @BBCNewsnight.


LZ Granderson: The Myth of The Gay Agenda

“…I have taught myself to sew, cook, fix plumbing, build furniture – I can even pat myself on the back when necessary…. There’s nothing I need from anyone except for love and respect. And anyone who can’t give me those two things has no place in my life.”

– Arnold from “Torch Song Trilogy.”

Visit Bing or Yahoo. Google or Duck Duck Go.

(Don’t worry, we’ll wait.)

Now: search for the words “Gay Agenda.”

(We’ll be right here, so be sure to come back. Better yet, open up another window or tab. There you go.)

Here’s what you’ll find: you’ll discover and learn more about us here at GayAgenda.com (please do that!).

You’ll also see many, many other “interesting” finds. Most notably, you’ll encounter a lot of people who have coined the hateful term and idea of the “gay agenda,” words we happily reclaim.

Among the search results you’ll find will be CNN reporter-journalist LZ Granderson’s world renowned, fact-filled, heartwarming and humorous TED Talk, “The Myth of the Gay Agenda.”

Remember that “Gay Agenda” search engine quest from before? LZ really, really went there too—in fact, he went into some extended search action…!

The results he found included a wealth of hate-monger speech and ignorance-laden articles and updates about the “dangerous gay lifestyle,” and the “dangerous gay agenda.”

On thumbing through result after result of anti-gay propaganda, Granderson reflects: “If I’m gay and I’m doing something that’s going to destroy civilization, I need to figure out what this stuff is. And, I need to stop doing it right now!” [The audience laughs.]

“I took a look at my life—a hard look at my life,” he goes on, “And I saw some things very disturbing. And I want to begin sharing these ‘evil’ things that I’ve been doing with you, starting with my mornings.

[The audience continues laughing along with LZ.] He continues the in-joke: “I drink coffee. Not only do I drink coffee. I know other people who drink coffee.”

Granderson directs us to the first slide of a PowerPoint presentation with the laughable title, “The Super Duper Evil Gay Lifestyle,” emblazoned with the rainbow flag.

He walks us through his happily partnered life and the daily goings on of being a busy parent. He then goes on to masterfully, ironically illustrate his points. “Run for your heterosexual lives, people!” Granderson humorously “threatens” during the conference, dismantling the hateful rhetoric that anti-gay bigots just so happen to throw around.

At the end of the day, LZ Granderson’s presentation fights for, in his own words, “Love and respect….trying to find your place in the world.” It seems so simple—the real “agenda” has to do with those who seek to complicate it. To destroy rights that have already been granted, and to prevent acquisition of others.

Finding and enjoying “love and respect:” in essence, this is everyone’s “agenda.” Granderson brilliantly brings these and other heartening ideas to the fore.

When he talks about love, his family, adoption and marriage equality, your eyes will get misty, your lips will quiver, you’ll be reminded of your own humanity. His talk is quite lovely and forever relevant.

LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. He spoke at TEDx Grand Rapids in May 2012. TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading” which it makes available through talks posted on its website. (http://www.tedxhappyvalley.com/lz-granderson-the-myth-of-the-gay-agenda/)

You can tweet your reactions and support to LZ  @Locs_n_Laughs.

Click here to watch the video—with choreographed light saber moves and all the belly laughs you can stand included. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CstD6O95L-o)

So what did you think of LZ Granderson’s TED Talk ?

First Openly LGBT American To Run For U.S Public Office Dies

Jose Julio Sarria Dies At Age 91
Nowadays, it’s not that unusual to find LGBT persons running for political office. Tammy Baldwin is Senator of Wisconsin; Jared Polis is a Senator in Colorado, and Christine Quinn is running for Mayor of New York City, to name a few. But to run as a gay man for San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1961 takes guts. LGBT politicians owe their current positions to a trailblazing icon for equality, Jose Sarria.

“The Rosa Parks of the Gay Rights Movement” – Nicole Ramirez, San Diego City Commissioner
Although he did not win the Board of Supervisors’ election, Jose Julio Sarria has the distinction of being the first openly gay American to run for office. California Senator Mark Leno called Sarria a “fearless community leader.” “When Jose threw his hat into the ring for San Francisco Supervisor more than fifty years ago, he became one of the first to publicly proclaim that there is no reason, constitutional or otherwise, to deny lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people first-class citizenship, respect and dignity under the law. Jose’s visionary and legendary leadership helped build the foundation for our successful, modern-day LGBT civil rights movement.”

In his honor, in 2006, the City of San Francisco named a section of 16th Street in the city’s Castro district Jose Sarria Court. Although Sarria did not win a seat on the Board of Supervisors (with his 6,000 votes), his indefatigable support of Harvey Milk, who did become the first openly gay person in 1977, helped Milk be elected to the Board of Supervisors. He supported Milk’s first campaign in 1973 as well. Sarria’s and Milk’s Castro District became a gay voting block in San Francisco.

Past History
Born in San Francisco, Sarria attained the rank of Staff Sargent in WWII before being honorably discharged at the end of his service in 1945.He was a drag Queen, using the name Empress Jose, the Widow Norton as well as The Nightingale of Montgomery Street where he performed at San Francisco’s The Black Cat until it closed in 1964.

“He was a national LGBT icon” – Toni Atkins, Ca. State Assembly Majority Leader
Besides being a waiter, drag queen, LGBT rights activist, Sarria formed The Tavern Guild, the county’s first Gay Business Association. He also developed an International Court System from a loose alliance of social groups, with associated Chapters in over sixty-eight cities across the United States, Canada and Mexico. Said Nicole Ramirez, who succeeded Sarria in 2007 as the International Chairperson of this fraternal LGBT charity organization, “ the Imperial Courts are like the gay Shriners/Elks of North America and have raised millions of dollars.” In 1961, he helped to form one of the first gay rights organizations in the U.S. and the first gay non-profit registered in California, the League for Civil Education. Two years later, he co-founded the Society for Individual Rights (SIR)

For his efforts, Sarria was given numerous awards, including the Harvey Milk Humanitarian Award. His collection of GLBT historic documents are at the LGBT Historic Society of San Francisco and the Smithsonian Institution.

“Making Successes Possible” – Wilson Cruz, National Spokesman for GLAAD
“His work as a politician, humanitarian, and performer was unprecedented, and has rightfully earned him a place in history. He was an icon who stood his ground for himself and so many others when it was hardest to do so. He will forever reside in the hearts and minds of the LGBT and Latino communities and their allies. Thank you.”

New Zealand Now Has Gay Marriage

15th Country to Allow Same-sex Marriage

On Monday, August 19, 2013, New Zealand became the thirteenth country to welcome same-sex marriage.  Some newlyweds, estimated at three dozen, took advantage of the new law such as  Rachel Briscoe and Jess Ivess as well as Richard Rawstorm and Richard Andrew in Rotorua, New Zealand.  As promised, the Modern Family star was present at the marriage of Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau for the first gay wedding in New Zealand..

Married at 39,000 Feet

Activist Ferguson, with his new husband laywerJustin Mikita, who were married in New York City last month, attended the wedding aboard Air New Zealand,  “What an unforgettable way to mark the new law and “a great celebration of New Zealand’s diversity!” exclaimed Chief People Officer Lorraine Murphy. The flight went from Queenstown to Auckland and carried family, friends, and their three foster children. of Bendall and Wanikau. Together for thirteen years, the couple, both childcare workers, were married by celebrant Kim Jewell Elliott. Following the ceremony, an unexpected choir performed the traditonal “Pokarekare Ana,” a love song that was sung last April when the New Zealand Parliament marriage equality law was passed. Commented the airborne couple, “to be married at 30,000 feet beneath strings of fairy lights with our children, friends and family as witnesses makes an already memorable day that much more special. It was surreal to have Jesse play a part in the ceremony too – we’re big fans of “Modern Family.”

Reasoning Behind Marriage En Flight

Bendall and Wanikau won a promotion by national carrier Air New Zealand.  In the winning video of the competition, their foster children held handwritten signs saying why their parents should get married on a plane.  One read “Wow!! Imagine that for news at school!”

Why Ferguson and Mikita Were Attendees

Although not bosom buddies with the lesbian couple, Ferguson, who advocates for marriage equality through his appearances and tietheknot. organization that raises money for same-sex marriage, “was present to bring some attention to this great day.” Ferguson said that with gay marriage not legally recognized in thirty-seven U.S. states,” there is plenty of work to do there to change attitudes. “Modern Family,” which normalizes homosexuality,” is a great way to sneak into a lot of living rooms with no agenda.”

Nearby Australia does not have legalized same-sex marriage, but a measure to do is expected soon.  The U.S. Ambassador to Australia, John Berry, recently married to Curtis Yee, is openly gay.



So. Ca. Dr. Considers Homosexuality a Disease

Gay Patient Offended At Outdated Diagnosis

A Southern California doctor in Torrance, California last week diagnosed an openly gay new patient after she did routine tests on  Matthew Moore, 46.  The tests revealed nothing out of the ordinary for Moore – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a deficiency of B-12.

Surprising Diagnosis

Moore was not surprised at these findings – “normal for me.” It was what he saw on his report that flabbergasted him upon returning to the office of the doctor, who goes unnamed, in Manhattan Beach.  The doctor listed “Homosexual Behavior” as a chronic condition on Moore’s patient plan.

Offensive to Moore

According to the medical records obtained by KNBC4 the television station at which Moore was interviewed, the doctor had affixed code 302.0 to his “chronic” condition.  This code refers to homosexuality as a medical condition or illness, a chronic condition that was removed for the Diagnostic Manual for Psychiatrists in 1973.

Said Moore, “Here’s another way that gay people are lessened and made to feel less-than, and then as I thought about it and as I dealt with it, it angered me.”

Repeat Visit

Moore states that he does not plan on filing a lawsuit against the doctor, but decided to speak up for himself and other gay persons.  The doctor defended her position and said that homosexuality should be treated as a chronic illness and “it’s still up for debate on how to treat homosexuality “which she thought of as a disease.

Moore, disagreeing with the doctor, filed a complaint with the doctor’s office.  He demanded a return of his $30 co-pay, and received a letter apologizing: “ We would like to unequivocally state that the Torrance Memorial Physician Network (which runs the doctor’s office) does not view homosexuality as a disease or a chronic condition and we do not endorse or approve of the use of Code 302.0 as a diagnosis for homosexuality.”

“You Have to Speak Up”

Moore shared his story so others will learn from his experience. “Government tells us, often times, that we’re not equal. Many churches tell us that we are sinners. Doctors tell us we are sick.  And it’s gotta’ stop. If I was a fourteen year-old in a small town in Indiana, where I’m from, and I had a doctor tell me or my parents that I was sick because they thought I was gay, it would’ve been very damaging.”

Fearless Firsts: Australian “No to Homophobia” Campaign Aims to Change The Workplace

The ALSO Foundation, a Victoria, Australia-based LGBTQ rights and visibility activism organization, launched its high-profile anti-homophobia campaign last year, meeting with continued acclaim and supportive media coverage.

Entitled “No to Homophobia,” the campaign raises consciousness and encourages role models to liaise with the community to teach acceptance and inclusiveness to the community at large.

Jason Ball, a prominent out gay Aussie footballer, is one of the foundation’s many in-community campaign leaders who’s teaching AFL players to stand in their truth, and requesting that the AFL ALSO’s  anti-homophobia ads during footy (their first campaign was successful and the advertising  aired on national television during the AFL preliminary finals).

According to the ALSO Twitter page, The ALSO Foundation is “Australia’s first public campaign targeting #homophobia, #biphobia, #transphobia and LGBTIQ harassment.” In its video and television ads (http://www.youtube.com/user/NoToHomophobia), the foundation illustrates common scenarios where social and workplace harassment might go unreported.

Former ALSO CEO Crusader Hills told the Australian press, “There’s never been a television commercial about homophobia, let along around transphobia and biphobia.”

The short, impactful ad spots deal with thoughtless—and illegal—comments made in workplace or intersocial environments, spotlighting bullying or ignorant remarks and gestures. (For example: male workers say something to a lesbian about her personal life after she asks them a simple work-related question).

Victoria, Australia’s anti-bullying legislation does provide certain protections, and the public relations and community outreach teams for The ALSO Foundation aim to ensure  the public is made fully aware of their rights under the law.

Topics covered in the PSA series include homophobic/trans-phobic/bi-phobic harassment in sports and at work, sexually-based harassment, and gender-based harassment, as well as the legal steps to take, such as  filing reports with local authorities.

Anna Brown from the No to Homophobia campaign told The Age Online:

“This is a community-driven grassroots campaign that really aims to raise awareness of the harm caused by homophobic harassment, and the fact that it’s directly linked to anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide. The consequences of this harassment can last a lifetime. We’re really encouraging the community to understand that we all have a responsibility to stand up to homophobic harassment wherever it occurs, and even if we’re not the targets ourselves. So if you witness harassment and do nothing, you’re condoning it or letting it continue unchallenged.”

The commercials ask viewers to take action “No matter how subtle” the harassment may be.

Anna Brown continued, “We have a comprehensive online resource…it provides people with the resources they need to get informed, find support, and take action to put a stop to homophobia. We’d encourage everyone to go there and find out more about what they can do to respond to homophobia personally. But also to spread the word amongst their friends, colleague, neighbors and people to really raise awareness and tackle homophobia as a community.”

For more information, please visit http://www.notohomophobia.com.au.

If you witness or experience harassment or bullying in the workplace, do you know what your options are or what the next steps to take might be?

Create Your Reality

Each of us has a personal “reality” in which we live and function.  However, we do not exist in a vacuum; we are all part of a larger community of humans and we must share our reality with other people who may intrude their own realities on ours and attempt to impose their will and their perspective of reality on us.  Unfortunately, many relinquish their unique reality and succumb to the influence of others and relegate themselves to the abyss of failure and mediocrity by simply “playing it safe”, becoming a “creature of the commonplace,” and a “slave to the ordinary.”

Throughout the history of America, there have been individuals who have blazed their own trails and refused to allow someone else’s reality and view of the world to become their own.  The American patriots of the Revolution did not allow the oppressive reality of the Colonial British Empire to be theirs.  Those Americans who forged west to unknown territories did not succumb to someone else’s reality and remain in the east due to the ridicule and admonitions of others to remain and not put their lives in jeopardy.  The great civil rights leaders of the 1960’s refused to remain part of a society that did not recognize them as equals and rose up and created their own reality through civil disobedience and challenged many of the very foundations of our Republic and established societal mores.  The sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s cast off an imposed Victorian reality of sex and redefined how people functioned and lived in their relationships.

Today’s queer rights movement is no different.  There are those who wish to impose their hard line reality upon the LGBTQ community and force us to live separate and apart from the rest of society simply because we do not adhere to the old fashioned “one man, one woman” reality of marriage and relationships.  There are also those from within the queer community who do not wish advocates to “rock the boat” and and not be too “in your face” about equality and instead to work within the system and through politically correct entities that don’t really have the movement’s best interest at heart.

Which do you wish to be?  Are you beholden to your circumstances and the influence of others or do you reject the influence of others and believe that it is the interpretation of our circumstances which determine our reality.  Do you succumb to the abyss of failure and mediocrity and simply follow others and do what you are told and not rock the boat and play it safe or do you shout as loud as you can about injustice and blaze your own trail shaping change to fit your own reality and view of the world?

For a very long time I was one of those who remained in their closet and was someone I was not; living a life of quiet desperation and allowing society to dictate how I should live.  I did not think I could ever be an out and proud queer person living a life that was mine and not subject to someone else’s reality.

We are no different than those in history that came before us.  We must choose to be different and cling to our unique reality and interpret our circumstances in a way that does not repress us and hold us back.  We must forge ahead and do what our gut, our very soul, demands that we do, and ignore the naysayers from both outside and within the queer community.

Life is full of many forks in the road and at each fork there is a path that others take simply because it is the well worn path; the one trodden by many; the safe route. There are also those people that amass at each fork in life and tell us to take the safe route and guide us to choose the well worn path.  These are the same people who tell us to not “rock the boat” or get too “in your face” about equality and working toward liberty and justice for all.

Then there is the other path that is less traveled and is less secure and full of potential pitfalls and unknown trials and tribulations.  There are very few people encouraging us to take the path less traveled and therefore, we must muster our own courage, ignore the masses, and decide to buck established thought paradigms and be true to ourselves and do what we feel is best for us and proceed down the less worn path.

When we can decide to listen to the voice inside that tells us to not listen to others and choose what is best for us, we begin to live our personal reality that was forged by forces unseen, and those working on our behalf in a world that we cannot relate to in our physical being.  We simply have to make a choice to follow our unsung songs that have already been written and are simply waiting for us to decide to sing them the way they were meant to be sung; in our own way.

Study Finds LGBT Teachers Aren’t Necessarily Allies of LGBT Students

Less Likely to Challenge Bullying of LGBT Students In Classroom

LGBT teachers may know what it’s like to be bullied, but they’re not stepping up to the plate and protecting their LGBT students when the students are harassed.  A new study conducted by Dr. Tiffany Wright at Millersville University in Pennsylvania found that heterosexual teachers are more apt to intervene when LGBT students are bullied.

The Research

Dr. Wright’s research included interviews with more than three hundred and fifty teachers and principals.  They were asked about how they deal with homophobic incidents they witness at school.

Nearly sixty percent of those interviewed claimed they had heard other teachers make homophobic comments, and two-thirds admitted they had seldom seen another teacher intervene when such comments occurred in school.

GLSEN Findings Echo Dr. Wright’s Research

GLSEN ( The Gay, Straight Education Network)  research bears out this finding. Four out of five LGBT youth say they don’t know one supportive youth at school. Nine out of ten LGBT teens are victims of anti-gay bullying. Many LGBT kids skip class, sometimes as much as one day a month, for fear of being harassed.

Fear of Losing Jobs

Over one-third of the interviewed teachers said they fretted about their jobs being at risk if they came out to their co-workers.  Sixty-two percent of interviewees were worried that if they came out to their students, they’d lose their jobs.

Says Dr. Wright: “a lot of folks, theoretically might be in favor of gay marriage and have liberal views. But when you’re talking about their kids, there’s a little different.  Then, suddenly, people’s prejudices come out.”

Just a Few of Those Fired

Dr. Wright’s theory plays out in the many examples of firings of LGBT teachers across the U.S.

  • Last March, Tom Klasnic, an elementary school principal in Gresham, Oregon says school leadership decided not to renew his contract because he is openly gay.
  • Disciplinary action was taken against lesbian teacher Christa Dias who was fired, she contends, because she had artificial insemination, resulting in her pregnancy.
  • In February, Assistant Principal Mike Moroski, was fired from his job at Purcell Marian High School by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for endorsing gay marriage in a blog post.
  • Music teacher Al Fischer was dismissed in 2012 from St. Ann Catholic School in Mo. for planning on marrying his partner.
  • Carla Hale, teacher at Ohio’s Bishop Watterson High School was fired when her partner’s name was listed in her mother’s newspaper obituary.
  • Recently, English teacher gay Ken Bencomo was dismissed of his duties as English teacher at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in California because his wedding picture appeared in the town newspaper.

And the list goes on and on while both the LGBT teachers and students suffer in silence.