Another approach to anti-gay bullying

Jeremy Liebbe wants to show LGBT youth how to fight back against would-be bulliers and bashers.

Liebbe, an openly gay detective sergeant for the Dallas ISD police department, is a volunteer at Youth First Texas who’s taught the YFT Youth Defenders program for the last two years.

The daylong Youth Defenders Program, which is open to all YFT youth and volunteers, will be offered again Saturday, Oct. 23. The program teaches basic self-defense and self-awareness techniques, and is designed to help raise participants’ self-esteem.

Liebbe, a first-degree black belt and a SWAT-trained supervisor in the DISD police narcotics unit, said the Youth Defenders program is especially relevant given the ongoing gay teen bullying and suicide crisis.

“Just changing their mindset alone is going to prevent most bullying,” Liebbe said. “Bullies and bashers, they’re looking for an easy target. Most of the time the bully’s going to back down or walk away the moment they realize you’re going to fight them.

“A lot of it is just self-esteem,” he added. “It’s almost a self-victimizing cycle. Anything we can do to increase the self-esteem and personal power of this very marginalized age group is going to help reduce self-destructive behavior.”

The Youth Defenders program will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Youth First Texas. For more information or to sign up, visit the Facebook page.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Houston LGBT equality group plans protest near Asher Brown’s school

An LGBT equality group is organizing a protest and vigil on Tuesday afternoon near Hamilton Middle School, where gay 13-year-old Asher Brown was “bullied to death.”

According to the Facebook page, the event is being organized by the Foundation for Family and Marriage Equality, which is described on its own page as a “Houston social justice organization committed to equality for families headed by GLBTQ couples.”

From KTRK in Houston:

The demonstration is set to begin at 3pm across the street from Hamilton Middle School. That is the time that school lets out. Organizers of this event are calling it an anti-bully human rights demonstration and while it will highlight the case of Asher who was a student at Hamilton, the event will address the larger trend that we have seen across the country.

Sadly in September alone nine teens committed suicide across the U.S. because they say they were in some form or fashion bullied at school. Organizers and advocates say schools need programs in place and that states need to pass laws to protect kids like Asher and prevent further tragedy.

“Everybody was feeling really bad about this what has happened to Asher Brown and I think people were just kind of tired of it,” said rally organizer Barry Ouellette. “We wanted to get out and do something about it and make sure that action is taken.”

—  John Wright

COX SHOCKS: Michigan AG Mike Cox Reverses Himself, Suspends Anti-Gay Cyber Bully Andrew Shirvell

It only took a couple of CNN appearances by both parties, but Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is no longer defending his Andrew Shirvell's First Amendment right to be a dick to gay college student Chris Armstrong. Cox suspended the assistant attorney general. Why the 180 after saying he wouldn't punish Shirvell?

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Queerty

—  John Wright

Attorney General Mike Cox: Michigan’s Top Anti-Gay Bully

Back in April, Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general in Michigan, started a blog called “Chris Armstrong Watch”.  You may have seen him boasting about it last night on CNN’s AC360.  The blog is a cyber-bullying attack on Chris Armstrong, student body president at University of Michigan.  Armstrong is under attack simply because he is gay.  The inaugural blog post starts out like this:

Welcome to “Chris Armstrong Watch.” This is a site for concerned University of Michigan alumni, students, and others who oppose the recent election of Chris Armstrong – a RADICAL HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVIST, RACIST, ELITIST, & LIAR – as the new head of student government.

Michigan is a state where you can be fired for being gay or transgender, or for being perceived to be gay or transgender.  And although Michigan’s Attorney General Mike Cox has been championing an anti-cyberbullying campaign, there are no protections for students in Michigan who are bullied because they are or are precieved to be gay or transgender.  

Then along comes Andrew Shervill, a cyberbully who works for the Attorney General as an official representative of the law.  Any attorney general worth their salt would recognize a huge problem in the making — the perception that the Office of the Attorney General is biased against gays — and act swiftly and decisively to rectify the situation.

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox

Any attorney general truly concerned with cyberbullying and truly concerned that Michigan residents maintain faith in the fairness and impartiality of the office of the state’s top lawyer would have something more solid to say than this:

Cox [initially] defended Shirvell’s “non-work related private blog.” Cox took later released a more strongly-worded statement, saying Shirvell’s “immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office are clear.”

Thumbnail Link: Amicus Brief Of Ten Attorneys General In Perry v. SchwarzeneggerThe writing is on the wall: Attorney General Mike Cox has no interest in cracking down on anti-gay cyberbullies in his own department, and he is unconcerned about maintaining the public’s trust in the fairness and impartiality of his office because Cox is himself an anti-gay bully.  

In his capacity as Attorney General of Michigan, last week Cox joined twelve other state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger Proposition 8 case.  The brief supports California’s discriminatory anti-equality marriage amendment that in November, 2008 striped loving gay and lesbian couples of their right to marry.  

In signing onto this brief, Cox is bullying the entire gay population of the states of California and Michigan.  His signature on that brief sends the strongest signal possible gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Michigan that their top lawyer, the Attorney General, thinks their marriages would denigrate civil marriage.

Call Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm and Attorney General Mike Cox and demand they show their commitment to the protection of all of Michigan’s residents from bullying by investigating, reprimanding or firing Andrew Shirvell.

Gov office: (517) 335-7858

AG Office: (517) 373-1110

Keep an eye on Equality Michigan‘s Facebook page for further action opportunities.  Below the fold, Julielyn Gibbons describes in depth Andrew Shervill’s anyi-gay cyberbullying crusade.  You may wish to sign her Change.org petition “MI Attorney General: Fire anti-gay cyber-bully Andrew Shirvell“.

Related:

* State AGs: Sexless Marriage is Counterfeit, Same-Sex Version Would Destroy Marriage
Julielyn Gibbons describes the depth of the problem at the Change.org petition “MI Attorney General: Fire anti-gay cyber-bully Andrew Shirvell

Targeting: Mike Cox (Michigan Attorney General)

Started by: Julielyn Gibbons

Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general in Michigan, started a website to attack Chris Armstrong, the President of the University of Michigan student body.

At that site, Armstrong, a college student who happens to be gay, has been subjected by Mr. Shirvell to a barrage of insults and attacks unworthy of the office of Attorney General.

He has doctored photos to show Mr. Armstrong emblazoned with a Nazi swastika surrounded by a rainbow flag.

He has referred to Mr. Armstrong as “Satan’s representative on the Student Assembly.”

And he has described Mr. Armstrong as a “Nazi-like” recruiter for “the cult that is homosexuality.”

These actions would be troubling enough coming from a private citizen. Taken as the work of an Assistant Attorney General – someone sworn to uphold the law – they amount to not only an affront to all Michiganders, but an affront to the basic notion of equal justice.

But the hard truth is that Mr. Shirvell’s activity is not an isolated incident, only the most recent in a history of repeated attacks on Michigan’s gay community.

He has described gay Americans as belonging to a “Culture-of-Death.”

He wrote that one gay rights activist was “indoctrinating children with his perversity.”

All of this coming from a man who has sworn to uphold the rights for all citizens of Michigan.

Petition Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox to fire Andrew Shirvell and show that his office will not tolerate harassment and bullying by one of their own.

Watch: Andrew Shirvell with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on AC360

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

‘Real Students With Real Stats’

The Bully Suicide Project, a nonprofit organization launched in 2009, has launched its Fall Campaign with nationally recognized local photographer Tracy Nanthavongsa and make-up by Melissa Whitaker.

The theme of the Fall Campaign is “Real Students With Real Stats.” Each model in the campaign is a high school or middle school student in North Texas that has survived bullying. Photos are graphic and drive home the real life effects of bullying by portraying the physical signs. The Bully Suicide Project (BSP), based in Dallas, is fast becoming one of the top resources for schools and parents for bullying prevention and education.

The BSP has been featured on CNN, Fox and CBS. The Fall Campaign is set to reach new goals by being introduced internationally with organizations in Australia, China, England and Italy.

To view the Fall Campaign, please visit http://bullysuicideproject.com or Facebook at “The Bully Suicide Project.”

The Bully Suicide Project seeks funding from outside sources so that each school can receive this vital training for free. For more information, please contact Beaux Wellborn, assistant director of the Bully Suicide Project at 214-635-1985 or http://bullysuicideproject.com/

—  admin