Tuesday is Give OUT Day

 

Give OUT DayMore than $100,000 in prizes go to LGBT organizations with the most unique donors in a 24-hour national day of giving for the LGBTQ community and takes place on Tuesday, Aug. 2 and runs from midnight to midnight. The online fundraising event includes organizations from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and D.C.

Give OUT Day was launched in 2013 by Bolder Giving with support from the Kevin J. Mossier Foundation and is now a project of Horizons Foundation, a San Francisco-based LGBT communities foundation.

The nonprofits range from the arts to social services agencies, advocacy groups to sports leagues, community centers to health care nonprofits.

“It would be hard to find an LGBT person who hasn’t, at one time or another, turned to an LGBTQ nonprofit at some point in our lives,” said Roger Doughty, President of  Horizons Foundation. “Give OUT Day is an opportunity to engage new donors and support our LGBGTQ organizations for their tireless efforts, often working with limited resource.”

According to Horizons Foundation research, less than 5 percent of LGBT people give direct financial support to LGBTQ organizations.

Equality Texas foundation, Transgender Education Network of Texas, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas are among the local and Texas organizations participating. National organizations like Sage, Binet and Trevor Project are also participating.

Click here to make a donation.

 

—  David Taffet

Black Tie Dinner: The Evening in Photos, Part 1

This is the first of two posts of photos from the 2015 Black Tie Dinner, held Saturday night, Nov. 14, at Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The fundraiser featured speeches by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Kuchling Award winner Melissa Grove, marriage plaintiff Jim Obergefell, E! Entertainment Vice President Jim Olde, a representative of The Trevor Project, HRC President Chad Griffin and more.

Dana Goldberg emceed the evening, with entertainment by Well Strung, Ty Herndon and Betty Who.

First of two photo slideshow posts. Photos by Tammye Nash

—  Tammye Nash

Black Tie Dinner: The Evening in Photos, Part 2

This is the second of two posts of photos from the 2015 Black Tie Dinner, held Saturday night, Nov. 14, at Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The fundraiser featured speeches by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Kuchling Award winner Melissa Grove, marriage plaintiff Jim Obergefell, E! Entertainment Vice President Jim Olde, a representative of The Trevor Project, HRC President Chad Griffin and more.

Dana Goldberg emceed the evening, with entertainment by Well Strung, Ty Herndon and Betty Who.

This is the second of two photo slideshow posts. See the first one here. Photos by Tammye Nash

—  Tammye Nash

Resources for National Suicide Prevention Month

Bwi4qpCCUAEm1B1September is National Suicide Prevention Month. A recent issue of the Voice covered ways of identifying, coping and living with depression. You can read the story here.

We also provided an expansive list of resources, including emergency hotlines, LGBT-affirming faith groups, counselors and more. That list is reprinted below.

Did we miss a great resource? List it in the comments.

National Resources
• The Trevor Project:
866-488-7386
• National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
• NSPH’s Deaf Hotline:
1-800-799-4889
• GLBT National Help Center:
1-888-THE-GLNH (4564)

Local Community Resources
• Alcoholics Anonymous Lambda Group:
214-267-0222 or 214-887-6699
• G.E.A.R. (Gender Education, Advocacy and Resources):
214-528-0144
• Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Fort Worth and Tarrant County:
817-654-7100 or dbsa_fortworth@yahoo.com.
• Legacy Counseling, private and group sessions that include alcohol and substance
abuse programs for people with HIV:
214-520-6308
• Resource Center (in conjunction with SMU’s Master of Science Counseling Education Program):
214-393-3680
• AIDS Outreach Center/The Journey (support group for people living with HIV):
Brenda Wingo, 817-916-5217.
• AIDS Outreach Center/Mujeres Unida(for HIV-positive women, in Spanish):
Ana Colin-Hernandez, 817-916-5214.
• AIDS Outreach Center/Futuro Unidos(for HIV-positive men, in Spanish):
Bea Lampka at 817-916-5225
• AIDS Outreach Center/Man Talk (for HIV-positive gay and bisexual men):
Curtis Smith, 817-916-5219.
• Mental Health America Of Greater Tarrant County | Warm Line (non-crisis referral number, limited hours, 1-5 p.m.
Monday-Friday): 817-546-7826.
• MHMR of Tarrant County 24-hour Crisis Hotline:
1-800-866-2465 or 817-335-3022.
• The Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas:
214-828-1000.

Local LGBT-Affirming Counselors
• Stonewall Behavioral Health:
214-521-1278, Stonewall@Stonewall-inc.com.
• Hall Counseling and Associates:
214-662-3523, dallasXian@aol.com.
• Beth Clardy Lewis, M.A., L.P.C.:
817-781-3735, bethlewistherapy@gmail.com.
• Cynthia Lovell, M.Ed., L.P.C.:
214-497-6268.
• Randy Martin, L.P.C.-S.:
214-392-8247, martinlpc@yahoo.com.
• Tammy Tips, M.A., L.P.C.: 817-300-8809.

Local Religious Resources
• Agape MCC (Fort Worth):
817-535-5002.
• Beth El Binah (Dallas):
214-500-8304.
• Cathedral of Hope (Dallas):
214-351-1901.
• Cathedral of Hope-Mid Cities (Hurst):
817-354-HOPE
• Celebration Community Church (Fort Worth):
817-335-3222
• Celebration on the Lake (Gun Barrel City):
903-451-2302.
• Crossroads Community Church (Dallas):
214-520-9090.
• Harvest MCC (Denton):
940-484-6159.
• Northaven UMC (Dallas):
214-363-2479.
• MCC Dallas:
972-243-0761.
• Oak Lawn UMC (Dallas):
214-521-5197.
• St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church (Dallas):
214-352-0410.
• Trinity MCC (Arlington):
817-265-5454.

—  James Russell

LGBT teen suicides continue — and so does harassment of Asher Brown’s parents

The It Gets Better Project project has helped a number of teens who are bullied in schools and churches. Legislation to stop bullying has passed in a number of states including Texas.

Amy and David Truong at Texas Capitol

But the bullying continues and so does teen suicide. Here are four gay teens who took their own lives in January. Others may have gone unreported as LGBT-related.

• Jan. 1 — Jeffrey Fehr, 18, hanged himself at his family’s home in Granite Bay, Calif.

• Jan. 11 — Eric James Borges, 19, an intern at The Trevor Project, committed suicide after being bullied, tormented and terrorized for most of his life. His religious-extremist parents did not to attend his memorial.

• Jan. 20 — Phillip Parker, 14, of Gorndonsville, Tenn. committed suicide. His parents said he was constantly bullied because he was gay.

• Jan. 29 — Rafael Morelos, 14, of Wenatchee, Wash., who was openly gay, hanged himself after constant bullying.

But the bullying doesn’t stop there. Dallas Voice reported in March 2011 that Asher Brown’s parents, Amy and David Truong, were being harassed for speaking out against the Cy-Fair Independent School District and pushing for anti-bullying legislation.

Asher was one of the teen’s whose suicide brought national attention to the issue. His parents lobbied Texas legislators and testified before the Senate Education Committee about the bullying Asher endured.

Fox News in Houston reports that the Truongs continue to be the victims of bullying and vandalism at their house. Watch the Fox video here.

—  David Taffet

TX schools chalked with anti-bullying messages

Anti-bullying graffiti found at Lampasas High School a week ago

GetEQUAL Texas has posted photos of Lampasas middle and high schools chalked with anti-bullying messages on Jan. 14. The New Civil Rights Movement has more on the incident.

Lampasas is about 25 miles west of Fort Hood.

Jay Morris reports that the schools were chosen because of reports of high rates of bullying. Morris is with the Direct Action Network of San Antonio and GetEQUAL Texas. He says his information comes from an anonymous source.

Messages chalked at the school included “Bully-free zone,” “Not one more youth suicide. Speak Up. Save a Life” and the phone number to the Trevor Project. The photos are from the GetEQUAL Texas Facebook page.

More photos after the jump.

—  David Taffet

Chronicle blogger blames ‘It Gets Better” project for LGBT teen suicides

Kathleen McKinley

Kathleen McKinley

Kathy McKinley is a self-described “conservative activist” who blogs for the Houston Chronicle under the monicker “TexasSparkle.” In a recent post McKinley took the “It Gets Better” project to task for what she believes is their culpability in the suicides of LGBT teens:

“These kids were sold a bill of goods by people who thought they were being kind. The “It will get better” campaign just didn’t think it through. They didn’t think about the fact that kids are different from adults. They handle things differently. They react differently. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE KIDS. You can grumble all day long how unfair it is that straight teens can be straight in high school, and gay kids can’t, but life is unfair. Isn’t the price they are paying too high?? Is it so much to ask them to stand at the door of adulthood before they “come out” publically? Because it may save their life.”

McKinnley’s primary confusion about the “It Gets Better” campaign (other than its name) is the assumption that the goal is to encourage teens to come out of the closet, or encourage them to become sexually active:

“Why in the world would you give teenagers a REASON to tease you? Oh, yes, because the adults tell you to embrace who you are, the only problem? Kids that age are just discovering who they are. They really have no idea yet. The adults tell you to “come out,” when what we should be telling them is that sex is for adults, and there is plenty of time for figuring out that later.”

I would like to encourage Ms. McKinley to watch the “It Gets Better” project’s founder Dan Savages’ video. Please, Ms. McKinley, listen, and tell me if you hear Savage or his partner Terry say anything about teens coming out or having sex. I think what you’ll hear them say is that all of the things that most kids, gay and straight, dream of (falling in love, starting a family, having the support of their parents, co-workers and friends) are possible for LGBT teens. I think you’ll hear them talk about how difficult their teen years were, and about the fears they had that their parents would reject them, that they’d never find success and that they’d always be alone.

Choosing to have sex is one of the most personal decision a person will ever make. For LGBT people, choosing to come out is another. I have not watched all of the thousands of videos from people who have participated in the “It Gets Better” project. It’s possible that there are a few that tell kids to come out right away, or to become sexually active, but I doubt it.

Every video in the project that I have seen has had the same simple message: that the person making it understands how tortuously awful the experience of being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender in Junior and High School can be, but there is a wonderful world of loving, vibrant, successful, engaged LGBT adults out there and if queer teens can just hang on, just for a few years, they can join it. I doubt that any of the contributors to the project think that hanging on for a few years will be easy. I suspect that most of them remember, with excruciating clarity, contemplating ending those temporary years of terror with a permanent solution and that is why they choose to reach out.

I grew up without role models, where people like Barbara Gittings, Bayard Rustin and Harvey Milk didn’t exist . I grew up in a small town where the two men with the pink house were talked about in hushed tones that immediately fell silent when I walked into the room, because it wasn’t appropriate for children’s ears. I grew up in a world where my mother wouldn’t tell me what “gay” meant, where the evening news was turned off if it reported on the AIDS crisis, where I wasn’t given words to describe who I was, and so the only word I could find was “alone.”

I was lucky. My suicide attempt failed.

I was lucky, I survived, and went to college, and found a church that embraced and loved LGBT people. That’s where I met doctors and lawyers and business owners and teachers who were like me. That’s where I met two wonderful women who had built a life together for over 50 years. That’s where I discovered I wasn’t alone and that being gay didn’t mean that i couldn’t have all of those things I’d dreamed of.

That is what McKinley missed in her blog post. In her haste to lay blame on anything other than the overwhelming prejudice perpetuated by schools, churches and governments against LGBT people McKinley missed the fact that kids need role models. In her rush to shove queer teens back into the closet she forgot that human beings need the hope of a better world, lest they give up in despair.

McKinley got one thing right in her post. She titled it “Are Adults Also To Blame For Gay Teen Suicides? Yes.” Adults are to blame for LGBT teen suicides. When adults hide the stunning diversity of God’s creation from their children they create a vision of reality that some of those children can’t see themselves in. When adults tell LGBT teens that they should be invisible then it is all too clear who is to blame when those teens believe them, and take steps to make themselves invisible permanently.

To all the LGBT kids out there: it does get better. There are adults who care about you and want all the wonderful things you dream of to come true, but you have to hang on. If you need to keep who are secret to remain safe then do so. If you need someone to talk to please call the Trevor Project at 866-4-U-Trevor (866-488-7386).

—  admin

‘Big Rich Texas’ cast members to host watching party at Drama Room benefiting Trevor Project

What does the television community see in Dallas? The A-List Dallas debuts next month, and Most Eligible Dallas is already humiliating our fair city, but there’s also the not-especially-gay Big Rich Texas show, which airs on the Style Network. The season finale of the series, about well-heeled mothers and daughters who snipe between credit card purchases, will be holding a watching party on Sunday … in, of all places, the Drama Room on Cedar Springs. Bon and Whit Blossman, above, who appear on the show, will host the viewing party on Sunday, Oct. 2, as a benefit for the Trevor Project. (You can watch some of their antics here.)

Donations will be taken at the door. The show airs at 8 p.m., but arrive early — it’s better watching if you’re already a little drunk.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Are LGBT students safer this year?

ANTI-BULLYING CONFERENCE | President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sit with Brandon Greene of Burrilville, R.I., right, and Jacqui Knight of Moore, Okla., as they meet with students and parents from the Conference on Bullying Prevention in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington last March. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

A year after a rash of teen suicides focused attention on the problem of anti-LGBT bullying, some experts say it’s true things have improved, but not nearly enough

DANA RUDOLPH | Keen News Service
lisakeen@mac.com

Anti-LGBT bullying took the national stage last fall after the highly publicized suicides of several teens bullied for being or being perceived to be LGBT.

The relentless bullying, many believe, may have been one of the contributing factors in many of those youths’ decisions to attempt suicide, and their deaths led to a surge of anti-bullying awareness campaigns and media coverage.

But will LGBT students entering school this fall be any safer after a year of heightened awareness about the issue? Two LGBT leaders are doubtful, although they acknowledge some positive changes.

Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, said, “Last fall, the nation as a whole woke up to the potential consequences of this problem.”

And this year, “more schools are aware of what they need to do, and there are more resources out there,” she said.

But while “we’ve made progress” in people’s understanding of anti-LGBT bullying and “ideas and policies are getting traction,” Byard said, there is still “a lot of work to be done.”

David McFarland, interim executive director/CEO of The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT and questioning youth, said he too believes there is a long way yet to go.

“We’re not there yet because we’re continuing to see anti-LGBT rhetoric and movement across this country that has a negative effect on young people,” McFarland said. “There is greater awareness around this issue, but LGBT students still experience bullying and harassment at an alarming rate.”

Research has shown the negative effects of bullying. GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey found that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced verbal or physical harassment at school in the previous year, which was related to increased depression and anxiety and decreased self-esteem.

And a study in the May 2011 Journal of School Health found that anti-LGBT bullying at school “is strongly linked” to negative mental health for its victims, including an increased frequency of suicide attempts and increased risk for engaging in behaviors that can lead to infection with STDs and HIV.

The increased risks exist not only while the victim is in adolescence, but also in young adulthood.

At the federal level

Federal actions taken over the last year to address anti-LGBT bullying include, most prominently, an anti-bullying conference hosted by the While House in March 2011, at which President Obama told attendees that bullying is “more likely to affect kids that are seen as different,” including those who are different because of sexual orientation.

The U.S. Department of Education has also issued a number of letters to educators, reminding them:

• that federal laws require schools to take action against bullying, including gender-based and sexual harassment of LGBT students.

• that schools receiving federal funds must provide equal access to school resources for all student groups, including gay-straight alliances, and that GSAs “can help make schools safe and affirming environments for everyone.”

• that effective state anti-bullying laws include ones that specify “actual or perceived characteristics of students who have historically been targets of bullying,” such as sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the states

On the state level, since last fall, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut and Rhode Island enacted anti-bullying legislation that explicitly prohibits bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as recommended by the Department of Education, making a total of 14 states that do so.

The others include California, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

An additional two, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, specify sexual orientation, but not gender identity.

North Dakota and Texas enacted anti-bullying laws in the last year, but those laws do not enumerate sexual orientation and gender identity.

And Byard said there has been “tremendous activity at district and local levels” across the country to address bullying.

McFarland, too, stressed the importance of local action.

“Schools and communities need to take concrete steps, creating safe spaces where youth can receive support from caring adults,” he said.

Both the Trevor Project and GLSEN are among the organizations that provide training to help them do so.

Byard said, however, that, “The biggest problem we have right now is that schools are in crisis because of the economy. We’ve got to make sure schools that want to do the right thing are not prevented because of a lack of resources.”

It may be tough going. The federal Fiscal Year 2011 budget drained more than $100 million from the two primary federal grant programs that address bullying. And state education budgets continue to face cuts.

McFarland noted that, in some districts, the problem may be attitudinal as well as budgetary, especially in states and school districts with “no promo homo” laws or policies preventing school-based instruction that could be interpreted to be positive about homosexuality.

Eight states — Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah — have such laws statewide, according to GLSEN.

But individual school districts in other states may have similar policies, as does the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota, part of which is in the congressional district of presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center recently filed a lawsuit against the district, claiming the policies “exacerbated” anti-gay harassment. This caused some students “serious emotional harm, including anxiety, anger, and depression, which led some of them to consider or attempt suicide.”

In the nine months between November 2009 and July 2010, at least four LGBT students within the district died by suicide.

Federal anti-bullying legislation “would make an enormous difference,” said Byard.

Three pairs of bills in the U.S. House and Senate would address anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools and universities. But the bills seem unlikely to pass the current Republican-controlled House, despite having a handful of Republican co-sponsors.

Still, Byard and McFarland feel the efforts over the past year have had some positive effect.

“After last year, more doors are open,” Byard said. “People know this needs to be done.”

McFarland added, “For the first time, the challenges of LGBT youth are no longer invisible on a local, state, or national level.”

© 2011 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

—  John Wright

Better get over to Lakewood Bar & Grill now to help out the Trevor Project

I just received a text from local musician SuZanne Kimbrell about tonight’s event. She’s the lady behind the bimonthly Twist music events held bi-monthly at Lakewood Bar & Grill that features local LGBT artists we don’t see anywhere else.

She messaged that tonight’s One Night Stand show at the LBG is benefiting The Trevor Project and all the money from the $10 cover is going toward the organization. The thing is, it started at 7 p.m. But with a healthy lineup of musicians, I figure the event will last well into the night. Immigrant Punk, Emmiline, Jay Bean, Kimbrell and more all perform tonight.

You still have time to get there, have a beer, get in tune with some homegrown music and help out the good cause. You know you want to.

—  Rich Lopez