Relatives have said 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. suffered intense harassment, including threatening cellphone calls and nasty comments posted online, after coming out to family and friends about a month ago. He died April 15 from what the local sheriff's office described only as a "self-inflicted injury."
The Sioux City Journal's front-page opinion piece calls on the community to be pro-active in stopping bullying and urges members to learn more about the problem by seeing the acclaimed new film, "Bully," which documents the harassment of a Sioux City middle school student. It notes that while many students are targeted for being gay, "we have learned a bully needs no reason to strike."
"In Kenneth's case, the warnings were everywhere," the editorial said. "We saw it happen in other communities, now it has hit home. Undoubtedly, it wasn't the first life lost to bullying here, but we can strive to make it the last.
Editor Mitch Pugh said the newspaper has run front-page editorials before but has never devoted the entire page to one.
"A lot of newspapers shy away from putting editorials on the front page, but we feel we have to be a strong advocate for our community," he said. "And if we don't do that, we're not sure who else is."
"When I told my mother I was gay, she grabbed me by the neck and threw me out," he says. "Then she threw my coat on top of me and shut the door." That was five years ago when he was 18, still living at home in Florida.
Uikka is among tens of thousands of homeless youths across America who are LGBT — lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Most are on the streets because they have nowhere else to go — outcasts who leave home after being rejected by family members or flee shelters because residents bully or beat them.
LGBT young people represent a dramatically high proportion of an estimated 600,000 or more homeless youths across the country — between 20 percent and 40 percent, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. But only about 5 percent of youths identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We've won battles for gay marriage and gays in the military," says Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of the New York-based Ali Forney Center, the nation's largest organization for LGBT youth. "This is the next frontier, the next battle: helping these youths."
Anyone thinking about suicide or in need of support is asked to contact the Trevor Lifeline at (866) 488-7386 for help.
Source: The Advocate - Lucas Grindley
Our focus on the well-being of LGBT high school students is certainly warranted, but a groundbreaking report just-released by GLSEN shows that elementary schools are just as in need of our attention.
The report, released on Wednesday and entitled Playgrounds and Prejudice: Elementary School Climate in the United States, finds that many teachers are unprepared to address gender non-conforming students as well as same-sex parents.
Major bullet points from the report include:
Key Findings on Biased Language, Name-Calling and Bullying
Sad news to report from Ottawa: the suicide death of Jamie Hubley, a 15-year-old gay teen who took his own life on Saturday after documenting online the final, painful months of his life. Jamie wrote openly on his Tumblr blog of his struggles with depression, and in a post just three weeks ago, wrote, “I hate being the only open gay guy in my school". ‘This hurts too much,’ was his last blog entry before his suicide. https://natpo.st/ndKnQX
Jamie was described as a gifted actor and singer who loved Lady Gaga, Adele and Katy Perry, and posted numerous videos of himself singing on his personal YouTube channel including this rendition of Gaga’s “Born this Way,” Jamie was a student at AY Jackson Secondary School in Kanata, Ontario, a suburb of Ottawa, where he started a rainbow alliance club for LGBT youth and their allies. A Facebook memorial page is here.
UPDATE: Janie's father says ‘bullying was definitely a factor’ in son Jamie Hubley’s suicide – LGBTQ Nation - https://bit.ly/qHOtvl
ACTOR Zachary Quinto, decided to go public with his sexuality after after hearing about the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, a gay teenager from Buffalo, New York. according to his blog post on his official website,
Rodemeyer took his own life in September, just months after making a video for the "It Gets Better" project, a campaign aimed at preventing suicide among bullied gay teens.
Quinto, who also made an "It Gets Better" video for the project, said, "In light of Jamey's death, it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality." https://bit.ly/mQJ9oT
Following Quinto's post, an ABC News anchor in the US reporting on Quinto used the opportunity to come out of the closet as well. Reporting the story for World News Now, anchor Dan Kloeffler joked that he would reverse his personal policy against dating actors to go out with Quinto.
"...For the same reason that Zach decided to come out, I too, no longer wanted to hide this part of my life," the 35-year-old Kloeffler wrote. "There have been too many tragic endings and too many cases of bullying because of intolerance...as a journalist, I don’t want to be the story, but as a gay man I don’t want to stand silent if I can offer some inspiration or encouragement to kids that might be struggling with who they are." "As a gay man I don't want to stand silent if I can offer some inspiration or encouragement to kids that might be struggling with who they are," he said. - https://huff.to/qSC4n0
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