Category Archives: Bullying

The Make it Better Project

Make it Better Project

http://www.makeitbetterproject.org/

About

Make It Better Project

What is the Make It Better Project?

GSA Network launched the Make It Better Project on October 1st, 2010 to give youth and adults the concrete tools they need to make schools safer for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students right now.

Through our YouTube channel, social media, and the campaigns, initiatives, and resources available on this website, the Make It Better Project aims to educate, motivate, and unite students and adults to effectively take action to stop bullying and harassment in schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.  Our goal is to create safe, welcoming school environments that actively support LGBT youth and prevent suicide.

GSA NetworkContact Us

The Make It Better Project is sponsored by Gay-Straight Alliance NetworkGSA Network empowers youth to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools by training youth activists and supporting student-led Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in California and throughout the country.

How does the Make It Better Project differ from the It Gets Better Project?

Columnist Dan Savage started the “It Gets Better” video campaign to send a message of hope to LGBT youth who are experiencing bullying and contemplating suicide.  His project, along with a swell in media coverage of youth deaths by suicide in the fall of 2010, ignited dialogue across the country about the epidemic of bullying in our schools. But it left an important question unaddressed: what can we do to make it better?

GSA Network launched the Make It Better Project to let students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and adult allies know that there are concrete actions they can take right now to make schools safer for all students.

Is bullying is a widespread problem?

Yes. The federal government estimates that 2 out of 10 high school students experience bullying each year, and the problem is typically worse for middle school students.  For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, this rate is 9 out of 10.   Bullying, particularly bullying based on bias or discrimination, is an epidemic in our country.

“The Make It Better Project is a chance to do something about injustices in our schools. It’s an opportunity to have a voice, to be known, to be understood, and to be accepted. It will NOT get better until we MAKE IT BETTER!  I participated because I know what it’s like to be discriminated against, not only because of my gender identity, but by my skin color as well. It hurts to know that someone will not be accepted and it is devastating to feel so unwanted and hated that you get pushed to the brink of self-harm. I’ve participated in Make It Better because it gives me a chance to help the ones I wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.” - Buddie Sims, student, Pomona, California

One Town’s War on Gay Teens

This article… this hate is why we started this project.

One Town’s War on Gay Teens – Rolling Stone Magazine (online)

One Town’s War on Gay Teens

In Michele Bachmann’s home district, evangelicals have created an extreme anti-gay climate. After a rash of suicides, the kids are fighting back.

by: Sabrina Rubin Erdely

A candlelight vigil in Minneapolis for the victims of gay bullying.

A candlelight vigil in Minneapolis for the victims of gay bullying.
© Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Minneapolis Star Tribune/ZUMApress.com

Every morning, Brittany Geldert stepped off the bus and bolted through the double doors of Fred Moore Middle School, her nerves already on high alert, bracing for the inevitable.

“Dyke.”

Pretending not to hear, Brittany would walk briskly to her locker, past the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who loitered in menacing packs.

“Whore.”

Full text after the cut.

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RIP Jamey Rodemeyer

thedailywhat:

RIP: 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, a victim of relentless anti-gay bullying, was found dead earlier this week of an apparent suicide.

“I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens,” Jamey wrote on his Tumblr blog in a post dated September 9th. “What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”

The bullying got particularly intense about twelve months ago, when classmates started leaving homophobic remarks on Jamey’s Formspring page. “JAMIE [sic] IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!,” read one of the many vicious comments.

Friends were always there to defend him, however, and Jamey himself even appeared to be taking the abuse in stride, contributing a video to Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project, in which he echos the words of Lady Gaga, telling other bullying victims to “hold [their] head up.”

Sadly, despite assuring his parents multiple times that everything was fine, all was not as it seemed. On Sunday, Jamey posted one final note on his Tumblr: “Thank you Lady Gaga.”

“He touched so many hearts, so many people,” Jamey mom Tracy’s told The Buffalo News. “I didn’t realize how many people he touched. He was the sweetest, kindest kid you’d ever know. He would give all his heart to you before he gave any to himself.”

As American servicemen and women across the globe celebrate the long-overdue demise of the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Jamey’s untimely death offers a stark reminder that the struggle for tolerance is far from over.

It’s OK to be Takei!

Actor George Takei has an excellent response to the idiotic bill in Tennessee prohibiting people from saying the word Gay.

Support George! Fight back at http://bit.ly/dontsaygay

George Takei takes on the Tennessee Legislature and its “Don’t Say Gay” bill, in the way only George Takei can!

A bill now pending in Tennessee would prohibit teachers in that state from discussing homosexuality in the classroom. The so-called “don’t say gay” law is premised on the misguided belief that, by not talking about gay people, they can simply make us disappear.

George is here to tell Tennessee, and all the LGBT youth and teachers who would be affected by this law, that he is here for you. In fact, he is lending his name to the cause. Any time you need to say the word “gay,” you can simply say “Takei.”

You can buy T-shirts and other items that say “It’s OK to be Takei”, to wear and display with pride and to show Tennessee and the world that you’re against censorship and bigotry….

All the proceeds from the sales of these items will be donated to charity. Have a TAKEI old time!

Damian Furtch shares his experience of being a victim of anti-gay violence in NYC

Damian Furtch Shares His Story About Being a Victim of Anti-Gay Violence in New York City

Credit for story goes to GLAAD’s Website.

GLAAD sat down with Damian Furtch, the 26-year old who was violently attacked last Sunday in front of a West Village McDonald’s, for his first interview since the attack. Damian shares his story of what happened.

“My name is Damian Furtch, and I was violently attacked on March 27 by two men in the West Village. My friend and I were at the local McDonalds ordering food when I noticed two men staring at us. My friend and I ordered our food and waited for our order to be filled. I stepped outside to make a phone call in an effort to avoid the tension in the restaurant and remove myself from the situation.  The two gentlemen stepped out after me and asked if I had a problem. I told one of them that I had stepped out just to use the phone and had no problem with him or his three friends. Then, all of a sudden the second gentleman hit me on the right side of my face causing me to stumble. Then I felt three punches to the face.

After the attack, I stumbled back into the McDonald’s and told my friend that we needed to go to the hospital because I had been attacked. We then rushed to Roosevelt Hospital where I received medical attention.

The attack against me is part of the larger issue of violence against gay and transgender people in New York City.  While I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story, I hope to shed light on the larger issue of violence against my community. This has to stop. Under no circumstance should a person be attacked for their sexual orientation.

This has been a traumatic experience for me, my friends and my family.  I’d like to thank my close friends and family who have been supportive and loving through this situation.  I’d also like to thank City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s office, the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Unit and the LGBT and ally community for their continued Facebook and e-mail support. It’s much appreciated and recognized.

GLAAD provided Damian with a media training and is also helping garner media attention around this particular incident and the larger issue of violence against the gay and transgender communities.

 

The Force is With You, Katie, ‘Cause We Got Your Back

You may have heard about Katie.  She’s that adorable little girl who was teased at school because she likes Star Wars – and Star Wars “isn’t for girls.”  When I read Katie’s story, I teared up just a little bit.   I’ll admit, I got a little miffed on behalf of Princess Leia and my man Yoda.   But that’s not what upset me. I think I have a pretty good idea of what Katie must have felt when her classmates told her that Star Wars isn’t for girls.  My entire life people have been telling me what’s for girls and what’s for boys.  The clothes I wear, the way I cut my hair, the people I love, and the movies I watch have been judged for their appropriateness for someone of my assigned gender.  As a queer person, what happened to Katie has happened me too.  And I can’t help but cry a little when I think of one more kid going through that.

But when I read the article “The ‘Force’ is With You, Katie!”, I started crying for a whole different reason.  This article tells the story of Star Wars fans who rallied around Katie.  They sent her encouraging messages and Star Wars clothes that fit girls and donated Star Wars toys to other kids in her honor.  Thanks to these geeks, Katie’s awesome mom, and a school that’s taking bullying more seriously, Katie is getting the message that it’s okay to be who she is and that there are a lot of people  standing with her.

Of the Star Wars fans who supported Katie, Katie’s mom writes: “What strikes me is how these individuals who were once so isolated are now part of a very tight community.  They have found each other; they are plugged into each other, and they have each other’s backs. Now they have Katie’s back, too.”

That, my friends, is what we’ve got to do. This story is a wonderful example of the sort of movement we have to build – a movement against bullying and oppression that goes beyond words into action

My fellow star Wars fans, I’ve never been more proud.

You are Loved…by Gennie Z

I guess you could say that I’m not your standard bullying victim. I’ve never been physically assaulted. I’ve been called names, but ‘fortunately’ that had nothing to do with my sexual preferences. As far as bullying goes, I’ve been lucky.

I wasn’t attacked. I was invisible.

I had a few friends growing up in elementary and middle school that I could spend time with. In high school I discovered the music department, and made friends with some of the other ‘music geeks’, though at times it seemed they were just tolerating my presence because they felt sorry for me. I later switched to another high school, where I was an outcast because I was quiet, shy, and a good student. I spent my lunch breaks sitting on a bench in the sun, wearing sunglasses and pretending to be asleep because it was better than being rejected, than admitting that I was lonely.

Most bullying is acknowledged as physical and verbal abuse. But often people forget the emotional bullying, which leads to mental abuse. No, I wasn’t attacked. But the isolation, the loneliness, began to make me think that there was something wrong with me. That something about who I was, was simply unlikeable. My confidence and self-esteem plummeted, and I stayed shy and quiet, trying to stay out of the way of people who were more important than me. Because clearly, I wasn’t someone worth knowing. It was better for me to stand back and let the people who were right, and strong, and good take the spotlight.

That wasn’t to say I was always miserable. I was happy with the few friends I had, to the point of being clingy. When I was happy, I threw myself into the feeling, desperate to hold on to it. Which made the days when I was lonely, sad, and miserable, even worse.

As I hit my mid-teens, things started to get complicated. My friends and family began to make comments about my sexual preferences, hinting that they thought I was gay. I wasn’t very feminine as a teenager, because I didn’t know how to be. And something about that made the people who were important to me, as well as the people who weren’t, believe that I was hiding my interests.

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