New Site!

Please go to the new site, This site is no longer going to be updated or kept current. All posts and information will be on the new site.

Come join us on the new site!

Hey all. Just so you know this will now be the only place for these blog posts.

As we transition Change You Can Afford into a charity, that site will be dedicated to the charity and no longer host the blogging archives.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ending Gay Bullying....

Even in this day and age, queer youth face the risk of bullying, tormenting, and even attacks. There have been numerous, at least eight, suicides of teens who were gay or were bullied and harassed on the assumption that they were gay.

These stories break my heart for multiple reasons. First of all, the loss of people as young as 13 is just heart wrenching. A 13 year old has not experienced so many of life's joys and the experiences they have missed out on is so sad. At 13, there were so many things to live for that I didn't even know about and had not yet experienced. Everyone deserves the chance to experience life's up and downs and the things that make life worth living for.

Also, for those who were queer, they never got to be okay with who they are. They bullying and teasing made them feel so ashamed of who they are that they would rather commit suicide than have their family know they were gay or acknowledge their true selves in public. They never got to find people and family that love and accept them for themselves, no matter who they love.

And the fact that gayness is still being used as a pejorative label. Bullies use queerness to belittle and make one the other. To show their difference and make it a weakness. To say you are weird and that weirdness makes you a bad person. That kids and full grown adults still use these identities as an insult and consider them to be bad and a threat to our society is just ludicrous. But as insults they have the power to make children contemplate and attempt suicide.

And the reason it is so important to talk about this is because gay teens attempt suicide four times more often than their straight peers. Not being accepted and considered weird your whole life definitely impacts queer teens through bullying and teasing...

So today, I am donating to GLSEN - the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. They do some really great work at trying to stop bullying in our schools and to create safe space for diversity. They are "the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community."

I first heard about this organization through participating in the Day of Silence event held in April across the nation. It is a nationally student organized event in which participants are silent throughout the day in order to raise awareness of the silence around the issue of LGBT bullying. It is a symbolic event to show the helplessness and inability to voice their true feelings that many youth experience.  LGBT and allies, raise awareness through not speaking of the issues facing our youth.

I found it to be a very powerful and moving event and thus think that GLSEN is a great organization for me to support on this blog.

And to any queer LGBT youth, I care about and accept you, please don't think about giving up on life so early. If you or anyone you know is thinking about suicide because of their sexuality please call the Trevor Project - 866- 4 U TREVOR.

Thanks all, and please spread the word that in this day and age we should all support our queer friends, family, and everyone else!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Today is a day in which the queer community supports others through national coming out events and is also a great chance for all people to support their LGBT families, friends, employees, and other peoples. So I am supporting the Human Rights Campaign today, because they organize many of the events today.

Additionally, this year's day is especially important in regards to the recent teen LGBT suicides which I have written about previously. From the Human Rights Campaign website, here is some info on the events: "This year’s National Coming Out Day takes on increased importance after at least eight teenagers have taken their own lives as a result of anti-gay bullying and harassment, including four in one Minnesota school district alone. “The more we as LGBT people tell our stories and engage others, the closer we are to achieving equality,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.  “The recent tragedies involving young gay Americans, and those perceived to be gay, increase the urgency for all people of good conscious to Come Out for Equality. Our youth need to have ‘out’ role models and see the visible support of non-gay Americans.”

The importance of this year’s event will be heightened by the recent news of teen suicides precipitated by anti-LGBT bullying and/or harassment.  National Coming Out Day encourages people that are or may be LGBT to live open and honest lives. Similarly, the yearly observance is also an opportunity for all fair-minded Americans, friends and family members to support LGBT people they know."

So, as all fair minded Americans should support LGBT individuals and support children's right to go to school without experiencing bullying. Today I come out in support of LGBT right and support everyone who is coming out or reaffirming their sexuality. I hope you do too!