Be A Visible Ally
Coinciding with October’s Anti-Bullying Awareness Month and the seventeenth anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death, LGBT allies, including corporations, friends, organizations, will show their support against bullying on October 15th, National Spirit Day. It’s not too late to pledge your support on-line with a donation, turn your profile purple, the color of “spirit” on the rainbow flag, order Safe Space Kits for your middle or high school, obtain Resource Kits or wear a Spirit Day button.
Observed since 2010, this world-wide Spirit Day has corporate sponsors such as Wells Fargo that makes schools safer havens for LGBT children and their teachers with their Safe Space Kits. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West has already pledged to support LGBT kids and take a stand against bullying.
Climate Better But Still A Backlash Against Equal Rights
Even with same-sex marriage being passed as the law of the land last June, and the majority of households polled approving of gay marriage, creating almost a false security that all is well, there is still a backlash in this country from Right Wing organizations such as The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) or The Family Research Council (FRC). Transgendered individuals seem to be the least understood and share the brunt of the most attacks, physical and verbal.
In our States, did you know that:
• Only fifteen states have laws that address hate or bias crimes, but do not address sexual orientation or gender identity.
• There is no federal statue explicitly addressing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
• GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) reports that over 80% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed due to a real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
• LGBT students report missing one day of school a month because of harassment.
For more tips on combatting bullying in schools, see blog posts: “When The School is Lax About Bullying,” 8/31/15, “The 4R’s: ‘Riting, “Rithmetic, and Regulation,” 8/21/15, and “The Legacy of Bullying,” 6/11/15.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.