This song reminds me of men who only wanted to fix me, feed me, starve me, pay my bills to control me or put me in my place. They just couldn’t accept me for who I am — a pretty good woman. Ani DiFranco:
I had no idea how much rain we got yesterday, or how bad the damage was. There was massive flooding all over the place, looks like. Oy.
Oddly enough, the underpass that goes under the railroad bridge near me wasn’t flooded this time.
What three countries were secretly invaded by the U.S. in our lifetime, while the establishment looked politely in the other direction?
Ding ding ding! We have a winner!
Pam Spaulding has an excellent piece about the dynamics of high school bullying, and how it’s ruining lives.
Today at 1:00pm eastern time, U.S. military veterans hung an enormous banner on the front of the Newseum, wrapping their message around the First Amendment chiseled in five stories of limestone.
Opposed to the wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine, the vets’ message said loud and clear: “MR. OBAMA: END THESE FUCKING WARS! WAR IS THE OBSCENITY.”
Several veterans dropped the banner down the front of the Newseum, while others distributed special edition copies of the War Crimes Times, explaining the action and what they considered obscene.
“The American public should be shocked that we are still killing and crippling thousands of innocent people in these countries as well as our own soldiers — that’s what’s truly obscene,” said Mike Ferner, 59, who served as a navy corpsman during Vietnam. “Blowing people’s arms and legs off, burning, paralyzing them, causing sewage to run through their streets, polluting the water that kills and sickens children, terrorizing and bombing people and their livestock with flying robots– that defines obscenity. If this banner shocks and offends a single person who hasn’t been shocked and offended by what’s being done in our name, we’ve accomplished our misson.”
Veterans and activists taking part in the event include Ken Mayers, Kim Carlyle, Mike Ferner, Bruce Berry, Debbie Tolson, Nic Abramson,Tarak Kauff, Mike Hearington, Will Covert and Elliott Adams of Veterans For Peace.
A great new project started by Dan Savage that tells LGBT teens to hang in past high school, it’ll get a lot better. You might know a kid who needs to see this, so spread it around:
Another gay teenager in another small town has killed himself—hope you’re pleased with yourselves, Tony Perkins and all the other “Christians” out there who oppose anti-bullying programs (and give actual Christians a bad name).
Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother’s property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates—classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself. His mother found his body.
Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are four times likelier to attempt suicide. Many LGBT kids who do kill themselves live in rural areas, exurbs, and suburban areas, places with no gay organizations or services for queer kids.
“My heart breaks for the pain and torment you went through, Billy Lucas,” a reader wrote after I posted about Billy Lucas to my blog. “I wish I could have told you that things get better.”
I had the same reaction: I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.
But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.
Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.
So here’s what you can do, GBVWS: Make a video. Tell them it gets better.
I’ve launched a channel on YouTube—www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject—to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don’t dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we’ve gone and things we’ve experienced—that we would’ve missed out on if we’d killed ourselves then.
“You gotta give ‘em hope,” Harvey Milk said.
Today we have the power to give these kids hope. We have the tools to reach out to them and tell our stories and let them know that it does get better. Online support groups are great, GLSEN does amazing work, the Trevor Project is invaluable. But many LGBT youth can’t picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can’t imagine a future for themselves. So let’s show them what our lives are like, let’s show them what the future may hold in store for them.
The video my husband and I made is up now—all by itself. I’d like to add submissions from other gay and lesbian adults—singles and couples, with kids or without, established in careers or just starting out, urban and rural, of all races and religious backgrounds. (Go to www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject to find instructions for submitting your video.) If you’re gay or lesbian or bi or trans and you’ve ever read about a kid like Billy Lucas and thought, “Fuck, I wish I could’ve told him that it gets better,” this is your chance. We can’t help Billy, but there are lots of other Billys out there—other despairing LGBT kids who are being bullied and harassed, kids who don’t think they have a future—and we can help them.
They need to know that it gets better. Submit a video. Give them hope.
Really excellent piece up at Open Left. Go read!