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'I'm Not Gay No More' Man Responds to Viral Video of His Megachurch Conversion

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The International Business Times reports that Andrew Caldwell, the "not gay no more" young man from the viral megachurch video, has written a response via Facebook.

Ha addresses his criticism — the widespread doubt that Caldwell had actually been "turned straight," but also the suggestion that Caldwell staged the moment for publicity.

Here's an excerpt of the statement:

As a child, I was raped by a member of my own family. At that time I did not think of it as abuse. I kind of enjoyed it. I kept it to myself, not realizing how it had changed me. Growing up wasn't a pleasant experience. I was harassed, heckled, and ridiculed by classmates...After joining my present church, it came to me that this lifestyle was not right. It seemed that the more I tried to quit on my own, the more intense was the temptation. All last week I fasted and prayed. On this past Saturday at the Convocation, there was an alter call. I came forward and offered my testimony. It was unscripted.

If you are quick to mock Caldwell, or if the story is leaving a bad taste in your mouth, be sure to check out BET Entertainment Editor Clay Cane's take, over at HuffPo. It's an empathetic and sensitive reminder that in discussing this issue, we should use care. Says Cane:

I hope this boy is on suicide watch. The way he is being shamed in the public [and] in that church is heartbreaking to see...The bishop said he chose to do this. No he didn't. When you're brainwashed you're not choosing anything...He's doing what he thinks will make him feel loved and accepted in his community. The funny thing is, people are mocking it... but if he were 'more masculine,' people would take it seriously.

Caldwell's "conversion" took place at the Church of God in Christ’s 107th's Holy Convocation in St. Louis, Missouri. In a statement posted online, COGIC responded to the viral video:

We believe that we should reflect the love and compassion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in all that we do. We do not in any way compromise our biblical position against same sex unions or in favor of biblical teaching on matters of sexual conduct. At the same time we expect that our clergy and laity will be civil and considerate as they speak to men and women regarding issues related to our Christian faith. We love all people, regardless of their faith or moral standards. When we fail to express ourselves with love and humility we contradict our witness
to the world.

Furthermore, the Church of God in Christ wholly condemns acts of violence against and the subjugation of any person to verbal or physical harassment on the basis of their sexual stance. Such actions violate entirely the Christian’s obligation to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

The Church of God in Christ will have no further comment on this matter.

Video from HuffPo, including Cane's take is AFTER THE JUMP...

Caldwell also briefly spoke to Atlanta's CBS 46 News about the video and his "conversion," which you can check out after the jump as well. 

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Teen Hospitalized After Fighting Back Against Anti-gay Bullies Is Now being Charged With Assault: VIDEO

Martin

A Virginia teen who spent nine days in the hospital after fighting back against his anti-gay bullies at high school is now being charged with assault, NBC 12 reports:

Martin2[Eric's mother Mary Martin] admits Eric threw the first punch, but she says he was a victim of bullying. She says he was constantly hit with gay slurs. The Martins are fighting back with the help of family advocate Tammy Motola.

"It's always the perpetrators that get away with the crime," said Motola. "When the victims have finally had enough, after being verbally attacked and bullied for years and they snap...they are the ones that are penalized."

Eric was initially prevented from coming back to any Henrico school until he signed a student threat documentation form over allegations he threatened the school.

Mary Martin refused to sign any documentation and launched a campaign called Letters for Eric in support of her son.

NBC 12 adds:

"He has been called names," said Martin. "He has been called gay. He has been called a f------."

The Martin family is pleading for help as Eric remains on suicide watch.

"Bullying is real," cried Martin. "And bullying can take your children away from here if you don't pay close attention."

Watch a news report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

(h/t Jezebel)

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National Association of Basketball Coaches Adds Sexual Orientation to Non-Discrimination Policy: READ

Nabc

The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) has added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination and anti-bullying policies, reports OutSports.

The new policy reads in part:

“The NABC opposes all forms of discrimination against any individual on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, disability, sexual orientation or religion. There is no room for such actions in the sport of men's basketball.

“The NABC opposes any action or inaction that has a tendency to cause or is intended to cause emotional or physical harm, an unequal or disproportionate effect, or unreasonable requirement because of any particular trait. Further, the NABC opposes any behavior toward players that is offensive, abusive, belittling, intimidating or threatening.

“...most schools where our members coach have comprehensive anti-bullying policies and procedures, and we encourage anyone who feels that he or she has been a target of bullying to utilize these procedures. Our member coaches are always there to assist players who feel that they have been the targets of bullying.”

Welcoming the decision, Anthony Nicodemo [pictured], the head basketball coach at Saunders High School in New York, who came out last year, said:

Nicodemo“To have the NABC put out such a powerful statement on inclusion shows the importance of the issue. I have been a member for over 15 years and the organization was so supportive with the concerns. So many coaches will receive the statement and I hope it continues to promote a change in athletics overall. It really makes me proud to be a member."

According to Bob Walsh, the new head men's basketball coach at the University of Maine, education around the area of homophobic discrimination and bullying is needed:

“Guys are generally unaware of maybe some hurtful comments or phrases that they use that they might consider mainstream. People are aware of something that's racially offensive, but they're less aware of how it affects [people who are gay]."

Walsh added that although he hears the word "faggot" regularly around basketball, he addresses it every time:

"It's an accepted insult that's considered funny by some people. I hear it a lot in team settings with males, and I immediately address it. I help them understand the connotation and the hurt in that word. I think that's where you start the conversation."

Although the policy has been criticised for its lack of inclusion of gender identity and expression, its hoped that these issues can be addressed in the future.

Earlier this year we reported that Derrick Gordon, the first openly gay NCAA Division One male basketball player, is now dating former CSI actor Gerald McCullouch.

Read the NABC statement in full, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "National Association of Basketball Coaches Adds Sexual Orientation to Non-Discrimination Policy: READ" »


Canadian Teacher Suspended After Putting 'I'm Gay' Sticker on Student's Back: VIDEO

Langley

It's one of the oldest student pranks in the book: stick a sign on another kid's back that says "kick me" or some other phrase meant to humiliate.

AldergroveBut in a 2013 incident at Aldergrove Community Secondary School in Langley, British Columbia, the prank was played by a teacher. Daniel Mark Ogloff, a metal and machine shop teacher, placed a piece of masking tape on a student's back with the words "I'm gay" written on it, clearly intending to mock the student, The Province reports:

“Ogloff placed a piece of masking tape on the back of the jacket of a male Grade 11 student” with the words ‘I’m gay’ written on it, according to the report.

“Ogloff then gestured ‘shhh’ to the students after putting the tape on and pointed at another student and mouthed words to the effect, ‘It was him.’ ”

Students were laughing and taking photos.

“Ogloff considered this to be horseplay,” said the report.

Ogloff was suspended for 10 weeks for that incident and was ordered to participate in a “restorative action” with the student. He was also ordered to participate in mandatory mentorship with another teacher and to complete courses required by the district.

“Ogloff disputes the appropriateness of this discipline,” according to the report.

In the other incident, Ogloff in December 2012 “spoke inappropriately and disrespectfully” to a Grade 12 student who approached him in class to ask why she was the only student failing.

“Ogloff responded by saying words to the effect of ‘she wants to know why you’re passing and she’s not,’ in a loud voice,” adding, “‘you are never here and you don’t do anything in this class.’”

The incident is coming to light now because The B.C. Commissioner of Teacher Regulation has just slapped him with a two week suspension of his teaching certificate. The school district suspended him for 10 weeks last November.

Should this bully even be teaching kids?

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Canadian Teacher Suspended After Putting 'I'm Gay' Sticker on Student's Back: VIDEO" »


PepsiCo Announces New Campaign Supporting GLAAD Anti-Bullying Spirit Day Campaign - VIDEO

GLAAD spirit day 2014

Last Friday, PepsiCo announced “Purple On!” campaign to support GLAAD’s October 16th annual Spirit Day, which inspires millions of Americans to wear purple to take a united stand against bullying and show support for LGBT youth, reports LGBT Weekly.

NooyiPepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi [pictured right] said:

“PepsiCo is deeply committed to building a workplace environment where all of our associates can bring their whole selves to work and are empowered to reach their full potential. That’s why we are pleased to partner with GLAAD in support of Spirit Day, which fosters a spirit of inclusion in our communities."

As part of the campaign, PepsiCo is encouraging employees to wear purple on October 16th and to share GLAAD’s anti-bullying messages and resources

Spirit Day coincides with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) “Ally Week." According to GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey, 63.5 percent of LGBT students reported feeling unsafe at school and 81.9 percent reported verbal harassment because of their sexual orientation. 

Watch JJ Totah - Michael on Back in the Game - going purple for Spirit Day 2013, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "PepsiCo Announces New Campaign Supporting GLAAD Anti-Bullying Spirit Day Campaign - VIDEO" »


Study: LGBT Youth Report Online Harassment Three Times More Often Than Heterosexual Peers

  Same difference

A recent study by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network shows that nearly three times the amount of LGBT youth respondents reported bullying and harassment online as compared to their non-LGBT peers, reports The Advocate.

Additionally, the report demonstrates that LGBT youth were twice as likely to report being harassed via text message.

Based on a national survey of 5,680 students in middle and high school, effects of bullying reported included lowered self-esteem, higher likelihood of depression, and lowered grade point averages.

However, noting that respondents reported increased peer support, access to health information, and opportunities for civic engagement, Michelle Ybarra, the president and research director of the Center for Innovative Health Research said that the Internet “does not serve to simply reinforce the negative dynamics found offline regarding bullying” but “also offers LGBT youth critical tools for coping with these negative experiences."

The study found LGBT youth nearly twice as likely to research medical information online, with transgender youth proving particularly proactive in that area.

In April, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed an anti-bullying bill into law strengthening protections for LGBT students and students with disabilities.

Previously, 'Same Difference': Documentary Film Looks at LGBT Youth - VIDEO


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