Gay Youth Hub




4th Grader Writes Touching Letter About Equality And Transgender Sister To Santa

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 10.34.39 AMA proud mother shared a touching letter her 9-year-old son wrote to Santa about equality and his transgender sister with The Huffington PostThe mother also said her son shared it with the class and it left his teacher in tears. "When he brought the letter home, I knew it was a special letter. He tells me his teacher was crying. The other kids took it in their stride. It's not a big deal," the mother said.

The letter reads:

"Dear Santa,

I wish for everyone to have equality[--] black, white, brown, gay, transgender, and every other race. I wish for familys [sic] to love each other even if their [sic] trans or gay. I wish for no shootings, no hate, and no racism. My big sister[’s] name is Molly. She used to be called Sam but she came out as trans [when] she was 18. She took hormones that made her look and sound more like a girl. Luckly [sic] my family and I accepted her, but some familys [sic] are not like that[.] [P]eople have killed their children because of them being transgender or gay. I want that to stop, and start the love.

Love, B"

The mother, who is part of an "online support group for parents with trans* youth," said she's proud of her son whose older sister Molly, who is now 20, identifies as trans. "He's obviously paying attention to what is going on. He asks lots of questions and has a great amount of empathy. He has a huge heart and has great pride in his sister," wrote the mother to The Huffington Post. Although many transgender people are still being murdered for who they are in today's world, the idea of true equality amongst the next generation is a tangible notion. 


Transgender Ohio Teen Leelah Alcorn's Horrifying Suicide Offers Bitter Lesson: 'We Have To Do Better'

Leelah

After posting a heartbreaking suicide note online, a transgender Ohio teen took her own life early Sunday by walking in front of a semi truck on Interstate 71 near her home outside Cincinnati.  

Leelah Alcorn (above), 17, scheduled the note to be published on her Tumblr page, LazerPrincess, after her death. She wrote that she'd felt like "a girl trapped in a boy’s body" since she was 4, but didn't know it was possible for "a boy to become a girl" until 10 years later. 

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

Leelah3Alcorn wrote that her parents took her to Christian therapists who told her she was "selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help." After Alcorn's parents refused to allow her to begin transitioning when she turned 16, she decided to come out as gay — prompting them to remove her from public school and deprive her of her laptop and phone, leaving her "completely alone" for five months. 

When Alcorns' parents finally allowed her back online, she said she discovered that her friends "didn't actually give a shit about me" and "only liked me because they saw me five times a week." According to news reports, Alcorn was attending an online high school at the time of her death. 

Alcorn wrote that she decided to take her own life because she felt she would never be able to transition successfully, have enough friends or find love: 

Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.

Alcorn concluded the note by calling for people to donate to a transgender civil rights group: 

The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.

LeelahArtNot surprisingly, many of the news reports about Alcorn's death have misgendered her, but Cincinnatti.com provides a glimpse of her true nature: 

Abigail Jones met Alcorn last spring when Alcorn, a talented artist, applied to work as a caricaturist at Kings Island.

Alcorn’s work was the best of any new employee. They drew caricatures of each other and a friendship took root.

“She was super bubbly and upbeat with a really brash sense of humor; she could make anyone laugh,” said Jones, 17, of Milford.

Alcorn's mother, Carla, wrote Sunday on Facebook: "My sweet 16 year old son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn went home to heaven this morning. He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck. Thank you for the messages and kindness and concern you have sent our way. Please continue to keep us in your prayers." 

A representative from Kings Local Schools, which Alcorn once attended, remembered her as "a sweet, talented, tender-hearted 17-year-old," according to WCPO-TV. The school district reportedly planned a moment of silence in Alcorn's honor at basketball games this week.

SeelbachBut the most fitting tribute came from Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach (right), who wrote on Facebook

It has come to light that this person likely committed suicide because she was transgender. 

While Cincinnati led the country this past year as the first city in the mid-west to include transgender inclusive health benefits and we have included gender identity or expression as a protected class for many years....the truth is....it is still extremely difficult to be a transgender young person in this country.

We have to do better. 


Maine Human Rights Commission Planning Lawsuit Against School District In Gay Harassment, Assault Case

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 8.17.40 AMThe Maine Human Rights Commission is pursuing legal action against the Brunswick School District after a former junior high school student came forward and said he was bullied, harassed and assaulted by other students who thought he was gay, reports The Times Record. Amy Sneirson, the executive director of the Maine Human Rights Commission, confirmed that the commission is suing the Brunswick School District in the name of public interest. 

The mother of the former student alleges that between August 2010-2012, her son was subjected to several instances of bullying and harassment because of his "perceived sexual orientation," that was so extreme the boy became suicidal according to the commission's investigator's report released on June 13. The teen stopped attending Brunswick Junior High School after confiding to his mother in October 2012 that he had been sexually assaulted three times between 2011-2012. The report says the teen was admitted to the hospital in December 2012 for "suicidal ideation," after which he was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the sexual assaults.

In July, the five-member commission, in a 3-2 vote, decided there was reasonable grounds to believe discrimination occurred. The commission acted on a recommendation in the investigator's report stating that there is an even chance that allegations, including assault and harassment at the hands of other students, could be proven in court. The family of the victim has the option to file a suit, regardless of whether or not the commission files a suit of its own. Despite the limited resources of the commission when it comes to litigation, Sneirson thinks the commission finds the case noteworthy of pursuing.

Said Sneirson:

"I think the commission thinks this is an important issue, which is why they voted the way they did. They think this is a strong case, and one worth bringing."

The district's superintendent said he could not comment on the case.


Gay Coming-of-Age Aussie Drama 'Subject To Change' to Premiere Next Year: VIDEO

Subject

A new Aussie drama pilot from Daniel Mercieca and Rory Delaney called Subject to Change featuring two gay leads is set to debut in festival screenings in 2015 with a chance for a TV pick-up by the end of the year. The show is a coming-of-age narrative set in the working class suburb of Hedley, Australia and focuses on three close friends (neat freak Ben, tomboy Karly and drama queen Evie) who must face complex and difficult emotions while growing up in suburbia.

Mercieca, producer and film director of the pilot, created the show to introduce new, positive role models who grew up in surbubia instead of major cities in Australia where pride flags and "wear purple" days are frequent. Mercieca personally funded 75 percent of the production costs of the film and is seeking further donations for the project.

Watch the teaser for Subject to Change, AFTER THE JUMP...

Subject2

Continue reading "Gay Coming-of-Age Aussie Drama 'Subject To Change' to Premiere Next Year: VIDEO" »


15 Years After Landmark Ruling In Favor Of Gay Straight Alliances, School Districts Continue To Deny Them

NPhighschool

Fifteen years after a landmark federal court ruling upholding the right of students to form Gay Straight Alliance clubs at public schools, some districts continue to violate the law by refusing to recognize GSAs.  

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against a school district in Bainbridge, Indiana — 35 miles west of Indianapolis — on behalf of three students and the GSA at North Putnam High School. 

ACLU

The students formed the GSA at North Putnam more than a year ago, but after months of stalling, the school board voted Nov. 20 not to recognize the club. 

The ACLU alleges the district's failure to recognize the GSA violates both the federal Equal Access Act and the students' First Amendment rights: 

LGBT students at the school have frequently been harassed and wanted to form the GSA to provide a place to educate the community and support vulnerable students. The school, which allows other non-school-sponsored clubs and activities to meet, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Key Club and Best Buddies, has denied recognition of the GSA club for more than a year. The students followed all the school's required procedures outlined in its student handbook to establish the club, including securing a faculty member to supervise the group. ... 

"The law is clear in this matter," said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director. "There is no excuse for the school district's intransigence, which is causing real harm to its students."

The ACLU of Indiana was successful in reversing a similar decision by a school in the Town of Munster in July, 2014.

"The actions of the school district in clear violation of federal law leave the most vulnerable students at North Putnam without critically needed support," Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney at the ACLU added.

In November 1999, a federal judge ruled that the Salt Lake City school district's decision to reject a GSA at East High School violated the federal Equal Access Act. The Salt Lake district said it was banning all non-curricular clubs to get around the Equal Access Act, but continued to allow other clubs to meet. 

From Lambda Legal, which served as lead counsel in the Salt Lake City lawsuit: 

This case more than any other put the issue of GSAs on the nation's radar, letting students know they could fight back and letting school districts know they might be in violation of the law.

Apparently, some districts still haven't gotten the message. 

Read the ACLU's lawsuit, and watch U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's video in support of GSAs from 2012, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "15 Years After Landmark Ruling In Favor Of Gay Straight Alliances, School Districts Continue To Deny Them" »


LGBT Advocates Cry Foul After Texas Leases 222 Acres To Anti-Gay Boy Scouts Of America For Nominal Fee

Perry

LGBT advocates in El Paso are objecting to the state of Texas' decision to lease a large tract of land to the Boy Scouts of America for a nominal amount.

The Texas Transportation Commission approved a 25-year lease Thursday for 222 acres in El Paso that reportedly will be the site of one of the Boy Scouts' largest urban camps. 

The Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving, Texas, lifted a ban on gay youth last year but retained a ban on gay adult leaders. 

The El Paso Times reports:  

The state is waiving a requirement that it seek fair-market value for the property "for social mitigation purposes."

It's not appropriate to give such public resources to an organization that does not allow gay men to serve as scoutmasters, said Skip Rosenthal, executive director of the group International AIDS Empowerment of El Paso and Las Cruces.

"Our city should be opposing this," Rosenthal said. "We should not be giving government perks to an organization that discriminates against gay men."

Rosenthal is calling on the city of El Paso, which has an ordinance prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination, to pass a resolution opposing the lease. 

Texas has no state law that prohibits it from entering contracts with organizations that discriminate against gays.

Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry (above), who appoints members of the Transportation Commission, is an Eagle Scout who published a book about the Boy Scouts in 2008 in which he compared homosexuality to alcoholism. 

Of course, the irony of the Boy Scouts' ban on gay adult leaders is that the organization has been covering up sex abuse by Scoutmasters for nearly a century. 

This week, a jury in Connecticut found the Boy Scouts negligent and awarded $7 million to a man who was sexually abused by a Scoutmaster in the 1970s. It was the largest compensatory damages verdict ever against the Boy Scouts. 

The Connecticut Post reports: 

During the trial, the plaintiff's attorneys introduced evidence that the Boy Scouts of America knew for decades before the 1970s that child sexual abuse was widespread in Boy Scout troop activities across the country. Witnesses in the trial said the Boy Scouts maintained thousands of secret cases it called "the Confidential Files," dating to the early 1920s. The files were held in locked cabinets in the Boy Scouts national headquarters in Dallas, according to the attorneys.

Rather than using the information to inform and educate local troop leaders, parents and Scouts about the existence of sexual abuse, the plaintiff claimed, the Boy Scouts hid the information, partly out of concern for protecting the Boy Scouts' all-American image.


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