Oct 202010
 

Today is October 20, 2010. It is the day people have claimed as spirit day, to come together, unite, and stand against bullying. I believe it is specifically designed to support the stop of homophobic and transphobic bullying, but really, let’s be honest. All bullying needs to stop.

Whether you’re calling someone gay, or teasing someone about pronouns, or stuffing freshmen in trashcans, or being racist, or playing practical jokes, or emotionally, mentally or physically hurting someone, it’s not ok. Period.

We get in a cycle. We were bullied, so it therefore, SOMEHOW makes it ok for us to bully others. I heard it all the time in high school; they threw eggs at us, so we should throw eggs at next year’s freshmen.

No. Stop it. NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE should have to endure bullying. Not at any age, not for any reason. Period.

So stop policing people’s gender. Stop making fun of people for how they present themselves. Stop trying to out people. Stop making fun of people’s heights, weights, hair, race, age, gender, orientation, ability levels, class level, you name it. Why the hell would you do that? Is it because you’re afraid that if you don’t bully others, someone will bully you?

We need to stop bullying period, whether it is words, or physical actions, or cyber bullying, or stupid pranks played on people. This affects far more than just the LGBTQ community, although that is currently at the forefront. This affects all teens and young adults; all youth can be and usually are negatively affected by bullying, whether they are the ones doing it, or the ones being bullied. We need to protect the youth we have, help to create safer spaces for them to learn and grown.

The make it better project is one step. Let’s empower youth to create change in their own communities. Let’s give options to get out aggression other than hurting people. Let’s create communities of varied identities where people can share themselves, and feel safe with their peers.

Let’s ASK THE YOUTH. As adults, we can come in with all sorts of fancy schmancy “answers” to these situations, but honestly, kids, teens and young adults know what they need more than we do. They know what’s going on, what needs to happen, what needs to stop, what spaces need to be created. So let’s ask them what they need, and how we can help, and then help them,

I’m wearing purple today, not because I love Gogol Bordello (although I do). I’m wearing purple today in remembrance of all those over the years for whom bullying has pushed over the edge. For all those who have been hurt, directly and indirectly, by bullying. But I am also wearing purple today to encourage the creation of change, in looking towards the future. Without change, we are nothing.

Are you wearing purple? And what are you going to do to back up your statement?

-Shanna

Spirit Day 2010

Oct 082010
 

Hello all,

I’m absolutely positive that you have heard of, in some way or some form, of the tragedy of multiple suicides by youth who were the victims of anti-LGBTQ bullying. Notice I don’t say the “gay suicides” — regardless of gender or orientation, NO ONE should have to deal with being bullied. Who are we to assume their identities? And when we say gay or LGBTQ in front of suicides, it depersonalizes them, puts them in a grouping, and takes the blame away from the bullies.

Below is a video from me. It’s part of both the It Gets Better project, as well as the Make It Better Project (LGBTQ youth empowerment). I think it is incredibly important to also give these youth the power to educate, find allies, build communities, and stop the bullying, in addition to reminding them that it almost always gets better, and that we need them to survive in order to beat the homophobia and transphobia, and create a better world for the entire community.

I’m not very erudite in this clip. I didn’t have a script, I messed up a few times, I’m awkward and the angle is off, and I mess up what I meant to say at one point. However, it is 100% from the heart. I hope that it touches at least one person, or at the very least, touches you enough to make your own video, or to volunteer in your community, or donate money, or support these projects that help support and empower youth. It is high time that the climate changed, and I’m not talking about global warming.

-Shanna

Other resources:
Scarleteen
Trevor Project

Oct 072010
 

Many people are talking about the It Gets Better campaign. I myself am filming a video for it. I think that it is a fine project, and support all of those contributing to it.

However, I think that it is also important to create change in the schools now, rather than just put a band aid on it until they grow up. BOTH are important messages. There is another organization now called the Make It Better Project, which is using social media, videos, the web and more to empower youth to create change in their own communities right now.

Please check it out and pass it on to any you feel might find it relevant.

-Shanna