Monday, August 31, 2009

"...The Most Deadly of All Possible Sins Is The Mutilation of A Child's Spirit." Kids are being hurt !!!

"Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit." Erik Erikson

Related links:

Studies show LGBT youth attempt suicide at a disproportionately high rate; suicide among LGBT elderly may also be a problem

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention recently received a $45,000 grant from the Johnson Family Foundation to develop a project to reduce suicide and suicidal behavior in the LGBT community.

Studies over the last two decades indicate a disproportionately high rate of suicide among LGBT adolescents and young adults.

“There is increasing evidence that LGBT individuals, especially youth, have higher rates of suicide attempts as compared to heterosexuals of the same ages,” said Andrew Lane, executive director of JFF, a New York-based group that operates grantmaking programs for environmental and LGBT issues. “Significant efforts must be undertaken to reduce suicide behavior and risk among LGBT people.”

But Ann Haas, Ph.D., director of suicide prevention projects for New York-based AFSP, said, “There really are no official statistics. That’s a big factor that hampers understanding and promotes not doing anything about it.”

She said much of the information available about suicide in the LGBT community is anecdotal. Other data comes from self-reported suicide attempts. Photo

While government-funded studies have required collecting gender and racial and ethnic data, they have not required gathering information about sexual orientation or gender identity, often for political reasons.

Haas notes a number of factors contribute to the high rate of suicide and suicide attempts in the LGBT community. Rejection by families and the difficulty parents have in coming to terms with their children’s sexuality are major factors.

Bullying by peers, harassment and intimidation compound familial rejection and produce higher rates of depression and anxiety than in the general population. As a means of coping, LGBT youth use drugs and alcohol at higher rates than other youth. Both drugs and alcohol are factors in suicide themselves.

Haas said that suicide rates have decreased where prevention programs are in place.

“Even among ethnic and religious families, they can be taught they don’t have to change their values, but can learn behavior that doesn’t put their child at risk,” she said.

Research by Caitlin Ryan that was published in the journal Pediatrics found that not only parental acceptance, but simple neutrality, toward a child’s sexual orientation has a big impact on reducing the rate of suicide attempts. That study also confirms the high rate of suicide attempts by gay and lesbian adolescents and young adults. Read complete article - E-mail

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Dec. 29, 2008 — Young gay people whose parents or guardians responded negatively when they revealed their sexual orientation were more likely to attempt suicide, experience severe depression and use drugs than those whose families accepted the news, according to a new study.

The way in which parents or guardians respond to a youth’s sexual orientation profoundly influences the child’s mental health as an adult, say researchers at San Francisco State University, whose findings appear in Monday’s journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Parents love their children and want the best for them,” said lead researcher Caitlin Ryan, a social worker who directs the university’s Family Acceptance Project. “Now that we have measured all these behaviors, we can see that some of them put youth at extremely high risk and others are wellness-promoting.”

Among other findings, the study showed that teens who experienced negative feedback were more than eight times as likely to have attempted suicide, nearly six times as vulnerable to severe depression and more than three times at risk of drug use.

More significantly, Ryan said, ongoing work at San Francisco State suggests that parents who take even baby steps to respond with equanimity instead of rejection can dramatically improve a gay youth’s mental health outlook.

One of the most startling findings was that being forbidden to associate with gay peers was as damaging as being physically beaten or verbally abused by their parents in terms of negative feedback, Ryan said.
Read complete article
AFACE: All Families Are Created Equal -

The Ali Forney Center – Housing for Homeless LGBT Youth -

Mission Statement

Our mission is to help homeless LGBT youth be safe and become independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.

As the visibility of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people grows in our society, more and more LGBT teens are finding the courage to come out of the closet.

Tragically, as many as 25% of these teens are rejected by their families, and many end up homeless on the streets. Homeless LGBT teens are more likely than straight homeless teens to be subjected to violence on the streets, and in the homeless shelter system. They suffer from inordinate rates of mental illness, trauma, HIV infection and substance abuse.

The Ali Forney Center (AFC) was started in June of 2002 in response to the lack of safeshelter for LGBT youth in New York City. We are committed to providing these young people with safe, dignified, nurturing environments where their needs can be met, and where they can begin to put their lives back together.

AFC is dedicated to promoting awareness of the plight of homeless LGBT youth in the United States with the goal of generating responses on local and national levels from government funders, foundations, and the LGBT community.

Visit us on Facebook and Myspace

See our New Ad Campaign, filmed and directed in part by clients of the AFC

Sign Up to Join the AFC Mailing List

Message From The Director

New York City can be a brutal place for homeless youth and tragically, many young lives have been destroyed. At AFC, we are making a difference by rescuing kids from the dangers of the streets and placing them into our safe, homelike environments.

AFC is working hard to provide our youth with the support and nourishment they need to succeed and thrive. We cannot do this work alone. We need the help and support of the broader community to make NYC a safer place for homeless LGBT youth. Thank you for your support and interest.

Carl Siciliano 
Executive Director

About Ali Forney

Ali Forney was a homeless queer teen who was forced to live on the streets of New York during the 1990s. Ali was dedicated to the safety of other homeless queer youth; he was a committed HIV prevention worker, and aggressively advocated that the NYPD investigate a series of murders of the homeless queer youth he had befriended. Ali was an inspiration to those who knew him.

In December of 1997, Ali was murdered on the streets. His tragic death called attention to the atrocious conditions for homeless LGBT youth in New York. Ali's murderer has never been identified.

For more information on the life and death of Ali Forney, see the following articles:

A Life And Death On New York City Streets

Helping Them Make It Through The Night

Related links:

Bea Arthur's Lasting Gift to Fight LGBT Homelessness BY MICHAEL A. JONES

In 2005, Arthur said that her work to support organizations like the Ali Forney Center stemmed from wanting to make the world a better place for vulnerable kids. "I'm very, very involved in charities involving youth and the plight of foster children. But these kids at the Ali Forney Center are literally dumped by their families because of the fact that they are lesbian, gay, or transgender."

Parents' Negative Response To Gay Identity More Likely To Attempt Suicide, Abuse Drugs Dr. Caitlin Ryan - Family Acceptance Project - San Francisco

The Trevor Project -

"Prayers for Bobby" Sigourney Weaver’s Emotional ‘Prayers’ Journey Continues - by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith

New Jersey Catholic Church Says Gay People are a Threat to the Public Good - BY MICHAEL A. JONES

Catholic Church Gives Millions to Fight Gay Marriage. Why Won't They Give Money for Health Care? - BY MICHAEL A. JONES

Lutherans lift barrier on gay clergy - By Duke Helfand - August 21, 2009Los Angeles Times

Episcopal General Convention in Anaheim, California Says "Amen" to Inclusion - Rev. Susan Russell

Lutherans Lift Ban On Gay Clergy - by Chuck Colbert

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Youth Suicide - By Warren J. Blumenfeld & Laurie Lindop -

"Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit." Erik Erikson

"This issue is not about a 'different' way of life; it is about life itself. I know that every teacher and every parent in this Commonwealth fundamentally agrees that no young person -- gay or straight -- should be driven to take her or his life because of isolation and abuse. This is a tragedy we must all work together to prevent. We can take the first step toward ending gay youth suicide by creating an atmosphere of dignity and respect for these young people in our schools. Governor William F. Weld, speaking at a Gay and Lesbian Youth Commission Teacher Training, Arlington Street Church, June 30, 1993.

Overall Youth Suicides

Suicide among adolescents is a national and statewide tragedy. The Massachusetts Department of Education asked more than 3,000 students in 1994 to answer questions anonymously and found that 10 percent had attempted suicide compared with 6 percent in 1990, 20 percent "made plans" to commit suicide compared with 14 percent in 1990. 3.4 percent required medical treatment as a result of a suicide attempt. (1)

Adolescent suicide has increased threefold in the last 10 years, making it the second most frequent cause of death among youths aged 15-24 (10 per 100,000 deaths per year). (2) The incidence of suicide among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 had jumped from 2.7 per 100,000 in 1950 to 9.3 in 1982. The incidence of youth suicide stands at 11.3 per 100,000 today. It is estimated that suicide attempts are 40 to 100 times more common than completed suicides. (3) An additional 500,000 youths of all sexual orientations attempt suicide annually. (4)

Suicides among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Youth

In 1989, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its "Report on the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide," which found that "A majority of suicide attempts by homosexuals occur during their youth, and gay youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people. They may comprise up to 30 percent of (the estimated 5,000) completed youth suicides annually. (5) The report recommended that "mental health and youth service agencies can provide acceptance and support for young homosexuals, train their personnel on gay issues, and provide appropriate gay adult role models; schools can protect gay youth from abuse from their peers and provide accurate information about homosexuality in health curricula; families should accept their child and work toward educating themselves about the development and nature of homosexuality"

According to Kevin Berrill, Director of the Anti-Violence Project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force at the time of the report,s release stated, "The increased risk of suicide facing these youth is linked to growing up in a society that teaches them to hide and to hate themselves. We welcome this report and hope it will lead to action that will save lives."

Initially, however, the report was suppressed by the Bush administration under pressure from right-wing groups and by conservatives in Congress. After the findings, William Dannemeyer, who was at the time a conservative Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California, called for then-president Bush to "dismiss from public service all persons still employed who concocted this homosexual pledge of allegiance and sealed the lid on these misjudgments for good." HHS Secretary Louis Sullivan wrote in a letter to Dannemeyer that the study "undermined the institution of the family." (6)

The findings of the report were leaked to the press and finally released. Other studies confirm these findings. Gary Remafedi, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, and author of Death by Denial: Studies of Attempted and Completed Suicide in Gay and Lesbian and Bisexual Youth, found in a 1991 study of 150 gay and lesbian youths in Minneapolis, more than 30% said they had attempted suicide at least once as a teenager.

The youths who are at the greatest risk for suicide are the ones who are least likely to reveal their sexual orientation to anyone. Suicide may be a way of making sure that no one ever knows. It's homophobia that's killing these kids. (7) Read complete article & learn more - - Home

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jodie Foster & Ellen DeGeneres support suicide prevention hotline for gay youth. Both attend Trevor's Holiday event 11/26/2007

The Trevor Project is a non-profit organization that operates the nation's only 24-hour suicide prevention helpline for gay and questioning youth.

Two-time Academy Award®-winning actress Jodie Foster presented The Trevor Founders Award at it's annual Holiday event. She presented the award to two of the organization's founders - director Peggy Rajski and screenwriter James Lecesne.

The Trevor Life Award was presented to Emmy Award®-winning comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Foster's support of the organization is both extensive and longstanding. In 1994, she was the first major donor to provide support for the production of the short film Trevor. In June 2007, in support of the organization and to honor her close friend Mr. Stone's memory and spirit, she kicked off a new $1,000,000 call center fundraising campaign with a major gift. The largest in the organization's history.

"I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity to present the first Trevor Founders Award to Peggy and James in memory of my dearest friend, Randy," said Foster. "Their inspired decision to establish this vital organization and their ongoing commitment to saving young lives are indeed worthy of recognition. The very fact that, after ten years, Trevor continues to pursue its mission so successfully is a testament not only to the founders' initial vision, but also to the importance of the organization's efforts to help desperate young people realize that their lives have value."

The short film Trevor is about a teenager who attempts suicide after realizing that he might be gay. The film received numerous awards, including the 1994 Academy Award® for Best Short Film (Live Action).

The Trevor Project was founded by Ms. Rajski, Mr. Lecesne and Mr. Stone in 1998 immediately preceding the first nationally televised airing of the film. Read complete article & learn more -

Related links:

The Trevor Project -

LGBT Youth: Suicide Risk and Prevention - January 27, 2009 - Health and Human Development (HHD)

Parents' Negative Response To Gay Identity More Likely To Attempt Suicide, Abuse Drugs – Dr. Caitlin Ryan - Family Acceptance Project - San Francisco

Tapping the Power of Family Acceptance - San Francisco State University – Magazine

"Prayers for Bobby" Sigourney Weaver’s Emotional ‘Prayers’ Journey Continues - by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith

Homeless LGBT Youth Rejected By Families - Benedict XVI Antigay Teachings Harmful - Bea Arthur's Lasting Gift to Fight LGBT Homelessness - BY MICHAEL A. JONES

Whoopi Goldberg speaks up for Gays in Hungary - 8/29/09-by Paula Brooks - Lez Get Real

Barbara Walters - Wins GLAAD Award By Rex Wockner - SAN FRANCISCO BAY TIMES - March 2008 - “My Secret Self: A Story of Transgender Children