Asher Brown's worn-out tennis shoes still sit in the living room of his Cypress-area home while his student progress report — filled with straight A's — rests on the coffee table.
The eighth-grader killed himself last week. He shot himself in the head after enduring what his mother and stepfather say was constant harassment from four other students at Hamilton Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.
Brown, his family said, was "bullied to death" — picked on for his small size, his religion and because he did not wear designer clothes and shoes. Kids also accused him of being gay, some of them performing mock gay acts on him in his physical education class, his mother and stepfather said.
The 13-year-old's parents said they had complained about the bullying to Hamilton Middle School officials during the past 18 months, but claimed their concerns fell on deaf ears.
David and Amy Truong said they made several visits to the school to complain about the harassment, and Amy Truong said she made numerous phone calls to the school that were never returned.
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Scared to death - Teenage suicides turn the spotlight on bullying in schools.
October 8, 2010 - Houston Chronicle
The recent spate of teenage suicides has provided a heartbreaking glimpse into the lives of young people, both in Houston and nationally, who just couldn't bear, for whatever reason, to keep on living. Equally disturbing have been the disclosures that bullying may have played a significant part in several of them.
'A Prayer When I Feel Hated': Helping Prevent Gay Teen Suicide – by Rev. James Martin, S.J., October 8, 2010 – The Huffington Post
The recent rash of suicides among young gay youths cannot fail to move the Christian heart, or indeed any heart capable of compassion. While any suicide is a terrible tragedy, the suicide of a young person who feels that his or her life will never change, and who moves towards despair as a result of constant bullying and harassment, is especially poignant. Photo
Many of the gays and lesbians, young and old, who have spoken about this in the last few days have pointed to how wounded they have felt by their churches and by other religious organizations. The Christian community must find a way to reach out more compassionately to gay and lesbian youths, help them feel welcome and valued, and help them know that they are beloved by God -- and by us. We must lead, as we do with any group, and as Jesus did, first with welcome, not condemnation. For my part, here is a prayer I composed for all who feel excluded, rejected, marginalized, shamed or made fun of, in any way or in any place, religious or otherwise:
"A Prayer When I Feel Hated"
Loving God, you made me who I am.
I praise you and I love you, for I am wonderfully made,
in your own image.
Gay Bullying Deaths and Religion: Are Believers the Problem or the Solution?
by David Gibson,
October 8, 2010
The national heartbreak and ongoing furor over the suicide of Tyler Clementi, the New Jersey college freshman who was humiliated when two other students secretly videotaped and broadcast on the Internet his tryst with another man, has cast a harsh light on the scourge of bullying, especially when it targets gay and lesbian youth.
Gay teen suicides linked to harassment
by Kaitlin Zurawsky,
October 7, 2010 - The Duquesne Duke
Tyler Clementi, 18. Justin Aaberg, 15. Billy Lucas, 15. Asher Brown, 13. Seth Walsh, 13.
These are not just the names of five teenagers. They are the names of five boys who committed suicide during the month of September because of harassment based on their sexual orientation.
Homophobia hurts straight men, too
By Jonathan Zimmerman
October 6, 2010
The Christian Science Monitor
In the 1986 movie Stand By Me, an adult protagonist – played by Richard Dreyfuss – looks back wistfully on the friendships he formed in his youth. “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve,” he muses. “Does anyone?”
For most American men, the sad answer is “no.” In surveys, men report that they rarely sustain intimate, long-standing friendships with other males after childhood. And the reason might surprise you: According to a large body of research, they’re afraid of being seen as gay…
A LONGSTANDING PROBLEM – FOR ALL
He’s right, of course. But to fight intolerance against gay boys, we also need to acknowledge its toll on straights – and our entire culture. Homophobia hurts all of our boys, by driving a wedge between them. Sharing your deepest feelings with another man? That’s so . . . gay. Or so we’ve been taught…
Report: One-third of US teens are victims of cyberbullying
by Stacy Teicher Khadaroo
October 8, 2010
The Christian Science Monitor
The suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi has brought more attention to cyberbullying. A new study examines the scale of cyberbullying among US teens.
More than half of American teens worry about safety on the Internet and know someone their age who has been targeted by hurtful electronic communications. Nearly a third have been targets themselves.
Those recent survey results, released by the Chicago youth-market research firm TRU, hint at the scale of the problems being addressed more vigorously in the wake of the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi and other cases of cyberbullying.
GAY TEENAGE SUICIDE - University of Michigan - Michigan Attorney General - Targeted gay Student breaks silence on blog
October 7, 2010
New York (CNN) -- Chris Armstrong, the University of Michigan's first openly gay student body president, said the recent rash of headlines about gay teens who have committed suicide led him to break his silence about his own hurtful experience of being targeted online and in high school.
"It's hard not to say something," Armstrong told CNN's Anderson Cooper on "AC360" Wednesday night. Photo
For months, Armstrong has been the subject of the blog "Chris Armstrong Watch," which is published by Andrew Shirvell, a lawyer in the Michigan attorney general's office.
Pope Benedict to Beatify a Gay Saint?
A Conservative Icon? Maybe Both
by David Gibson – September 18, 2010
…"It is not good for a Pope to live 20 years," Newman once wrote of the long-lived Pius IX. "It is an anomaly and bears no good fruit; he becomes a god, has no one to contradict him, does not know facts, and does cruel things without meaning it."
Such frank talk about the failings of the hierarchy tended to make Newman a champion of liberal Catholics -- a courageous man who wrote about the "development of doctrine" in the church at a time when the Vatican was projecting an image of unceasing continuity. He also disagreed strongly with the church's adoption of the doctrine of papal infallibility, and famously wrote that if pressed, he would drink "to Conscience first and the Pope afterwards." Photo
…Complicating all the interpretations is the fact that Newman had an extraordinarily close relationship with another English Catholic, Father Ambrose St. John, who had died in 1875, leaving Newman bereft -- and giving today's gay Christians an icon of their own.
"I have ever thought no bereavement was equal to that of a husband's or a wife's, but I feel it difficult to believe that any can be greater, or any one's sorrow greater, than mine," Newman wrote at the time of his friend's death. "From the first he loved me with an intensity of love which was unaccountable." And elsewhere: "As far as this world was concerned I was his first and last."
Sexual orientation - Internalized Homophobia - “Auschwitz – Benedict XVI - Christmas 2008 -A flashback far more severe than in Brokeback Mountain”
GAY TEENAGE SUICIDE
Fr. Marty Kurylowicz
Nothing in life is more precious than the intimate relationships we have with love ones. Healthy love relationships delight us give us confidence to take on challenges and support us in difficult times. These close emotional bonds what we call love were the focus of Mary Ainsworth's work.
Gay marriage ->
Restoring "Hope of Love" To Children In Early Childhood -> Marriage Equality – March 23, 2010
Fr. Marty Kurylowicz
Marriage Equality, like Galileo, is the truth about the facts of growing up gay. Marriage Equality will not become a reality until people learn that its most vital purpose is that it restores the “hope of love” to children in early childhood – essential to their development and well-being for life. Without Marriage Equality we teach children how to hate love and how to be mean and indifferent to people as adults. With all due respect, without Marriage Equality we would teach them in much the same way as has been shown by Benedict XVI and the hierarchy, especially in their lack of care and protection of children for decades.
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
Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition,
painting by Cristiano Banti
Biblical quotes used to
Ecclesiastes 1:5 (New International Version)
5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.
Ecclesiastes 1:5 (New American Standard Bible) Photo NASA
5 Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there again.
1 Chronicles 16:30 (New International Version)
30 Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.
1 Chronicles 16:30 (New American Standard Bible)
30 Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
Psalm 93:1 (New International Version)
1 The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.
Psalm 93:1 (New American Standard Bible)
1 The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
Psalm 96:10 (New International Version)
10 Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns." The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.
Psalm 96:10 (New American Standard Bible)
10 Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity."
Psalm 104:5 (New International Version) photo
5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.
Psalm 104:5 (New American Standard Bible)
5 He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever.
Hating Gays: An Overview of Scientific Studies
by Gregory M. Herek
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
…It frequently is assumed that feelings of personal threat result in strong negative attitudes toward homosexuality, whereas lack of threat leads to neutral or positive attitudes. This perspective often is associated with the term homophobia, and it derives from a psychodynamic view that prejudiced attitudes serve to reduce tension aroused by unconscious conflicts.
Attitudes are likely to serve a defensive function when an individual perceives some analogy between homosexual persons and her or his own unconscious conflicts. Subsequently, that person responds to gay men and lesbians as a way of externalizing inner conflicts and thereby reducing the anxiety associated with them. The conflicts specific to antihomosexual prejudice presumably involve a person's gender identity, sexual object choice, or both. For example, unconscious conflicts about one's own sexuality or gender identity might be attributed to lesbians and gay men through a process of projection. Such a strategy permits people to externalize the conflicts and to reject their own unacceptable urges by rejecting lesbians and gay men (who symbolize those urges) without consciously recognizing the urges as their own. Since contact with homosexual persons threatens to make conscious those thoughts that have been repressed, it inevitably arouses anxiety in defensive individuals. Consequently, defensive attitudes are likely to be negative… - International Day Against Homophobia
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Is It Possible to Be Against Same-Sex Marriage Without Being Homophobic?
Carlos A. Ball - Professor of Law at Rutgers University
August 24, 2010
A CNN poll released earlier this month has received considerable attention because it is the first national survey showing that a majority of Americans believe that same-sex couples should have the right to marry, a rate of support for gay marriage that is double what it was in 1996. The poll was released a few days after federal Judge Vaughn Walker, in striking down California's Proposition 8, concluded that defenders of that law had failed to introduce any evidence in court that same-sex marriages harm either society or individuals.
Now that opponents of same-sex marriage appear to be in the minority and that their allegations about the purported negative consequences of same-sex marriages have been discredited in federal court, it is fair to ask whether it is possible to oppose marriage equality without at some level, whether consciously or unconsciously, being prejudiced against gay people.
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