Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TEEN LINE Reaches Out To LGBT Youth - By Elaine Leader, Ph.D., LCSW

California Society for Clinical Social Work

TEEN LINE Reaches Out To LGBT Youth
By Elaine Leader, Ph.D., LCSW

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before
starting to improve the world.”....Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl

“Some day, 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

These statements are the guiding principles that underlay TEEN LINE’s dedication to providing a service that offers a sensitive and positive approach to helping youth deal with the problems and difficulties that confront gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals in our society.

The Facts

• Sexual minority youth and staff members make up about 10% of California’s school population. (Project Ten, Los Angeles USD).

• Gay youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people (US government, Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide)

• An estimated 28% of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) students drop out of high school.

• 50% of gay youth report that their parents reject them.
• 40% of homeless youth are identified as GLBTQ.

Harassment, Homophobia and Hate Crimes

Homophobia is a prejudice similar to all other prejudices such as racism, sexism and anti-Semitism. Long-term exposure to the stigma and prejudice towards gays and lesbians too often forces an individual to stifle the expression and, inevitably, the realization of their personal and social identity. This results in gay people becoming a minority group. Minority groups that arise out of prejudice suffer unjustified, negative acts by the rest of society. These acts range from mild discrimination and verbal attacks to overt discrimination and, too often, physical violence. Youth are particularly vulnerable to harassment – particularly name-calling, vandalism, overt and covert discrimination.

Frequently adults, including teachers, mistakenly avoid discussion of this subject. Under the misguided auspices of protecting the young from the “threat” or “spread” of homosexuality, much pain and suffering is inflicted on the young who are becoming aware of their need for the very identity he or she is being protected from.

Recently, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN, 2000) completed a national survey of GLBTQ students. A total of 496 youth from 32 states completed the survey.

The findings are alarming:

• Over 90% reported that they hear homophobic remarks in their school.

• Almost all reported hearing the remarks from other students, one third from school staff.

• Places they heard the remarks:
Hallways 89% Gym 75% Bus 75% Classrooms 85% Bathrooms 75%

• 39% reported that no one ever intervened in the serious incidents.
• Nearly 50% reported they did not feel safe in their school
• 38% reported not feeling comfortable speaking to school staff about GLBTQ issues.

• Experiences of GLBTQ youth were similar across racial/ethnic groups.

One of the TEEN LINE panelists reported that as the only openly gay student at his affluent high school, his car was keyed; he was consistently shoved and subjected to frequent name-calling and verbal harassment. When he went to administration to report that his tires had been slashed in the school parking lot, he was told to “call AAA”. It was not until the boy’s counselor, his mother and the author insisted on meeting with the Principal that any acknowledgment was given of this gay-bashing.

In fact, he stated that without the support from his TEEN LINE “family” and his mother that he might easily have made a suicide attempt during these years.
Read complete report:

The Final Word: Out of the closet ... well, almost
November 9, 2010 - USA TODAY

Challenges Of Growing Up Gay
October 14, 2010 – Boston - NPR

“What, am I gonna teach them how to lie?”
Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin reveals he ‘cried like a baby’ after coming out
– November 2, 2010 –

Ricky Martin has told Oprah Winfrey about the moment he decided to announce he was gay.

The Puerto Rican star posted a message on his website declaring himself to be a “fortunate gay man” but says he broke down in tears afterwards.

He said: “When I realised, okay, I just pressed send, whoo… I was alone.

“I was in my studio alone for a minute. My assistant walked in and I just started crying like a little baby. I started crying.”

The 38-year-old said he decided to be open about his sexuality to set a good example to his twin sons, Valentine and Matteo, two.

He said: “I couldn’t take it anymore, it was too painful.

“But I guess the most important thing is my children… When I was holding them in my arms I was like, ‘What, am I gonna teach them how to lie?’ Whoa, that is my blessing right there. Then, when I was holding my children I said, ‘Okay, it’s time to tell the world’.”
Read more:

Ricky Martin cried 'like a baby' after revealing his sexuality
– November 2, 2010

Madonna Talks LGBT Teen Suicide and Bullying on 'Ellen': Video
- by Tracy E. Gilchris,
November 9. 2010 –

Madonna goes 'on a rampage' on Ellen's show
– November 9, 2010 –

TEACH (Teens Educating And Confronting Homophobia). - 
Portuguese business federation offering scholarships to eligible students, 
November 9, 2010 -

400,000 Anti-gay marriage DVDs - $1 million Nienstedt 
“Minnesota Bishops on Gay Marriage” 
October 29, 2010 

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.”

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