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January 2, 2009


One of the most prescient points made in the movie "Prayers For Bobby" is the importance of foreknowledge in helping a family deal with a son or daughter who comes out to them.

Reactions that imbue compassion, acceptance or even just neutrality can mean the difference between a healthy future for their child or a life of psychological problems, drug abuse or, in too many cases, tragic suicide.

"If I just hadn't said this or done that...if only I had known how to deal with it, my child would be alive today," becomes the mantra repeated too many times by too many families far too late.

What most heterosexual parents don't realize is that by the time their child comes out to them, they've already been through extreme psychological hell in trying to deal with feelings that they have ultimately come to realize they can't change. Feelings that they've been taught to believe are morally wrong and shameful. Feelings that much of society have labeled, sinful, abhorrent and an abomination against God. Feelings that have put them at the edge of reason.

According to the NPR (National Public Radio) program All Things Considered, a new study conducted by San Francisco State University's Family Acceptance Project and recently published in the journal American Academy of Pediatrics, shows how crucial a family's reaction can be.

The study found that the gay, lesbian and bisexual young adults and teens at the highest risk of attempting suicide and having some other health problems are ones who reported a high level of rejection by their families as a result of their sexual orientation.

Project Director Caitlin Ryan said, "A little bit of change in rejecting behavior, being a little bit more accepting, can make a significant difference in the child's health and mental health. Parents love their children and want the best for them. 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."

"Parents thought that by trying to change them, that would make them happy. But actually it put their children at great risk," Ryan said. "When we shared that with parents, they were shocked."

The study also found that children and young adults who experienced high levels of rejection were nearly 8.5 times more likely to have attempted suicide, nearly six times more likely to report high levels of depression and almost 3.5 times more likely to use illegal drugs or engage in unprotected sex compared with adolescents whose families may have felt uncomfortable but were at least neutral or only mildly rejecting.

For more, go to: NPR.org or you can read an AP story by Lisa Leff at Yahoo News

January 1, 2009

My Wish for You in 2009

May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts.

May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet of $100 bills.

May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!

May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires and may happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy.

May the problems you had forget your home address! In simple words . . .

May 2009 be the best year of your life!!!

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2008


We all know what a boycott is but this is a new and well deserved twist on that tactic.

As reported at Queers United, the infamous, homophobic American Family Association (AFA) has called for another boycott. This time the AFA is upset over the Campbell Soup Company's recent Swanson print ads in The Advocate that portray the GLBT community in a positive and inclusive way.

According to MediaDailyNews, the most contentious is a two-page ad for Swanson's broth that shows two lesbian proprietors and a young boy, identified in the ad as their son, in their Manhattan restaurant with a bowl of soup made with the broth. Other ads depict other gay chefs extolling the product's virtues.

The ads were designed by the staff of The Advocate for Campbell as part of a larger campaign crafted by Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York

In response to AFA's reaction, Queers United is calling for a BUYCOTT of all Campbell's products and are "urging pro-equality consumers to praise the company for showing a commitment to diversity. Your calls, letters, and emails are needed in the face of the thousands who have called the company with disapproving words."

Here's the Campbell's contact info:

Send an email to the Campbell Soup Company President Douglas Conant. Tell him you want his company to continue their commitment to diversity and support of LGBT people and families.

After sending your email, please call Campbell Soup Company (800-257-8443) and their Swanson division (1-800-442-7684) and let the company know you will continue to support them because of their gay and lesbian ads.

Forward this e-mail to your friends and family so they will know about Campbell's support of equality and LGBT issues.

December 30, 2008


In his sunday op-ed piece, New York Times columnist Frank Rich questions Obama's decision to pick anti-gay pastor Rick Warren to give the coveted invocation at his inauguration.

Rich praises Obama for the contagious feelings of hope that his election has instilled in the overwhelming majority of Americans. And for the hope of a new sense of cooperation based on knowledge, integrity and forthrightness that our friends, allies and trade partners have expressed.

Rich said that he shares these hopes too but he also said that, "...for the first time a faint tinge of Bush crept into my Obama reveries this month."

As Rich explained in his column:

As we saw during primary season, our president-elect is not free of his own brand of hubris and arrogance, and sometimes it comes before a fall: “You’re likable enough, Hillary” was the prelude to his defeat in New Hampshire. He has hit this same note again by assigning the invocation at his inauguration to the Rev. Rick Warren, the Orange County, Calif., megachurch preacher who has likened committed gay relationships to incest, polygamy and “an older guy marrying a child.” Bestowing this honor on Warren was a conscious — and glib — decision by Obama to spend political capital. It was made with the certitude that a leader with a mandate can do no wrong.

Granted, Warren isn't quite as much of a fanatic as the homosexually obsessed family-values ayatollahs like James Dobson and Tony Perkins. In fact, he was viciously pounced on by the Phyllis Schlafly gang when he invited Obama to speak about AIDS at his Saddleback Church two years ago. That visit is pretty much why he was picked for the invocation.

But, as Frank Rich put it:
"There’s no reason why Obama shouldn’t return the favor by inviting him to Washington. But there’s a difference between including Warren among the cacophony of voices weighing in on policy and anointing him as the inaugural’s de facto pope. You can’t blame V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an early Obama booster, for feeling as if he’d been slapped in the face. “I’m all for Rick Warren being at the table,” he told The Times, but “we’re talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most-watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know.”"

I, of course, share Bishop Robinson's feelings but I'm also hopeful that this shameful incident will become just a bad memory and not the defining point of a Barack Obama presidency. The only way that can happen is if Obama actually does follow through on the many promises he has made to our community.

The key to that is constant vigilance and a readiness to SPEAK OUT LOUDLY when it looks like he may veer from that course. I'm sure he wants to be reelected in 2012. And, if our newly formed activist groups continue to grow and become even more organized and the ranks of our straight allies continue to swell, NO politician is going to risk alienating a voting block that big and that vocal.

It's up to us what happens from here.

December 29, 2008


Queers United posted this trailer for the must watch upcoming movie "Prayers For Bobby" on the Lifetime channel.

As you'll see by the clip, Sigourney Weaver delivers an awesome performance as the real life mother of a young man who comes out to his family. The inability of his religiously devout mother to accept who he is drives him to suicide and plunges the mother into an emotional, guilt-ridden free-fall that ultimately results in her conversion into an outspoken, fulltime activist for the GLBT community.

The movie will air on the Lifetime network on Saturday, January 24th at 9pm EST.

Pass the word on...