Monday, October 31, 2011

Golden Chris "Most importantly, to all the amazing kids that watch our show and the kids that our show celebrates, who are constantly told 'no' by the people in their environments, by bullies at school that they can't be who they are or have what they want because of who they are. Well, screw that, kids." - Chris Colfer, 2010 Golden Globe Best Supporting TV winner for Glee

Billboard: "...Colfer has been doing exactly that, making his way outside of "Glee" by writing his own parts as of late. Colfer showed stills from "Struck By Lightening," the movie he wrote and starred in alongside Allison Janney and Christina Hendricks. He also briefly discussed his forthcoming novel, a children's book called "The Land of Stories," which he said he'd been thinking about since he was seven years old, when his younger sister was diagnosed with a rare from of epilepsy and he was seeking an escape...I had this old book of fairytales that my mom was given by her mom. I'll never forget because you opened the pages and all the illustrations were actual pictures of dolls in freeze form of the story," Colfer shared. "I remember in the moment never wanting an escape more ever, I wanted to literally dive into the book. I then came up with the story about these two twins that went to fairytale world and all the adventures they had, adventures I wanted to experience rather than what I was going through. I promised myself then if I ever had the opportunity to write it in a book, I would." Now Colfer has a two-book deal with Little Brown, with the first installment due out August 2012..." (Chris Colfer on Dream Broadway Roles: 'I Haven't Written Them Yet')

Jezebel: "I personally was never physically bullied or tossed into dumpsters, but I definitely was verbally and socially bullied," he says. The upside? "It definitely taught me to be quick on my feet with witty comebacks...I remember one time someone screamed 'fag' at me in the hallway, and I screamed back, 'Yeah, but can you spell it?' Everyone in the hallway laughed at the other kid; it was nice to reverse the abuse..."(Glee’s Chris Colfer: "I Was Definitely Bullied")

Christopher Paul "Chris" Colfer (born May 27, 1990) is an American actor and singer, known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on Glee, for which he has received several nominations and awards, including a Golden Globe in 2011. Colfer is openly gay and shared on Access Hollywood that his parents were accepting of him but he was frequently bullied at school. He originally auditioned for the role of Artie with the song "Mr. Cellophane" but Kevin McHale was selected for the role. However, the casting directors were so impressed by Colfer that they wrote the Kurt Hummel character into the show as a vehicle for him. Colfer commented on his casting, "It's good to have something positive, especially for kids in small towns, like myself, who need a little pick-me-up." Kurt Hummel has gone on to become an audience favorite. Colfer's sister, Hannah, suffers from severe epilepsy, and often experiences over fifty seizures in an hour. Colfer has commented that when he was younger he used acting as a method of escaping the stress involved with having a family member with disabilities (Wikipedia).

Related Readings:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

FILM: Bully (2001)

Plot: Based on a true story. Naive teenagers plot to murder one of their own, who has been too much of a bully to them. IMDB: Bully (2001)

Director: Larry Clark
Story: Jim Schutze
(From the book "Bully: A True Story of High School Revenge")
Screenplay: David McKenna & Roger Pullis
Cast: Brad Renfro, Bijou Phillips, Rachel Miner, Nick Stahl, Michael Pitt, Leo Fitzpatrick, Kelli Garner, Daniel Franzese, Navah Paulding, Jessica Sutta, Rick Seguso; Cinematographer: Steve Gainer; Film Editing: Andrew Hafitz; Production Design: Linda Burton; Art Direction: Laura Harper; Music: Scott Grusin

Film Achievements: 2002 Prism Certificate of Merit Theatrical Feature Film; 2001 Stockholm Film Festival Best Actress - Rachel Miner; 2001 Stockholm Film Festival Bronze Horse - Larry Clark; 2001 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Nomination - Larry Clark "Bully" is based on the true story of a murder in South Florida, and it purports to be a raw and honest examination of the violent, hedonistic, amoral lives of America's youth, or at least a particularly decadent and photogenic cross-section of it. The film's director, Larry Clark, has visited this territory before, in the disquieting "Kids," which looks like mid-period Woody Allen compared to "Bully." The story is horrifying and, if it had been competently and sensitively told, might have made a powerful and important film. But Mr. Clark seems to have approached it without a thought in his head, as though declaring his solidarity with the empty minds of the characters. Some of his detractors have called Mr. Clark a pornographer, but this is an insult to honest smut-peddlers, who treat their subjects with more respect than he does. - A. O. Scott CLICK HERE

Brad Barron Renfro (July 25, 1982 – January 15, 2008) was an American actor. He made his film debut in 1994 at age 12 in the lead role of Joel Schumacher's The Client, going on to star in 21 feature films, several short films, and two television episodes during his career. Much of his later career was marred by a pattern of substance abuse. He died from a heroin overdose on January 15, 2008. Wikipedia

Bully is a 2001 independent American drama film, based on actual events, starring Brad Renfro, Bijou Phillips, Rachel Miner, Michael Pitt, Leo Fitzpatrick and Nick Stahl. The story concerns the plot to murder a mutual friend of several young adults in Southern Florida, in revenge for his continual abuse and psychological torture of others. The screenplay was written by David McKenna (under the pseudonym Zachary Long) and Roger Pullis, who adapted the book Bully: A True Story of High School Revenge by Jim Schutze, concerning the 1993 real-life murder of Bobby Kent. The film was directed by Larry Clark, whose other credits include Kids (1995) and Ken Park (2002). Wikipedia

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Prevention of Workplace bullying

Workplace bullies create a tremendous liability for the employer by causing stress-related health and safety problems, and driving good employees out of the organization.

The business case for strict anti-bullying policies is compelling. Potential benefits include a more peaceful and productive workplace, with better decision making, less time lost to sick leave or self-defensive paperwork, higher staff retention, and a lower risk of legal action.

Identify bullying in your staff handbook as unacceptable behavior. Establish proper systems for investigating, recording and dealing with conflict. Investigate complaints quickly, while maintaining discretion and confidentiality and protecting the rights of all individuals involved. It is important to understand fully any incidence of bullying and take the problem seriously at all levels.

Organizations who manage people well outperform those who don’t by 30 to 40 per cent. Development of strong interpersonal skills at all levels is fundamental to good management and a healthy workplace.

There is no place for bullies in a well-run organization. Source: Canada Safety Council



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

life after your adolescence

CNN: "...The reality of it is, it gets better in ways you can never fathom as a 13- or 14-year-old. Times are dark, and you're either being harassed or bullied inside the school or outside the school. You have a household that may not accept you; there may be any kind of abuse around it," Burns told CNN." There's just no hope that there's life after your adolescence and after your teenaged years. I have often thought, wouldn't it be wonderful if I could go back to the me that existed as a teenager that really didn't think that the future was all that bright at times, and show him just the amazing, wonderful things that have happened in the course of my adult life?..."I was cornered after school by some older kids who roughed me up," Burns said during the council meeting. "They said that I was a f** and that I should die and go to hell, where I belonged..." (Councilman spoke out for gay teens 'who might be holding gun tonight')

Joel Burns (born February 4, 1969) is an American politician. A city councilman for District 9 in Fort Worth, Texas, he received national and international press attention in October 2010 after speaking at a council meeting about the issue of suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, as part of Dan Savage's It Gets Better campaign (Wikipedia).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It affects the entire community

LGBT Nation: "...Aaberg and the others met with Deb Steiskal, Bachmann’s constituent services officer, reported the Star-Tribune. Aaberg said afterward that, although she felt the meeting was productive and she was confident Steiskal would deliver their message to Bachmann, she was skeptical that Bachmann would take a proactive position to help curb anti-gay bullying. Aaberg also delivered petitions containing more than 130,000 signatures from around the country, calling on Bachmann to condemn harassment of LGBT students in her congressional district. “I wanted to give her a chance to do the right thing,” Aaberg said...Bachmann’s congressional district includes the Anoka-Hennepin School District — Aaberg’s son Justin attended Anoka High School. The school district has been widely criticized for not taking a firm stand on anti-gay bullying, and is currently target of two lawsuits stemming from its “neutrality policy” regarding issues of sexual orientation and identity. Critics call the policy a “gag rule,” and the Star-Tribune, in a recent editorial, called it “gutless” and “out of touch.” Over the past two years, a total of nine teenagers from within the school district have committed suicide — the latest in May — and many more students have attempted to take their lives. Some of the victims were gay, or perceived to be by their classmates, and many were reportedly bullied..." (Mother of Justin Aaberg delivers petitions calling on Bachmann to denounce anti-gay bullying)

Queerty: "...Anoka High has seen five students kill themselves in the past year; three of those suicides are believed to be tied to struggles with sexual identities. And yet the Anoka-Hennepin School District continues to rail against specifically calling out LGBT bullying — something their perhaps-future governor also believes — because, according to district spokeswoman Mary Olson, teachers should “remain neutral” on the subject. That’s not good enough. Not to moms like Tammy Aaberg, who’s not letting her son die in vain. She’s become one of the area’s most vocal critics of the district, and the most vocal supports of bullying prevention. You would assume there were warning signs from Justin, but either administrators or teachers — and his own mother — weren’t tuned in to pick up on them. And none of that will change until school districts accept that LGBT bullying does occur, is a unique problem, and doesn’t just affect “those faggot kids.” It affects the entire community..." (Teenager Justin Aaberg Killed Himself Over Gay Bullying. His Mom Won’t Let Anyone Forget).

Justin Aaberg, an accomplished concert cellist as well as a composer, was one among the far too many LGBT suicides last year at the hands of bullying. Many of us never had the chance to know Justin, but his memory and legacy live on through the incredible work his family is doing on his behalf (noh8campaign).

Friday, October 21, 2011

be yourself

Winnipeg Free Press: "...The only thing I ever tell my fans is it's just not worth it to be someone you're not. "I've conformed to a lot of guys that I liked before; it's very easy to want to be what they want you to be. But in the end, it just wasn't enjoyable and I was miserable half the time. Now, I'm very straightforward." Selena also cryptically praised Justin as a boyfriend, by adding: "The best person is someone you can be yourself with." The young couple have been dating since March and Justin recently admitted he was "shocked" when the 'Monte Carlo' star agreed to go out with him..." (Selena Gomez tells fans to stay true).

Selena Marie Gomez (born July 22, 1992) is an American actress, singer, and businesswoman, best known for portraying Alex Russo in the Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel television series Wizards of Waverly Place. She subsequently ventured into feature films and has starred in the television movies Another Cinderella Story, Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, and Princess Protection Program. She made her starring theatrical film debut in Ramona and Beezus. Her career has expanded into the music industry; Gomez is the lead singer and founder of the pop band Selena Gomez & the Scene, which has released two RIAA Gold certified studio albums, Kiss & Tell and A Year Without Rain and spawned two RIAA Platinum certified singles, "Naturally" and "Who Says". As of April 2011, the band has sold 1,354,000 albums in the United States. Gomez has also contributed to the soundtracks of Tinker Bell, Another Cinderella Story, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Shake It Up after signing a record deal with Hollywood Records. In 2008, Gomez was designated a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador (Wikipedia).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

refuse to give up

Louis Dumont, GM of the Ice Gators reminds parents that now that school is back, talk with your children and keep them talking so you can make sure this year is bully free for them. Join with the Ice Gators and take the pledge, Bullying Stops With Me!

The Star: "...Dumont never made the NHL. Never made a six-figure salary. Never had his meals brought to him on a charter flight. But Dumont also never quit playing. Instead, he’s had a lifetime of wearing the sweaters of various minor-league fauna. Whether it be as a Thunderbird, a Tiger Shark, an IceGator, a Lynx, a Sea Wolf or a Grizzly, Dumont has found a home each season through 17 years in minor pro hockey. Sunday, when the NHL’s biggest stars take to the ice in Raleigh, Dumont will be celebrating his 38th birthday in a Memphis suburb at the other end of the pro hockey spectrum, wondering if he’ll still be playing when No. 39 ticks off the calendar. Probably. He’s not the longest serving minor-leaguer — though his 771 games in the East Coast Hockey League do rank him second in that loop — and he’s not the oldest but he is representative of those players who refuse to give up on the game once the NHL gives up on them. Shinny addicts who can’t walk away even after that dream dies. “I never played in the NHL but I made wherever I played kind of the NHL. It was my NHL. I get to come to the rink every day and have my games. I don’t get paid like they do for sure but it’s my dream,” he said, explaining his hockey stick-to-itiveness in a telephone interview. “When you’re 16 or 17 and dreaming of playing in the NHL, you think your world will end if you don’t make it. But I’ve taken so much from the game, so much gratification out of it. It’s still just a game when I’m out there playing; whatever league I’m playing in. I still really, really enjoy it, all facets of it. I just love going to the rink every day...” (Living a hockey dream in the minor leagues)

Louis Dumont (b. January 30th 1973 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada) is a canadian center who plays in the Central Hockey League for the Mississippi RiverKings. He enjoyed his best season with the Pensacola Ice Pilots in 2001-02 when he scored 32 goals and added 70 assists for 102 points in 72 games (

The Louisiana IceGators are a team of the Southern Professional Hockey League who began play in the 2009-10 season. Like the original IceGators which played from 1995 until folding in 2005, they are based out of Lafayette, Louisiana. For their first season as members of the SPHL, home games were played at the Blackham Coliseum rather than the Cajundome, the original home of the ECHL 'Gators. For the 2010-11 season, however, the team's home ice returned to the Cajundome (Wikipedia).


Monday, October 17, 2011

keeping his head held high

Advocate: "...I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens," he wrote on September 9. "What do I have to do so people will listen to me?" In May, he was on a high after coming out to friends, and he pointed to the support from people online as the reason it gets better. "I have so much support from people I don't even know online," he told the camera. "They don't ever want me to die" "...I felt like I could never escape it," said Rodemeyer, who claimed Lady Gaga as his inspiration for keeping his head held high..." (Jamey Rodemeyer, 14, Dies in Suicide) "...Jamey was a 14-year-old high school student in New York who often blogged about his experiences being bullied at school. In fact, according to his parents, Jamey had been bullied since the 5th grade, both at school, and online. His mother stated that he had begun questioning his sexuality, which led to students making malicious comments toward him. However, in the past year the attacks began to increase in intensity and in vehemence: Jeremy began receiving vile comments on his Formspring account, a blog that allows anonymous postings, such as: "Jaime is stupid, gay, fat and ugly. He must die!" and "I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone way more happier!..." (Jamey Rodemeyer, 14: another victim of anti-gay bullying)

Jamey Rodemeyer Suddenly on September 18, 2011. Age 14. Beloved son of Tracy M. (nee Pieczynski) and Timothy L. Rodemeyer; loving brother of Alyssa A. Rodemeyer; dear grandson of Sandra (Douglas Denman) Pochron and Lannie and Nancy Rodemeyer; cherished nephew of Susan (Charles) Hynes, Debi Mack, Cheryl (Ted) Kujawski, and David "Bubba" Rodemeyer; cousin of Nathan, Tom and Jack Hynes and Christopher Kujawski; also survived by numerous family members and friends. The family will be present Thursday and Friday 3-8 PM at (Amherst Chapel) AMIGONE FUNERAL HOME, INC. 5200 Sheridan Dr. (at Hopkins), where prayers will be offered Saturday at 8:45 AM followed by a Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated at 9:30 AM at SS Peter & Paul RC Church, 5480 Main St., Williamsville. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Crisis Services or to a charity of your choice. Share your condolences at (

Saturday, October 15, 2011

FILM: "Teach Your Children Well"

Huffington Post: "School bullying is sadly an ongoing problem in schools worldwide, and often with tragic consequences. A powerful new documentary short (39 minutes) dealing with this problem, "Teach Your Children Well," narrated by Emmy Award winning actress and comedienne Lily Tomlin, will premiere October 16th in Hollywood. The film has been selected as one of Kat Kramer's Films That Change the World. The film explores the daily harassment, bullying and violence endured daily by thousands of students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans-gender. The shameful events unfold through interviews with the students themselves as well as with parents, teachers and professionals from gay and lesbian service organizations. Included is a moving recounting of the September 2010 suicide of 13 year old Seth Walsh, by his mother, Wendy Walsh. The documentary's aim is to shine a spotlight on homophobia and its harmful repercussions, hopefully playing a part in reducing the bullying and violence..." (Anti-Bullying Documentary 'Teach Your Children Well' Premieres October 16th) "...The bullying issue is especially relevant, in light of several teen suicides in 2010 and the killing of Lawrence King," said Kramer, an actress and daughter of late producer/director Stanley Kramer. "So much bullying happens not just in schools, but on the Internet and in the workplace. I think it is the single most important social issue right now, because of the long-term impact it can have on one's life and self-esteem." King, a 15-year-old gay student, was shot to death by fellow student Brandon McInerney at their school in Oxnard, California in 2008. The jury in McInerney's recent hate-crimes and murder trial was unable to reach a verdict, resulting in a mistrial being declared. The Ventura County District Attorney's Office has said that it will seek a retrial. Narrated by multi-award-winning actress and comedienne Lily Tomlin, "Teach Your Children Well" seeks to promote tolerance toward LGBT kids. Tomlin agreed to participate in the documentary as a result of her own experiences and those of people she knows. "I had a brother who was the object of tremendous harassment and intolerance, and he really suffered as a teenager, because of it," Tomlin added. "I'm proud to be a part of this film. I hope it will educate people to, as the title says, ‘teach your children well,' and maybe eradicate this kind of prejudice." Among those appearing in the film is Wendy Walsh of Tehachapi, California, whose 13-year-old son, Seth, was one of four teenagers who committed suicide across the U.S. in 2010 as a result of repeated bullying..." (Kat Kramer's Films to Premier Anti-Bullying Doc Teach Your Children Well 10/16)

BelmontShore-Naples Patch: "...Tomlin spoke of the importance of expanding the reach of the film. "Bullying and its tragic consequences affect so many children," Tomlin said. "Every school day thousands of young people who identify as either lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender face harassment, bullying, and even violence for simply being who they are," said a statement by Artful Thinking Organization, a Long Beach non-profit whose programs will be benefited by a fundraiser prior to the screening. Artful engages in creative artful events aimed at educating the public about HIV/AIDS and Breast Cancer. They added, "The documentary film Teach Your Children Well focuses its attention on the challenging issues of homophobia and violence in our schools as directed against our L-G-B-T youth. The primary desire with this project is to change the consciousness that leads our children to commit acts of violence, by teaching acceptance and respect for the right of others to be who they are..." (Overflow Audience for Lily Tomlin-voiced Bullying Film)

Mary Jean "Lily" Tomlin (born September 1, 1939) is an American actress, comedienne, writer, and producer. Tomlin has been a major force in American comedy since the late 1960's when she began a career as a stand up comedian and became a featured performer on television's Laugh-in. Her career has spanned television, comedy recordings, Broadway, and motion pictures, enjoying acclaimed success in each medium. She has won many awards including Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, and a Grammy Award and has also been nominated for an Academy Award. Tomlin's humor is often sharp and insightful in the traditions of standup comedians, but also frequently endearing, slightly wacky, and generally quite "family friendly" in the tradition of television comediennes such as Lucille Ball (Tomlin's idol), Carol Burnett, and Eve Arden (Wikipedia).


Thursday, October 13, 2011

grant them equal rights

The Observer: Shepard said she wants to promote acceptance rather than just tolerance of diversity. "It's just not that hard," she said. "This is about humanity and being kind. You tolerate bad hair — you don't tolerate people. You accept them." In order to promote the end of hate crimes against the gay community and minorities in general, Shepard said everyone must work to remedy this issue by speaking with state representatives and voting. She said it is not a matter of liking gay people or not. Rather, it is a matter of respecting people for who they are and affording them the civil rights they deserve, especially the right to marriage. "You don't like gay people getting married? You don't like gay weddings? Then don't have one," Shepard said. "I'm not asking you to become their new best friend, I am asking you to grant them equal rights." Overall, Shepard said the problem of hate could be changed through education and acceptance. "Educate, educate, educate," Shepard said. "Bring light where you see darkness, bring freedom where there is fear because you are who you are and you love who you love." (Shepard speaks against hate).

Judy Shepard (née Peck; born 1952) is the mother of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at University of Wyoming who was murdered for being homosexual. She and her husband are co-founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and an advocate for LGBT-rights. On Monday, February 15, 2010; Heritage of Pride, the producers of the annual LGBT Pride March down 5th Avenue in New York City announced that Judy Shepard has been selected as a Grand Marshal for the March along with Lt. Dan Choi previously announced (Wikipedia).


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

childhood's rough, you'll get through it

Advocate: "...Bill Maher says that being short caused him to be bullied and ostracized as a kid and encourages viewers to stand up when they see it happening to others. The host of HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher recalls that besides being beaten up a couple of times, he was often hurt by being separated from the pack and feeling unwelcome as a kid. Maher tells viewers that people have to be taught to be good to others and if he had one thing to do over, he would stand up for other kids being bullied..." (Bill Maher Says Being Short Caused Him To Be Bullied)

On Top Mag: "...In the clip, the 55-year-old Maher said he can relate to the bullying some LGBT teens face. “This is the AA meeting for those who have been bullied. I have to raise my hand and say, 'Hi, I'm Bill, and I've been bullied.' I was short as a kid, that's always a good reason to bully someone. They are smaller and therefore weaker and more vulnerable, so let's pick on them.” “Kids are mean,” he said “Human beings actually have to be taught to be good people and sometimes that doesn't happen in childhood.” “That's it, childhood's rough, you'll get through it,” Maher added..." (Bill Maher Says He Can Relate To Bullied Gay Teens In 'It Gets Better' Video)

William "Bill" Maher, Jr. (born January 20, 1956) is an American stand-up comedian, television host, political commentator, author and actor. Before his current role as the host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher hosted a similar late-night talk show called Politically Incorrect originally on Comedy Central and later on ABC. Maher is known for his political satire and sociopolitical commentary, which targets a wide swath of topics: religion, politics, bureaucracies of many kinds, political correctness, the mass media, greed among people and persons in positions of high political and social power, the lack of intellectual curiosity of the electorate, among many topics. He supports the legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage, and serves on the board of PETA. He is also a critic of religion and is an advisory board member of Project Reason, a foundation to promote scientific knowledge and secular values within society. Maher currently ranks number 38 on Comedy Central's 100 greatest stand-ups of all time. Bill Maher received a Hollywood Walk of Fame star on September 14, 2010. His is the 2,417th star dedicated on the famous sidewalk (Wikipedia).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

gender is between your ears and not your legs

Oswegonian: "...The rest of us know that being gay is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if you are risking your life for your country on a daily basis. Maybe one day these people will wake up; or maybe they’ll just make another bonfire out of copies of “Heather Has Two Mommies.” The other incident of rabid closed-mindedness has to deal with the uproar over Chaz Bono’s participation in “Dancing With the Stars.” Bono is the show’s first transsexual contestant, so of course people freaked out about it. Concerned parents are doing everything they can from keeping their kids from seeing this horrible sight of a man who used to be a woman dancing the samba. Lewis Black and “The Daily Show” did a great job attacking this issue last week, and I have three more thoughts on this. First, parents should keep their kids from watching “Dancing With The Stars” no matter who the contestants are, since it is an irritating piece of reality TV. Second, if there’s one contestant parents should shield their kids from, it isn’t Chaz Bono, it’s the HLN Network’s Nancy Grace, who works part time as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The last thing is that we need to stop using the “kids will get confused” excuse when dealing with gay and transgender people, among other things. I was a kid once; there is one thing I know: kids will accept anything. Kids will believe a woman comes into their room and gives them money for losing teeth and a giant rabbit will give them chocolate on Easter, so kids shouldn’t be too shocked or upset by the idea of a man being with another man or a woman being with another woman. I learned the definition of “gay” when I was only nine years old, and it wasn’t a big deal to me then, so it’s pretty sad that it is a big deal to grown adults. Society needs to stop getting up in arms about gay and transgender people, among many, many other things. People always fear what they do not understand, and the world will be a better place if there was a lot more understanding, and a lot less thinking like idiots." (Homosexual, transgender people still viewed with ignorance)

M&C: "...Bono underwent a gender reassignment surgery and legally changed his gender from female to male last year, as one of the show's 12 celebrity competitors, and is partnered with Lacy Schwimmer. "Life is short and life is precious...I'm just a regular guy," Bono said on "GMA" of the outcry over his selection. "All these ideas that children shouldn't watch me, I'm going to be confusing, all this stuff, it's crazy." "Gender is between your ears and not you r legs...I felt like one of the boys," says Bono. "I feel is just great...I 'm living the life I always wanted now." Bono, 42, was born Chastity Bono, the daughter of Cher and the late Sonny Bono." (Chaz Bono talks about gender identity on GMA (VIDEO)).

Chaz Salvatore Bono (born Chastity Sun Bono; March 4, 1969) is an American transgender advocate, writer, actor, and musician. Bono is the only child that American entertainers Sonny and Cher had together, though each had children from other relationships. Bono is a female-to-male transgender man. In 1995, after several years of being outed as lesbian by the tabloid press, Bono publicly self-identified as such in a cover story in a leading American gay monthly magazine, The Advocate. Bono went on to discuss the process of coming out to oneself and to others in two books. Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families (1998) includes the author's coming out account. The memoir, The End of Innocence (2003) discusses the author's outing, music career, and partner Joan's death from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In 2008, Bono underwent female-to-male gender transition. A two-part Entertainment Tonight feature in June 2009 explained that Bono's transition had started a year before. In May 2010, Bono legally changed gender and name. Bono made a documentary about his life which debuted on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (Wikipedia).

Friday, October 7, 2011

always fighting to be accepted

NPR: "...Well, I guess that's right. I mean, I've always been competitive, and I've always been unafraid of taking on new challenges. But it was a very difficult decision, and when people talk about, oh, well, Renee Richards has all these regrets, they only think that it's the regrets about the sex change, and that's really not what the regrets are about. The regrets are about that decision to try to take the battle to the courts to be allowed to play and then actually playing as a professional. My closest friends and my father told me not to do it. They said the notoriety will wind down, you can go back to your nice new practice in Orange, California, with your new friends and your new life, and you'll be able to do it. And I didn't take their advice. You know, I'm a little bit, I don't know, I accept challenges, I guess. And the other reason was because I was getting a lot of calls from people who were downtrodden, who were part of sexual minorities, who were part of ethnic minorities. And they said, Renee, you've got to go and do this. You've got to take up this fight. You can't just take what they say and go back and lead a private life. And I remember one in particular. It was a woman who had been one of the umpires in the tournament out there in La Jolla who had known me in my former life in New York. And she said you've got to do this, because, you know, I'm part Filipino and my husband is black and the two sons I have that are tennis players are black, and we're always fighting to be accepted. And you've got to show that if it's your right to be accepted, to do what you are entitled to do, you've got to do it. So it was remarks from people like her - Virginia Glass(ph), I'll never forget her - in La Jolla at that time that spurred me on to do it..." ('The Second Half of My Life')

Renée Richards is a successful physician and champion tennis player. Born in 1934 as Richard Raskind, Richards was thrust into the international spotlight by the disclosure of her sex reassignment surgery after she won a women's tennis tournament. She is a graduate of Yale and the University of Rochester School of Medicine, an Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, and the author of Second Serve: The Renée Richards Story. She lives in New York State.

In 1976, Renée Richards is on the tennis court as a professional tennis player. The film flashes back to 1964, when Renée Richards is an eye surgeon named Richard Radley (both roles played by Redgrave). Radley has a successful career and a fiancée, but secretly cross-dresses at night. Unable to speak with his mother Sadie (Louise Fletcher), who is a psychiatrist, Radley consults his own psychiatrist, Dr. Beck (Martin Balsam), who advises him to grow a beard. This strategy works temporarily until Radley is drafted into the Navy, which does not allow beards. Following his discharge and a failed marriage, Radley undergoes gender reassignment surgery and becomes Renée. Renée relocates to California, resumes her career as a surgeon and begins dating. After playing in a local tennis tournament in La Jolla, Renée is outed as transgender by a television reporter. In the ensuing controversy, Renée takes the United States Tennis Association to court, where she secures her right to play professional tournament tennis as a woman without being subjected to chromosome testing (Wikipedia).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

accept the beauty of difference

National Post: “...I’ve put on many faces in the characters that I play. So, in some ways, you could say I have, I suppose, [put on a face] in order to survive,” she says. “But life is so much harder than work.” Close says Albert Nobbs was a labour of love, so just about everything it involved was joyful, and she hopes people will be able to derive the same profound sense of meaning from the movie as she gleaned from her 15-year odyssey bringing it to the screen. Close says we’re still living in a society where this is still taking place. “I really I hope it engenders a lot of conversation, because I believe there are a lot of people who put on faces. We all we do it, every time we walk out the door. And there are a lot of people who have to hide who they are. And I think this story speaks to that,” she says. “I am not gay … but I feel very comfortable in the company of everybody, not just gay people. But I honestly believe that gay rights of the rights of people with mental illness are the last big issue.” Some people will change their point of view, and those who are either too old, or too blinkered, to accept the beauty of difference will just have to “die off,” she says..." (Albert Nobbs star Glenn Close on the irrelevance of gender)

LA Times Blogs: "...Loosely adapted from the short story “Albert Nobbs” by 19th century Irish writer George Moore (which became Close’s Obie Award-winning off-Broadway play “The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs” by French playwright Simone Benmussa), the movie enjoyed its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on Friday night. The film, due out in December, raises an array of challenging questions about gender, identity and same-sex attraction. Described as “such a kind little man” by another character in the film, Nobbs is in fact a very complicated bundle of conflicted and unrequited emotions and desires. While she struggles to preserve her disguise — a choice she made after a personal trauma, but also motivated by professional ambition— Nobbs simultaneously tries to resolve her naive feelings about desire while trying to escape an existence that is unsatisfying on several levels. As one character played by Janet McTeer says to Nobbs in the film, “You don’t have to be anything but who you are.” But that simple statement raises countless corollaries. Is Dobbs’ passing a temporary means to an entrepreneurial end? Has her deception fundamentally changed how she sees herself, other women and other men? And how does a century-old world handle same-sex relations, when gay marriage even today is for many an offensive concept? It’s the kind of role that Close said she had to play before she died. And in recent years, gender-masking performances in other films have captivated audiences and awards voters, most notably Hilary Swank in 1999’s “Boys Don’t Cry” and Jaye Davidson in 1992’s “The Crying Game.” The 64-year-old Close, who has been nominated for an Oscar five times without winning, tried to bring the story to the screen for years, and even began scouting locations 10 years ago. While collaborating with director Rodrigo Garcia on 2005’s “Nine Lives” (the two also joined forces on 1999’s “Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her”), Close decided she had found her filmmaker. Close also produced Albert Nobbs...” (Telluride Film Fest: Glenn Close gender bends in 'Albert Nobbs')

Glenn Close (born March 19, 1947) is an American actress and singer of theatre and film, known for her roles as a femme fatale (the scheming Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons (1988), and deranged stalker Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction (1987). She is also known for playing Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians (1996), and its sequel 102 Dalmatians (2000). She has been more recently known for her Emmy winning role as Patty Hewes in the FX TV series Damages. She has been nominated five times for an Oscar, and once for a BAFTA Film Award, and has won three Tonys, an Obie, three Emmys, two Golden Globes, and a Screen Actors Guild Award (Wikipedia).

Bring Change 2 Mind is a not-for-profit organization created by Glenn Close, the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF), Fountain House, and Garen and Shari Staglin of IMHRO (International Mental Health Research Organization). The idea of a national anti-stigma campaign was born of a partnership between Glenn Close and Fountain House, where Glenn volunteered in order to learn about mental illness, which both her sister and nephew suffer from (

Monday, October 3, 2011

stigma of mental illness

The myths of mental illness: There are many myths about mental illness. Until people learn the truth, they will continue to deny that mental illness exists at all or to avoid the topic entirely. How much do you know about mental illness? Here are some of the common myths -and truths.

People with mental illness are violent and dangerous. The truth is that, as a group, mentally ill people are no more violent than any other group. In fact, they are far more likely to be the victims of violence than to be violent themselves.

People with mental illness are poor and/or less intelligent. Many studies show that most mentally ill people have average or above-average intelligence. Mental illness, like physical illness, can affect anyone regardless of intelligence, social class or income level.

Mental illness is caused by a personal weakness. A mental illness is not a character flaw. It is an illness, and it has nothing to do with being weak or lacking will-power. Although people with mental illness can play a big part in their own recovery, they did not choose to become ill, and they are not lazy because they cannot just "snap out of it."

Mental illness is a single, rare disorder. Mental illness is not a single disease but a broad classification for many disorders. Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, personality disorders, eating disorders and organic brain disorders can cause misery, tears and missed opportunities for thousands of Canadians (

What is Stigma? Stigma is made up of two parts: negative and unfavorable attitudes, and negative behaviours that result from those attitudes. People living with a mental illness often experience stigma through: Inequality in employment, housing, educational and other opportunities which the rest of us take for granted; Loss of friends and family members (the social and support network); Self-stigma created when someone with a mental illness believes the negative messages (

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Bullying is an abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed persistently towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "targeted individual" (Wikipedia).