In memory of Kenneth Weishuhn, age 14 →
Kenneth Weishuhn, a gay 14-year-old high school freshman from Iowa, died by suicide this weekend, and bullying at school is suspected to have played a role.
Kenneth’s friends rejected him when he came out to them about a month ago. Bullies created an anti-gay hate group on Facebook and added Kenneth’s friends as members, and he eventually received death threats over the phone.
According to Kenneth’s mother Jeannie, those South O’Brien boys were given a warning, but she was never contacted by the school. She’s unsure whether she’ll press charges against the students she says drove her son to his death.
“I really don’t want to ruin somebody else’s life, or take someone else’s son or daughter from them. But, I don’t know what it’s going to take to get it to stop,” said Chambers.
His funeral will be held Thursday. Rest peacefully, Kenneth. I’m so sorry we couldn’t help you in time.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call The Trevor Project’s lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. Suicide is preventable and there are resources available to help you get through it.
"I think lots of people in our world were probably bullied. I think that maybe you know it’s one of those kinds of experiences that helps one be empathetic. I think empathy is required to act."
Lee Hirsch, director of the documentary Bully
, which is now playing in theaters, on how he was bullied as a kid. Read the full Advocate.com interview here
. (via gaywrites
Don't Say Gay bill passes in committee →
#don't say gay
The infamous Don’t Say Gay bill in Tennessee, once nearly long gone, is gaining momentum once again.
The bill made it out of a committee yesterday and now heads to the House for a full vote, though Republican governor Bill Haslam says he doesn’t believe it should be a priority at the moment. More from The Advocate:
He also seemed unhappy to have what was called “the monkey bill” land in his lap last month. Instead of signing the law, which extends legal protections to teachers who want to discuss the possibility that creationism is real or that global warming isn’t, Haslam waited and waited and eventually let the law go into effect without his signature.
Last time around, the House ran out of time to vote on the “don’t say gay” law while the Senate actually passed it. It would bar teachers and administrators from any talk of homosexuality before high school and violators would face fines and jail time. Backers of the bill don’t appear to be backing down.
I will be so furious if this goes through. I’m shocked that Tennessee has nothing better to do than impose these harsh judgements and homophobic rules on students.
Saudi Arabian schools move to ban "gays and tomboys" →
The government in Saudi Arabia has put forth efforts to ban gays and masculine-appearing women from schools to fight homosexuality, according to reports from Saudi Arabia. Details from the news source:
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the most feared law enforcement authority in the oil-rich country, has been asked to enforce the new orders, Sharq Arabic language daily said.
“Instructions have been issued to all public schools and universities to ban the entry of gays and tom boys and to intensify their efforts to fight this phenomenon, which has been promoted by some websites,” it said.
The paper did not make clear who issued those instructions but said gay and tom boy students can go back to schools and universities if they prove they have been corrected and have stopped such practices.
I don’t even know where to start on how wrong this is. How can you possibly justify keeping kids out of school for something like sexuality, let alone appearance? We need someone to step in, and we need it now. This is inexcusable.
Kansas House approves discriminatory "religious exemption" bill →
The House in Kansas yesterday voted 89-27 to pass a bill that allows people to “opt out” of the antidiscrimination laws that protect LGBT people by claiming these laws “violate their religious freedom.” It will now move to the Senate.
Essentially, a business, employer or the like could claim homosexuality was against their religion and therefore fire a gay employee or kick a gay renter out of a house based on their own beliefs. And this would be legal.
The idea for the bill, called the “Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” came in reaction to the college town of Lawrence passing an anti-discrimination ordinance that included sexual orientation. The new state law would nullify that and any other local anti-discrimination ordinance that included sexual orientation by granting citizens the right to opt out if they felt it conflicted with their religious beliefs.
“I don’t think an ordinance should trump other people’s religious rights,” said Rep. Jan Pauls, a Democrat on the Judiciary Committee that heard testimony about the bill. During a forum earlier this year, Pauls gave an example to explain why she backs the bill, saying an employer should be allowed to fire a “cross dresser.”
Oh, this is scary. Why is it so difficult to understand that discrimination is never OK?