Thursday, October 14, 2010

Council Response to Recent National Youth Suicides - Protecting our LGBTQQ and Straight Youth

All youth should feel safe and be able to live openly with the support they need to reach their full potential.

At our Council meeting last night, I asked for consensus to work-up a response for our Trinidad City Council to the recent national stories of anti-gay bullying and tragic suicides of perceived and self-identified gay youth. I'm gathering information and would appreciate any suggestions you have.

Our LGBTQQ youth (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning) are specially protected in school by California Legislation which prohibits their denigration on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity - the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act (AB 537), the Safe Place to Learn Act (AB 394), and the Student Civil Rights Act (SB 777).

LGBTQQ foster youth are protected here by Foster Youth School Safety Education (AB 3015) and the California Foster Care Non-discrimination Act (AB 458). The California Juvenile Justice Safety and Protection Act (SB 518) protects all youth from discrimination in state Department of Juvenile Justice facilities.

Recently, our governor signed the The Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth Act (SB 543). It permits California youth ages 12-17 to obtain services without parental permission. LGBTQQ youth no longer face coming out to their parents prematurely and without support to get help. Without such support, some would face emotionally damaging and sometimes physically threatening situations at home.

Young bullies often identify with a parent or other adults who are bullies. Adults expressing negative views of LGBTQQ people send a dangerous message that leads directly to harassment, bullying, and violence against LGBTQQ youth. We need to unequivocally condemn the expression of negative views of LGBTQQ people as biased, unacceptable, and wrong.

Supportive residents, please be the best example for our youth - watch what you say and don't say, get involved, and help protect youth nationwide by urging Congress to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

As for me, I respectfully offer that if someone is being bullied or is a bully, I will help. I want the best for all our youth and I’m going to do what I need to do to give them the best possible future.

Please also see my previous post on this issue " Getting Better ... Bullies Are Sad and Weak " for more of my POV, additional information and resources.

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Thank you for taking time to read and respond to my post. A quick sentence stating your opinion would be much appreciated - it's the reason I'm blogging, Mike

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