Meet Bria and Chrissy, two young women who not only are immensely talented, but also a powerful social-rights promoting couple. Cool, right?  I was introduced to their music via a Facebook anti-bullying group and they were kind enough to do a post for us!  I just love their confidence and what they stand for.  They recently recorded an anti-bullying song and I’m so glad they were willing to have me promote it on MKC.

Here is what they’d like to say to MyKindnessCounts.com:

BriaAndChrissy are a lesbian duo who are dating each other, we make videos to inspire change,  so we address multiple issues. Bria is 26, from Atlanta, Georgia and Chrissy is 22 from Clinton, Mississippi, we both currently live in Atlanta. We are fighting many fights, but we have a large part of our hearts in the LGBT struggle. We began our videos responding to the Chick-Fil-A issue and started gaining a small following; from there we were inspired to help make a difference in the world, and the video ideas started flowing.

Bullying is never ok, whether it is toward the gay youth or the straight, and we specifically generalized our anti-bully video to reiterate that bullying is never ok.  We hope we can inspire people through music, we have so much passion in what we are doing and we hope people see that and feel the desire to spread the same passion. 

Check out BriaAndChrissy on Twitter and YouTube :)

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Bullying & Boys

November 2nd, 2012 | Posted by Jessica in Thoughts | Your Voices - (2 Comments)

Mean Girls, the movie, became a social-phenomenon back around 2004 and still continues to be eight years later. The movie is often referenced in both the media and amongst many female groups of friends. While it is a wildly entertaining film, it also brings attention to how incredibly horrible girls can make middle school and high school for one another.

Interestingly, bullying amongst teen boys is often not as widely recognized.  It could be because boys are often less likely to talk about being bullied than girls are, which I personally can attest to from the MKC emails I receive.  Of course, we do know that boys can and do get bullied just like girls do, but maybe the lack of presence male bullying has in the media makes it harder for them to talk about their struggles.

I recently came across the website, NoBystanders.me, where the young men of Ontario’s Robert Land Academy have all taken the pledge to both not bully others and to speak up when they see bullying occurring. The following description of their campaign is from their website:

Bullies rule others through meanness and manipulation. Their behaviour can be aggressive, spiteful, and nasty. And if we let them get away with it, that is the world we are choosing to live in.

But bullying can also be stopped. More often than not, when someone intervenes, bullying stops within 10 seconds. Cyberbullying can be stopped too.

Each of us has taken this pledge to ourselves and to the world. Each of us has said:

“I will not be a bystander. I will not look away and pretend it’s not happening.

I will speak up when I see someone being bullied or know they are being cyberbullied. I will encourage others to speak up too. And we will make the bully the outsider.

And if it is something I cannot handle on my own, I will tell someone. I will get help if I need it because I know I do not have to do it alone.

Bullying may start with someone else. But it stops with me.”

And you.

And a promise to take a stand against bullying. And not be a bystander. 

Click HERE to add your name to Robert Land Academy’s petition and campaign against bullying.

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Happy Thursday! I hope you’re having a good week so far. I recently received an email that I wanted to share with all of you. Megan, a 15 year old from Canada, is a super talented girl who writes and records all her own music. She contacted me last week asking me to share this song and video she recorded with a storyline about bullies and bullying. The best part about Megan and her efforts is that while she’s obviously taking a strong stance against bullying with her song lyrics, she is also impacting, inspiring, and encouraging TONS of young people (as per the comments on her YouTube video and Facebook page), which is what this website is all about. Please read her email below and take a few minutes to watch her video, like her Facebook page, or leave her a comment here. She’s one remarkable young lady and I’m honored to share her efforts against bullying on this website!

Hi, I’m 15 and wrote this because of a personal experience. I did the video myself too. I was not going to let them break me. If it shows that it bothers you, they’ll just do it more. I hope my song will help those that are starting to feel torn down — to rise up! Don’t let anyone make you a victim. They aren’t worth it.

I hope my song will give other kids the power “to look right over their heads”. Because in the end bullying is really about power. Why give anyone that satisfaction over you! I didn’t, and I won’t and I hope more and more kids don’t either.

Megan

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Happy Monday, everyone! The post I have to share with you all today is written by Josh. Josh contacted me through Twitter the other night and wanted to know my thoughts on bullying and what I thought it can do to people. Josh and I exchanged our thoughts on the subject and when he told me how horribly he was bullied in school, I explained that I ran this website and asked if he wanted to participate. Josh was awesome enough to send me a quick email about his personal experience with being bullied.  What Josh went through must have been really tough and it takes a very strong person to be able to share personal experiences with the intention of helping others. Truly inspirational and admirable in my book. :) Thanks, Josh — you’re more than welcome to blog on here ANY time!!

I am Josh, I am 20 years old and I live in Oklahoma City. All my life in school, I was always bullied, made fun of, called names, teased and laughed at, which really really hurt my feelings. I went through so much and want to raise awareness against bullying so this doesn’t happen to the kids of today. If you are bullied, you need to express your feelings to someone, it’s very vital that you do not hold your feelings in. If you see bullying happen, you need to step in an explain to the bully how much he or she can hurt someone’s feelings by doing that. I personally have Autism, and it doesn’t matter if we are “normal” or have something like Autism, Down Syndrome etc, we ALL matter and we ALL have feelings!!! I want to thank Jessica for the chance to work with her on stopping bullying, it truly means a lot!!

-Josh Campbell

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Hey, guys!  I am beyond excited to share an update with you on Team SWAG’s efforts toward creating an AWESOME anti-bullying documentary. If you aren’t familiar with Team Swag or what they’re about, you can check out the first post I did on them here, but basically, Team Swag consists of five high school students from New Haven, Connecticut (Alisha, Nick, Nick, Mallorie, and Taylor) and four “coaches” who are college students from surrounding universities (Alyssa, Will, Maddie, Susannah). Team SWAG is a part of a larger organization called The Future Project. The Future Project aims to work with kids outside of their normal academics to help them conquer their dreams and passions. Team SWAG decided that their passion was to get the word out about bullying.

So, what has Team SWAG been up to these past few weeks?

1. They have a great new blog to document what they’ve been up to (check it out here!).

2. They have their own Twitter account — Follow them :D (check it out here!).

3. They’re planning a fundraiser to raise money for an organization.

4. As a group, they’ve created this great new video explaining why they’re passionate about tackeling bullying.

Thanks for all your hard work, Team SWAG :)

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Good morning! Today, my guest blogger today is Wesley Davidson, a health and parenting writer whose blog: http://straightparentgaykidblogspot.com gives advice on raising GLB teens. Wesley is currently writing a book with a Manhattan psychiatrist on the issues that straight parents face while parenting gay teens and how to solve these concerns. Check out her post below, leave some feedback, and be sure to visit her blog!

Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones,” but Names are What You Remember”

It all started in middle school which my son Alex called “dark and depressing.” It was a forbidding stone school, with a cafeteria in the basement. But the building itself wasn’t the only depressing drawback, it was the atmosphere created by a small group of boys who called my son a “faggot.”

Although I suspected at times that my son was “gay,” as he hung out with girls and didn’t like contact sports, I dismissed it and attributed his popularity with the opposite sex due to his sensitivity, kindness, and good looks. Perhaps the so-called macho boys were jealous of these attributes in 1996 in a suburb outside of New York City in the so-called “liberal Northeast.”

The school never told me of the tauntings although my son, I later learned, had spoken to the guidance counselor about the bullying. This is not unusual. A 2005 Harris Interactive GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) found that 69% of junior and middle GLBT high school students report being assaulted or harassed in the previous year and nearly 1/3 said that the school staff did nothing to intervene. Alex’s teachers were more concerned with his homework, and managed to find the time to write notes to me about the tardiness of Alex’s assignments. Our son hated school, but then again, he didn’t even like nursery school. Could this non-compliance be teenage moodiness and rebellion? It’s hard for a parent to know.

By the time, he was in his freshman year in high school, his mood was beyond flirting with depression. He was depressed. The teasing continued, and even his new “troublemaker” girlfriends couldn’t protect him. Nowadays, if you are harassed at school and the educators don’t come to your rescue, you can have LAMBDA Legal, American Civil Liberties Union or Transgender Law Center on Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defender to assist you(Refer to my blogpost”When the Fail-Safes Fail at Your Child’s School,” September 7, 2011 at http: //straightparentgaykid.blogspot.com

He went to the school nurse frequently, and got excused from class. Many GLBT students (one out of three) skip school at least one day a month to avoid facing the slurs of their tormentors. To combat this truancy as well as other social ills, GLSEN’s anti-bullying programs for all school grades, educators, communities, are getting the message out that harassment of any group is not to be tolerated. If your bullying is found to be a “hate crime,” you can be sentenced to prison, as in the case of former Rutgers University student, Dharun Ravi who spyed with a webcam on his gay roommate Tyler Clementi having sex and then sent the images virally. As a crime stopper, recently, an anonymous Cyber Bullying Reporting Service was launched by SchoolReach, an automated parent notification service used by public, private, and parochial schools throughout the United States.

These support groups were not around when I was coping. I wish they had been when I later found out the root of my son’s depression. I discovered in a letter what confirmed my fleeting thought a year earlier: he was, in fact, gay. He was not “out” to us, and may have been in denial to himself as well. I think he must have internalized the homophobia he experienced at school. His self-esteem was low. He was unhappy and had psychosomatic illnesses. For a while, he thought he had mono. He, divorcing himself from his father, younger sister, and I, would spend hours in his room with the door shut. It pained me to see him isolating himself. In the past, he had enjoyed family activities.

He consented to seeing a psychiatrist, but that doctor couldn’t read between the lines and was hoodwinked by my son who told this mental health expert that he wasn’t “gay.” He had “fallen through the cracks.” Wasn’t there anyone who could help? I, of course, was at wit’s end. How do you help someone who claims that “there is nothing wrong?” There was a Gay-Straight Alliance at his School, but as he confided in me years later, “If I joined, the kids would have have known for sure then that I was gay.”

Even with my lesbian grandmother who died in the late 6o’s, I felt as if I had no role model so I would stand in bookstores reading parenting books for advice. Most parenting-a-teen books had scant information on how to deal with issues raising a gay son. Of course, now there are many more books out on the subject such as Kevin Jennings’s (the former director of GLSEN)and social worker, Pat Shapiro, M.S.W.’s classic, Always My Child. A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans-Gendered or Questioning Son or Daughter.(Fireside Books: 2003) or the more recent Coming Out, Coming In. Nurturing the Well-Being and Inclusion of Gay Youth in Mainstream Society by school guidance counselor, Linda Goldman, Ms. (Routledge: 2008).

With teens in contemporary society “coming out” in middle or high school, there is definitely more openness and more publicity about the gay community. It used to be that gay and lesbian kids waited until after they were out of high school to tell Mom and Dad.

Because there was not this openness in our house, I felt ineffectual as a parent as I wasn’t much help to our son. Eventually, he stopped going to school altogether and choose to watch “The Price Is Right” in his pajamas. What a trajectory for a bright adolescent!

The next year, he transferred to another school in another town. He was no longer one of a few gay kids whose reputation preceded him at a new school. His outlook was better than the previous year. When he was old enough, he moved to California where there was a large gay population who embraced him. In the interim, we joined PFLAG (Parents for Lesbians and Gays) with nationwide chapters and learned how to deal with issues unique to raising GLBT kids.

But, strange as it seems, children are not just bullied at school. Parents can be the culprits, too. Hate begins at home. If teens aren’t respected and loved unconditionally despite their sexual orientation, they may take to the streets. Gay and lesbian youth on the street make up between 20 and 40 percent of the 1.6 million homeless and runaway teens according to some studies.

To make sure you are doing your due diligence at home, see tips on my blog “Parental Homework for Anti-Bullying Defenses,” and “Antibullying Tactics Begin at Home,” September 21, 2011.

I’m happy to say that our son never ran away from home. Time worked magic and now our son is happy and comfortable in his own skin. Sex columnist Dan Savage who conceived of the internet video, and now television program, “It Gets Better” is truly right.

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“I Do a Great Job”

February 28th, 2012 | Posted by Jessica in Thoughts | Your Voices - (1 Comments)

Happy Tuesday!

I received this email from a girl named Isa last week. Isa is a teenager from Germany who runs an anti bullying Twitter account with a few people she met online (check it out here: @TogetherVSBullying). Her email was short and sweet, but what stuck with me the most was that Isa was able to clearly acknowledge all the good she’s doing to help others with her anti bullying account. Believe it or not, keeping a positive frame of mind and telling herself that she’s doing a great job will definitely help Isa as she continues to focus on being strong.  Everyone and anyone can feel ignored (I still remember feeling that way at times in high school), but I think Isa should know that she’s shining in a BIG way by helping others who are doing through similar things.

Please support Isa by going to her anti bullying Twitter account @TogetherVSBullying.

Hey Jessica, I am a 16 year old school student from Germany that has a lot of experience with bullying and rents an anti bullying account on twitter, @TogetherVSBullying, you might know it.

I rent it with longolisa, ohmyswagger and tyqahbulzay.
I was bullied from 6 till 8 grade and now people ignore me. I am in therapy because of it and i try to focus and to stay strong. I have amazing support from my friends and from my online friends and I do a great job by renting this anti bullying account.
I hope you can mention us and support us,it would mean the world too me ;)
Please tweet us and help us to fight against bullying :D

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