Monday, August 31, 2015

When The School Is Lax About Bullying



o.k.  School has started.  School bullies do not need orientation.  They are hard at work harassing their victim, your gay children, 24 /7.  Your school downplays your child’s horrific experience. You are lucky that your child has come to you with her concerns.  Many are afraid to tell grown-ups as they may be considered tattling or be accused of “asking for it.”

What’s a parent to do?  If you have reached out to your child’s teacher and received a disinterested response, don’t be deterred.  Under state laws, most schools are required to develop policies about bullying.  However, that doesn’t mean the school staff has received training related to their district’s bullying prevention policy. Or they pay attention to messages of inclusion in posters on the brick school walls. Know your school’s policy before you try to get positive reinforcement from it.

How To Get Cooperation for Bullying

You need all adults: parents, teachers, administrators, law enforcement, media to work together as champions for your children.  Continue to contact other school personnel in a chain of command.  If the teacher is uncooperative, call the guidance counselor, school social worker, principal.  If your needs are still not satisfied, contact the PTO, the school board, the superintendant, and if you’re concerned about your child’s safety, call the local police!

Get the Word Out!

Talk to your friends about what is going on.  Reach out to other parents.  Take your message online.  Find the blogging community for support, guidance, and practical advice.

Act Like A Court Stenographer!

To keep all involved parties organized, informed and goal-directed:

Document your child’s incidents of bullying.
Record as much detail as you can.
Prior to meeting with school personnel, write down your goals for the conversation.
Make notes on whom you spoke to at school.
Write down their responses, word for word.
After meeting, put in writing any agreed upon resolutions.
Request that all involved parties signed the document to indicate their agreement.
Keep at it!

Resources to Help You:

Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), http://www.glsen.org/educate/resources
Family Equality .org.
The Stonewall national education project
Human Rights Campaign Foundation
http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/making-elementary-schools-more-LGBTQ-inclusive-this-school-year




Friday, August 21, 2015

The 4R's: Reading, 'Riting, "Rithmetic, and Regulation



School is starting soon.  You’ve probably starting putting the kids to bed earlier so they will be in sync with school hours, maybe having them read an hour a day to get them used to books and not other kinds of texts?

Unfortunately, phone texting is all too familiar with students and is here to stay.  In some cases, that’s fine, but it’s one easy tool that allows for invasion for the cyberbully   Each school year brings fresh, nasty messages that don’t stop at recess but are ubiquitous.

Know The Signs of Cyberbullying

But many who experience cyberbullying don’t tell anyone about it.  They’re afraid that the bully will retaliate if punished, that they will be regarded as causing the harassment.

Did you know that cyberbullying impacts at least 1out of 5 middle and high school students, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center?

If your child will not tell you that he/she is being bullied, how are you supposed to know?  Here are the telltale signs provided by http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/local-education/cyberbullying-takes-old-problems-to-new-levels-/08/18/15:


Does your child unexpectedly stop using his telephone/computer?
Does he/she appear to be angry, depressed or frustrated after going online?
Does he/she appear uneasy about going to school?
Does he/she become abnormally withdrawn?
Does he/she avoid discussion about what he/she is doing online?
Does he/she become unusually secretive, especially secretive, especially when it comes to online activities?

What to Do If Your Child Is Bullied


Talk and listen.

Get facts such as how long the child has been feeling this way. Has there been a past conflict between your child and student?  Ask for evidence.

Encourage the child not to retaliate but tell the offender how he/she is feeling.

Tell someone at school.  All U.S. schools should have a bullying policy that covers cyberbullying.

Contact police if there are physical threats.

Use caution in contacting parents of the bully.  They may be bullies themselves and will just make the student even angrier.

You can meet with the school administration if the bully and your child attend the same school.

Follow up.  Ask for a follow-up conference if there was a meeting between the bully and the victim.  What were the results of the meeting?  How will the school monitor and support the victim?

Take measures online by setting up privacy controls.  Block the bully on all social media.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

How Much Gay Wedding Cake Would A Straight Baker Chuck If A Court Says He Could?

 How Much Gay Wedding Cake Would A  Straight Baker Chuck If A Court Says He Could?

The answer to this riddle is none.  As of  August 13th, baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado has to bake cakes for same-sex couples whether he approves or disapproves of their marriages.  So sayeth a state appeals court in Colorado.

Jack Phillips cannot use religious beliefs as an excuse for not making cakes for gays any longer. Phillips contends, however, that he is not discriminating against gays because he also will not bake Halloween cakes for he associates Halloween with Satan.

The complaint that was filed under Colorado law which bars discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation was filed by a gay couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins in July of 2012. The Colorado Civil Rights Administration as well as an administrative law judge ruled that this is illegal discrimination because “the same-sex marriage was so intrinsically related to the plaintiffs’ sexual orientation.”

The decision stated that no one would interpret Masterpiece’s providing a wedding cake for a same-sex couple as an endorsement of same-sex marriage. Instead, it’s a compliance with Colorado public accommodations law.  Baker Jack Phillips is entitled to his opinions on same-sex marriage which can differ from his same-sex customers’s viewpoints, the Colorado Appeals Court ruled.

Refusal to Comply with U.S. Supreme Court 's Decision on Gay Marriage

Ever since the June U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right in every state, cases like this one are cropping up. In New Mexico, Oregon, and the state of Washington, fines have been levied against a photographer, a baker, and a florist for refusing to provide business for same-sex weddings.  Probably lawyers will appeal the decision which these religious owners claim is a violation of their First Amendment rights?  Is this the same concept as forcing a Catholic School to provide contraception?

What do you think?  Are businesses disguising their homophobia by couching it in terms of their religious beliefs?  Are you harming others by denying them the same services as heterosexuals?  Is an objection to same-sex marriage the same as discrimination against a gay person?



Monday, August 10, 2015

Five More Things Not to Say To Your Gay Child



Exactly a month ago, I wrote a post about five things you should not say to a gay child. See http://www.straightparentgaykid.blogspot.com/2015/07/10/-five-things-not-to-say-to-your-gay-child/
Since then, I have either heard or read about common remarks (malapropos) that may not be intended as insensitive, but come across that way.

“That’s So Gay!”  School kids, in particular, hear this all the time, according to GLSEN (Gay, Straight, Education Network). They don’t need to hear it at home, too! The phrase can be translated to that’s inferior!  You don’t want to apply this to anyone, gay or straight.

You were just dating Johnny!” Some gays and lesbians know they are gay as youngsters, some realize their orientation when they hit puberty, still some don’t know until they are adults.  There is no right age for coming out.  Most gays/lesbians, probably hoping they were cisgender or heterosexual  have probably dated the opposite sex, at some point in their lives.


“You’re Too Young To Know!” If your child tells you he/she is gay, believe them.  They have the feelings toward the same-sex, you don’t. Even if they think they’re gay because they are experimenting with the same-sex, as straight persons do, and they could be mistaken, don’t correct them.  Time will tell!

So, Now You’re Bisexual!” Bisexuality gets a bum rap.
The straight population erroneously thinks it means you’re promiscuous because you’re engaging in sex with both males and females.  Society wants the bisexual to choose to be either straight or gay.  But truth is, there does exist bisexuality as a sexual orientation.

“You need to go to church more!” You can’t “pray-the-gay” away. Reparative or conversion therapy doesn’t work – in fact, a few states have outlawed it.  It usually makes the gay person feel worse, resulting in low self-esteem, guilt, and even suicide.  It is a temporary fix that is caused by bullying, usually from religious organizations.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Boy Scouts End Ban on Gay Leaders, but Leave Wiggle Room for Religious Beliefs


On July 27, 2015, The Boy Scouts of America ended its nationwide ban on openly gay adult leaders.  Seventy-nine percent of those who participated in a telephone meeting of the national executive board voted in favor of lifting the ban. The Scouts’ volunteer national president and former Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates urged this legal change to reflect the growing acceptance toward gays in the United States.

First, gay scouts were outlawed from the BSA.  Then, it was voted that a gay scout could participate as a scout, but not a leader. .  Under the pre-2013 law, an openly gay eighteen year-old Eagle Scout would have to leave scouting forever as he could not be a gay Scout leader. See my blog post at 2015/07/17/Maybe-Just-Maybe,the-BSA-Will-Get-It-Right-This-Time . The new law is a logical step as it is common for Eagle Scouts to become adult leaders when they turn eighteen.

What the New Law Means

Under this newly adopted Boy Scout policy, all Boy Scout offices and all paid jobs will not tolerate discrimination based on sexual orientation.  While the new law sounds ideal and progressive, in actuality, it doesn’t go far enough.

The recent law, similar to the June 2015 Supreme Court Ruling that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States, allows “wiggle-room” for religiously sponsored groups. They would have exemptions.  It leaves the decision to individual troops and councils in much the same way as the Religious Freedom Act gives bakers an out for accommodating same-sex couples or marriage license clerks a say as to whether they will marry LGBT couples.

SCOUTING WILL SUFFER

As most Boy Scouts are sponsored by religious organizations such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints a.k.a. Mormons or the Baptist Convention, the already dwindling Boy Scout enrollment figure of 2.4 million based on 2014 figures will decline even further.

The Mormons have already protested, but haven’t officially voted on the ban as summer recess has interfered.  For more than a century, their church has been deeply invested in Boy Scouts.  The youth program of the Mormon Church is Boy Scouts.  Over twenty-percent of all scouts are Mormon.

With Monday’s decision to allow conservative religious sponsors of local packs and troops to pick their leaders who share their beliefs, you may end up with fewer packs, and heterosexuals as leaders as well as disguised prejudice.

What kind of a message are we sending our youth who are supposed to be learning about values, equal opportunity, and team building?




Friday, July 24, 2015

Fear For Many Parents Will Be Eased

As the straight parent of a gay child, you fear for your child.  Will he/she be beaten up, picked on in school, fired from a job, have to live in certain areas that are designated as gay-friendly just because of his/her sexual orientation? In most of the U.S, states, it is legal to fire and evict a gay person due to his sexual orientation. It’s probably not all that different than a heterosexual parent worrying about their straight child who is black, Hispanic or another minority.  When prejudice rears its ugly head, the LGBT child, and yes, the LGBT adult, will be considered belonging to a minority group and therefore will be targeted.

Add-Ons to Civil Rights Act of 1964

There are civil rights protections in The Civil Rights Act of 1964 yet they do not cover protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. On Thursday, July 23rd, two Democratic Senators Cicilline and Merkley with a co-sponsor Sean Maloney introduced legislation to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its list of already protected classes: discrimination in credit, education, employment, housing, federal financial assistance, jury service and public accommodations.

Compared to the 2013 Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), this federal LGBT non-discrimination Equality Act is much broader.  It covers all areas of law. It had passed the Senate, but was never brought up for a vote in the House by Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio.

Republicans Fear Squelch of Religious Freedom

By amending the Civil Rights Act, some are afraid that you will weaken the Act itself. Conservatives would rather have the First Amendment Defense Act that would bar the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person.  If, for example, that person is opposed to same-sex marriage, she would be protected.  This would include for-profit corporations acting in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The Equality Act would settle some of the debates presented by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Indiana, by adding LGBT protections in public accommodations.  It would also clarify that the federal RFRA can’t be used as a defense for discrimination.

End Results

If the Equality Act goes through, fewer bakery doors will be slammed in the faces of same-sex couples and straight parents may rest a whole lot easier.






Sunday, July 19, 2015

What Your Gay/Lesbian Child Wants To Hear From You


When Your Child Is Gay

For parents, having your child reveal that he/she is gay can be a jolt.  While some may have an easier time accepting the revelation that their child is gay, all parents can take certain steps to ensure they handle the news that convey they love their child, unconditionally.

Offer Acceptance

Make sure your child knows he or she is loved.

First, try to separate your immediate reaction from your love for your child.
Remember that your kid may be nervous about what he has told you and may be afraid that he will be abandoned.
Do not be judgmental.  This is a supreme compliment that your child has revealed his sexual orientation to you.
You are the parent.  Put your child first.
Just Listen without interrupting.

What to Say

Say “I love you no matter what, and I am still your parent”
It’s o.k. to say you’re worried, but also say you can adjust. Ask for his/her patience. Remind your child that you will learn to accept his/her sexuality. Tell him that it isn’t your feelings for him/her that you are questioning, it is understanding about his/her sexuality.
Remember that this is a process.  Don’t expect that one conversation will resolve everything. Keep the dialogue going.
Ask your child to help you learn more about homosexuality.  This is one area where he knows more than you. Educate yourself on what it means to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Family Resources

Excellent Resource is PFLAG (Parents for Lesbians and Gays), a national umbrella of parent organizations. These are seasoned parents who are helping other parents who are going through it all.
American Psychological Association can provide recommendations for books and therapists for consultation.
Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State has support materials for parents that are downloadable.