Thursday, March 15, 2012

Supporting Diversity Role Models

This is getting good.  Lately, there's been more "good news" stories to write about than the heavy alternate.  I like that.

In the U.K., there's an organization called Diversity Role Models.  Their mission is to do just that:  provide role models for LGBT teens in an effort to help combat bullying and avoid attempted suicides. 

The movement is growing worldwide!!  I wrote earlier about the Monster March Against Bullying that's set to occur here in the U.S. in October.  And, there's more coming all the time.  Power in numbers.  Our numbers are growing worldwide, and this is a prime example.

From June 29th through July 20th, Andrew Makin will bike through England, Wales, and Scotland - over 700 miles!! - to raise money for Diversity Role Models.  It's a cause everyone can get behind. 
"Why Does It Matter?":
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people are three times more likely to attempt suicide. Two thirds of them suffer bullying at school. They often don't have an adult to talk to at home or at school. We all know bullied students can't focus on learning and achievement.

But it's not just LGB and T young people. Straight students are terrified of being called 'gay'. Girls drop out of sport and boys hide artistic talent to conform to gender roles and avoid being labelled gay or lesbian.

And what about the young people who have LGB or T family members? Do they feel safe talking about their loved ones openly?

This issue affects ALL young people. Someone needs to talk to them about diversity; it's a difficult topic. We accept this challenge.

Says Diversity Role Models:
Not only does Diversity Role Models help the young, it is changing the standing of all LGBT people for the better. By educating schoolchildren, and challenging the remnants of homophobia in popular culture, it breaks down barriers by showing LGBT individuals as real people.
We are all too familiar with the effects of homophobic bullying as it pertains to LGBT teens.  We are, sadly, also too familiar with the reality that "the other side" still doesn't get it and is more than willing to turn a blind eye or sweep it under the carpet.  Therefore, it is completely up to us, the LGBT community - both young and old - to take matter into our own hands and protect, and nurture, our LGBT teens. 

Andrew Makin is doing his fair share in June.  We can all be a part of it, though, from wherever we are in the world.  We can learn more about Diversity Role Models on their webpage; and, we can donate to his fundraiser page for this summer's bike ride across the U.K.

There are a lot of great causes out there today; however, being involved in turning the tide on homophobic bullying of LGBT teens, and homophobia in general!, and attacking the LGBT teen suicide rate ranks right at the top of the list for me.