Eradicating LGBT bullying and educating people about its dangers was a focal point in 2012, starting from the White House.
WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCES
In response to the LGBT memorandum that President Barack Obama released at the close of 2011, President Obama helped create a series of eight White House conferences around the nation, held in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Detroit.
In an effort to inform LGBT advocates, agencies, and the American public about the Obama Administration’s strategies to further health, safety, and justice for the LGBT community.
The conferences centered on health, housing, aging, families, HIV/AIDS, and how to ensure safe schools and communities for the LGBT citizens, citizens who have been the target of hate crimes, discrimination, and bullying. September 18, 2012 marked the first anniversary of Jamey Rodemeyer’s suicide, a 14-year old Williamsville, New York native who took his own life after months of bullying due to his gay sexual orientation.
In March, Arlington, Texas was the venue for the White House’s “Safe Schools and Communities” conference. Designed to combat bullying, hate crimes, and to highlight progress in local communities, politicians, Texas educators, and gay activists were in attendance.
Judy Shepard, mother of gay college student Matthew Shepard, spoke at the conference. In 1998, Matthew was tied to a fenced and beaten to death by two men for being gay.
“You are who you are,” said Shepard, as stated on http://m.dallasvoice.com. “You love who you love. That’s just the way it is.”
OBAMA SUPPORTS GAY MARRIAGE
On May 9, 2012, the LGBT community celebrated as President Obama announced his public support for gay marriage.
New York State started the ball on cyberbullying. In July, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a piece of legislation, in an effort to curtail online bullying. Starting July 1, 2013, school staff will be mandated to contact school administrators within 24 hours and file a written report within 48 hours about incidents of cyberbullying.
Columnist Dan Savage hosted a gay bullying special in October, entitled “It Gets Better,” (IGB) which aired on MTV and the LOGO station. The program examined the lives of three gay individuals and the struggles they face on a daily basis.
Savage and his partner Terry Miller started the IGB project to encourage gay teenagers that things will get better. President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Adam Lambert, and Ellen DeGeneres all contributed videos. Available on You Tube, the IGB project has received millions of hits.
In September, California became the first state to banned gay-to-straight therapies delivered to minors. Designed to “turn” a gay individual’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, the therapy has induced harmful effects, including suicide and self-mutilation.
On Oct. 19, 2012, a New York State Federal Appeals Court struck down theDefense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, favoring Edith Windsor. After losing her lesbian partner, Windsor was denied survivor benefits and asked by the Federal Government to pay approximately $300,000 in 2009.
Do you feel our country has done enough to stop LGBT bullying? Please leave a comment below.