Category: bullying

Steve Grand Slammed; Ben Cohen Strips for Gays

Steve Grand Slammed

Last summer when country/pop singer, Steve Grand, released  a music video I posted about him here. At the time he was so fresh there wasn’t much I could find about him anywhere. But the one thing that did stand out about his song was the fact that it was all about a young gay man falling in love with a straight men, and how the young gay man winds up with a broken heart.

With the blog hop for equal rights this weekend I thought it would be appropriate to post something about gay country music star, Steve Grand, because he’s making history, promoting equal rights, and breaking the stereotypes at the same time. I saw one post earlier today that linked to a Steve Grand post with a less than thrilling comment thread…pure garbage and filled with the kind of snark I don’t tolerate anymore.

Since I wrote that post, Grand has continued to make history and break stereotypes, which isn’t easy to do if you are gay because the same old sterotypes that have been following gay men around forever don’t seem to go away. And even worse, people who claim to support gay men often seem to be the same people who crave those sterotypes. Because Steve Grand didn’t just get heat from the comment thread I mentioned in the excerpt from the post above. He also got slammed for writing a song where a young gay man falls in love with a young straight man. Some seem to think Grand should have made the gay man fall in love with another gay man.

Here’s a quote where Steve Grand responded to all this:

‘Because this was my experience growing up. Many times,’ Grand says. ‘I grew up in a predominantly heterosexual world. Most of the crushes I had were straight men. Gay men were not visible. I wanted to tell a story that had been burning inside me.’

‘It’s a universal human story – unrequited love. Gay or straight, we’ve all been there. When I started writing music, I was always writing about that. I was always crushing on someone I couldn’t be with.’

I’d like to know what’s so difficult to understand about that? Grand isn’t writing an m/m romance. He’s writing about his own life experience and it’s coming from his heart, from his experience as a gay man. This isn’t fantasy with HEA. This is reality. And because most gay men…me included…grew up in heteronormative worlds, our first crushes were directed toward straight men. And I think the most important thing to understand here is that Steve Grand, as the gay man, gets the last word about what it’s like to be gay growing up in a straight world.

If all gay men had a normal puberty and they dated other gay men as YAs, I wouldn’t even be writing this post. But the fact remains that gay men don’t get a puberty like straight men and they usually wind up in impossible situations where unrequited love is inevitable.

You can read more here. The piece goes into more detail about what Steve Grand was like growing up.

Ben Cohen Strips for Gays

Speaking of breaking stereotypes and unrequited love, British rugby player and gay activist, Ben Cohen, is coming out with a new calendar where all proceeds will benefit his foundation that focuses on stopping homophobia and bullying in schools. And according the photos on this web site to which I’m linking, he’s going to raise a great deal of money and awareness. There’s a video, too.

This time he has invited us for a sneak peak into the shower and the locker room for a behind-the-scenes look.
Although Cohen is the perfect example of so many gay male fantasies, he is straight and he’s comfortable with his status as a gay icon, so to speak. This also makes sense to me. He’s a man. Gay men like men. And guess what, gay men like showers and locker rooms. I probably shouldn’t have let that secret out of the proverbial bag, but there you are.
Cohen created The Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation to Stop Homophobia and Bullying. You can check out the foundation’s web site here. It’s really a steller web site and I highly suggest looking at it.
In this article he talks about being on the reality TV show, Strictly Come Dancing, and states that he would be open to dancing with a man on TV. The reason I find that interesting is because I often watch the US show, Dancing with the Stars, and I always wonder why there are never two male contestants dancing in the competition. Too much for liberal left wing Hollywood to handle?
In any event, Cohen said this, in public: 
“I’ve no qualms dancing with a woman or a man,” Cohen is quoted by the Mirror as saying. “Kristina [Rihanoff] will be easier to pick up though.”

I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance.

Shower image above can be found here.  The copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other use is permitted.

Tyler Clementi: Dharun Ravi Gets 30 Days in Jail

I posted about what happened to Tyler Clementi here.

And this is what transpired today:

Dharun Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail as part of a probationary sentence today for spying on his college roommate with a webcam and writing about what he saw on Twitter.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman could have given the ex-Rutgers University student up to 10 years for the most serious charges related to the cyber-bullying of his gay roommate Tyler Clementi in September 2010. He was ordered to report to Middlesex County Jail on May 31.

What surprises me about Judge Berman’s sentence is the significance of this case in setting a precedent for future cases, especially with respect to online bullying. In other words, will the bullying continue now that the bullies know they won’t get a stiff sentence?

I can’t help thinking that Martha Stewart got a tougher sentence for doing far less.

And this surprises me the most:

“I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity,” Berman said.

There are plenty of other insensitive people out there. I hate to think about the message this sentence sends to them.

Do I believe he should have received the full 10 years? No.

But I do think the sentence should have been strong enough to deter others from doing what he did.

And, for the record, this isn’t just a gay issue. This kind of bullying is across the board on a much broader scale. I have seen people online bully others to the point of psychological melt downs, on twitter and other social media.

I can’t help but wonder if Judge Berman “gets” the magnitude of what happens online nowadays, and how social media like twitter can affect people.

Must Read: A VERY Different Approach to Bullying I’m Not Sure I Like…

(Update: While I may or may not agree completely with the post to which I linked, I do respect the blogger’s opinion and her right to do as she sees fit.)

To be perfectly honest, I’m not certain I fully agree with the blog post to which I’m linking below. It’s about bullying, and how this blogger thinks it’s time to react differently. The reason I’m talking about this now is because I’ve done a lot of posts on bullying and I’ve been in touch with a lot of younger LGBT people who have been bullied.

“In our town we had a recent tragedy in which a young life was lost. Due to the child’s age, details have not been released but there are rumors that bullying may have played a part.”

The first reason I’m not sure about this approach is that the entire post to which I’m linking is based on hearsay, admittedly, by the author of the post. When it comes to something as important as this, I need solid facts, not misinformed allegations.

All that aside, I do agree, in theory, that we should teach our kids to speak up and never allow anyone to bully them. I was never bullied because I did, in fact, speak up…as a kid and an adult. But I’m also sensitive enough to know that not all kids have the capacity to speak up this way. Not to mention that some might also argue the approach to which I’m linking sends kids mixed signals about the difference between right and wrong. In other words, if you’re an adult driving down the highway and another adult starts to bully you with road rage (we’ve all been there), do you shout “Fuck you, you miscreant,” or do you get his/her license plate number and report him/her to the police. As a responsible adult you would take down his/her tag and a description of his/her car and report him/her to the police. As an irresponsible adult you’d pull over, scream right back in his/her face, call him/her a fucking miscreant, and then you’d become an integral part of an already explosive situation that’s doomed…not the smartest thing to do.

I also know, from first hand experience with one particular nephew in middle school, that many schools nowadays have a zero tolerance policy with regard to anything that’s considered offensive. This goes for the bully and for the kid being bullied. And I’m not sure shouting “Fuck you, you miscreant,” would work well at his school. My nephew would not only wind up being bullied even more later, but he’d also become “classified” as a trouble maker in his school…”that kid with the bad mouth who shouts Fuck you, you miscreant”…and once a kid is classified that way, officially or unofficially, he or she will always be regarded this way. Schools these days, at least here in the east coast where I live, are dealing with major issues now. They don’t need more problems.

So while an aggressive approach to bullying is sometimes the best approach, being smarter than the bully, and knowing that you are smarter than the bully, and reporting the incident and the bully to the right people is the smarter way to go. Knowing the meaning of big words like “miscreant” doesn’t make you smart. It just makes you knowledgeable. Because all it takes is just one nutty bully, and in this world there are plenty of them out there, to hear “Fuck you, you miscreant,” and that bully might not back down the first time.

Here’s a link to the blog post, titled, “Fuck You, You Miscreant,” where you can form your own opinion.

And, for those of us who don’t know, which I would imagine is most of us, including most school teachers, (I have over 80 published works out and I’ve never used this word in the sentence before), here’s the meaning of miscreant:


Noun: A person who behaves badly or in a way that breaks the law.

Adjective:(of a person) Behaving badly or breaking a law.

Synonyms: noun. villain – scoundrel – blackguard – rascal – rogue – knave

adjective. mean – vile – base

Alleged Sandusky Victim Quit School Because of Bullies

This, indeed, is outrageous. One of the abuse victims of the alleged Jerry Sandusky scandal had to leave school due to bullying inflicted upon him by classmates who were outraged that good old “JoePa” was forced out. Allegedly, the bullies were blaming Joe Paterno’s firing on the victim.

I’ve written about bullying before. This isn’t LGBT bullying. But it’s a good example of how bullies can be found anywhere.

I’ll admit I don’t live nearby the Penn State Campus and I’ve never been affiliated with anything west of Philadelphia. I live in Bucks County, PA, and PA is a large state. In this area we have more of a New York/New Jersey influence. But I can tell you this much. No one where I live in this part of PA is supporting anyone connected with the alleged child abuse. And I find it hard to believe that anyone, anywhere, would care more about an old man’s football career than they care about victms of child abuse.

There’s something seriously wrong if even a small group of people out there in State College feel this way.

Bullying, Crisis, Questioning?…This Might Help

Someone commented on a blog post I read yesterday about how it might help to let young LGBTQ people in crisis know there are good books out there that might help them. And I think it’s a good idea for young people who are in crisis about their identities, too. In the LGBTQ world there’s a lot of frustration during the teen and early twenty years and there’s never an easy answer.

But there are people who have been writing about their own experiences, and some have been writing good books with the intention of helping people who are in crisis. And I don’t believe everyone is cut out to call helplines or seek help out in an aggressive way. Some people are more introspective and they prefer to seek help in quiet ways.

I have one editorial client left. His name is Curt von Dornheim and he’s written many non-fiction books that I think can be very helpful to people who are either going through a crisis or coming out of one. Although his books aren’t strictly LGBTQ, he is very familiar with the LGBTQ community and he’s worked with everything from AIDS patients to school children. I know his books are good because I edited them. I had nothing to do with the e-book releases because I know nothing about that. I’m not promoting his books because I’m receiving any compensation.

I’m doing it because I think it might help. And I would recommend his books highly to anyone who is in doubt or is questioning something in their life. They aren’t religious books; they aren’t exactly self-help. They aren’t too spiritual and they aren’t too complicated. But they do make you feel really good. And that’s the best way I can explain it.

He’s like Norman Vincent Peale for today’s way of thinking…without the religious overtones. Every page has something positive. I like his books so much I even left a review for one on amazon, and that’s not something I do often.

Here’s a list of his e-books that have just been released:

Don’t Take Your Treasures With You

Crystallizing Creative Consciousness

Help For Teen Bullying…Teen Victim Project

Update: I was informed the helpline on this site it no longer working due to loss of funding. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other places.

Please see below or visit our Web site for resources and links to other
victim assistance:

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Helpful Contacts:

Office for Victims of Crime, Directory of Crime Victim Services: [links to crime victim services
across the country]

National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards: [links to every state’s compensation program]

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7223 or 1-800-787-3224
(TTY) or

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 or 1-866-331-8453
(TTY) or

Sacred Circle: National Resource Center to End Violence against
Native Women: 1-877-733-7623 or

Women’s Law: [Information on orders of

Stalking Resource Center: [website only]

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 [24/7 hotline] or [online hotline]

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs – National Advocacy for
Local LGBT Communities: 1-212-714-1141 or
[links to local programs]

The Trevor Project – Crisis & Suicide Prevention Lifeline for LGBTQ
Youth: 1-866-488-7386 or

Identity Theft Resource Center: 1-888-400-5530 or

Internet Crime Complaint Center:

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453 or

National Center on Elder Abuse: 1-800-677-1116 or

Parents of Murdered Children: 1-888-818-7662 or

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving): 1-800-438-6233 or

National Runaway Switchboard: 1-800-786-2929 or

National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264 or

Overseas Citizens Services: 1-888-407-4747 or 1-202-501-4444 (from

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

I found this web site and I really liked what they had to say. It’s called Teen Victim Project and there’s a ton of information.

There are also e-mail addresses and phone numbers for those who are experiencing bullying or harassment.

Here’s the link.

Here’s part of the web site copy:

Bullying is when one person hurts or threatens someone else physically, verbally, or in writing. The bully may choose a victim who is smaller or younger than they are, or who is from a different race or culture, or they may pick on someone who is different in some other way. The bullying might happen once or over and over again. Bullying can include pushing, shoving, kicking, hitting, teasing, or writing mean or threatening notes.

Jamey Rodemeyer’s Bullies Still At It…

I’ve been reading that the little fuckers who allegedly bullied Jamey Rodemeyer are still at it. I’ve received personal messages and e-mails from people who’ve read more than I have and I find it hard to believe the audacity these bullies have…and now I’m talking about all bullies across the board.

I’d like to see them try these bully tactics on the wrong person…someone like me. I was never bullied. When it looked like I was about to be bullied it only took one look from me and they backed off. I wish I could say hope and change and love will make it all better. But I personally think a good hard kick in the ass works a lot better. At least that’s what kept me from being bullied.

But everyone’s different, and some people are more sensitive than others. And looking the other way might work better for them than fighting back. It can also be dangerous to fight back, so I’m not advocating it. There are no easy answers, because there always have been bullies and there always will be bullies. I remember the bullies when I was in school and how they tortured certain people. When I see them pop up occasionally on facebook I take great satisfaction in seeing how they wound up: not well, trust me.

I know when we say it gets better it sounds like a cliche by now, and I understand how futile it can be to imagine it will get better when you’re in the middle of being bullied. Lady Gaga said she’d talk to the President about bullying and so far I’ve heard nothing from either of them. The President is off on his excellent adventure traveling the country by bus and who knows where Lady Gaga is. And we all know there’s nothing coming from the other side of the political spectrum from that dismal list of Republican Presidential hopefuls.

But I do know a lot of people without titles and high profile positions who are working hard to do something about the bullying problem. At the very least, there are places to go on the Internet and people to contact if you’re being bullied. My friend Ryan just posted about it. You can do this anonymously in most cases. You can let it all out and no one will judge you. So if you are being bullied, at least contact someone about it before you do anything drastic. It might not solve the problem instantly, but you will feel better.

Another Sad Bullying Story…

This is almost too painful to read. But being that I’ve been posting about bullying so often these days, I had to post this, too. Here’s the link.

Mitchell Wilson Suicide: Disabled Boy’s Death Raises Bullying Concerns
The Huffington Post Canada Ron Nurwisah First Posted: 9/29/11 12:47 PM ET Updated: 9/29/11 07:18 PM ET

The death of an 11-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy months after his assault by a bully has shined a spotlight on bullying in Canada’s schools.

Muscular dystrophy left Mitchell Wilson struggling to do simple things like walking around the block or climbing stairs. He also had to use a walker at school. Doctors had urged him to exercise regularly to stave off the disease’s effects, something that was growing increasingly difficult for the boy.

Wilson was mugged last November by a 12-year-old boy from his school. The assailant was after the iPhone Wilson borrowed from his dad. The bully was arrested and removed from the Pickering, Ont. school they both attended.

“He was never the same,” said Craig Wilson to the Toronto Star, the boy’s father and the one who found the boy’s body in his room with a plastic bag tied around his head earlier this month.

Things didn’t get any better for the young Mitchell as the court date loomed. And the bullying didn’t stop.

“Subsequent to the beating that he took, he just lost that spark you see in a kid’s eye. He had huge anxiety attacks about going outside and going for his walks and going to school by himself,” Craig Wilson told CTV’s Canada AM.

“At the cottage in July, he said, ‘If I have to go back to that school, I’ll kill myself,’” the boy’s grandmother, Pam Wilson, told the National Post.

“He was very afraid, very fearful that he was going to run into this kid again,” Mitchell’s father told the CBC.

Wilson’s death has raised fears that justice will not be served. The Crown initially feared that their case would have to be dropped because Wilson was unable to testify against his accused. But now the Crown has sought to delay a case while they prepare a written affidavit of a statement the boy made before his death. The case is now set for Nov. 21.

The alleged assailant cannot be identified due to his age but the Wilson family hopes that the alleged bully can atone for his crimes.

“He’s a lost kid. He hasn’t been loved, hasn’t been cared for. We don’t want to be a lynch squad. We want him to do community work with disabled people. All we are trying to do is help this kid understand that his life is going to be zip if he keeps on the road he is on,” Mitchell’s grandmother told the National Post.

Wilson’s father hopes that his son’s death can save some lives in the long run. “I can’t do anything for my child anymore,” he said to the Toronto Sun. “So let’s hopefully save some other people’s children so they don’t have to go through this mess.”

Are you in crisis? Need help? Find links and numbers to 24-hour suicide crisis lines in your province here.

In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or visit

Tyler Clementi and Roommate: The Advocate

In case you haven’t been following this story like I have, here are a few more details about Tyler Clementi and the events that led to his death. Evidently, there’s a lot that remains to be seen about this case.

Here’s the link:

Tensions Documented Between Clementi and Roommate
By Julie Bolcer

Court documents released in recent weeks show a tense relationship between Tyler Clementi and Rutgers roommate Dharun Ravi marked by wariness about each other’s sexual orientation and race.

The Associated Press reports on the documents ahead of a Friday court hearing for Ravi, who stands accused of charges including a hate crime and invasion of privacy for using a webcam to spy on Clementi’s intimate encounter with another man. Clementi, a freshman, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge last year and became a symbol of the tragedy of antigay bullying.

According to the AP, “The court papers show modern intrigue spelled out in texts and tweets, many jokey, some confessional. Along with computer records are interview transcripts that could become the heart of the evidence if the case goes to trial. The tension between the roommates began before the campus move in date of Aug. 28, 2010.”

The communications show that Clementi found Ravi to be “soo Indian/first gen Americanish,” and thought it “awkward” that his roommate changed his pants in the closet. He also noticed that his roommate pointed a webcam at his bed.

Ravi frequently discussed and joked about his roommate’s sexual orientation with friends including Molly Wei, who lived across the hall. The two and others viewed Clementi’s encounter with the unidentified man from her room, and Ravi discussed what they saw on Twitter, which prompted Clementi to complain to a resident assistant shortly before he took his own life.

Ravi sent a long text message to Clementi after he posted his suicide threat on Facebook, but it remains unclear whether Clementi ever read the note in which Ravi said he had “no problem” with him being gay.

Lawyers for Ravi on Friday will seek to have the indictment dismissed and compel prosecutors to reveal the identity of the man in the intimate encounter with Clementi. Prosecutors argue that he is the victim of a sex crime and can remain unknown.