Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spirit Day

"We are each an army of one.
March forward with your army,
never let go of your future
and never listen to idiots who tell you 'no.'"


Designer T. Rains and Johnny are announcing
on this Spirit Day that they have teamed up
to raise money and awareness
for The Trevor Project!
This organization is "determined to end
suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing
life-saving and life-affirming resources
including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention
lifeline, digital community and advocacy /
educational programs that create a safe, supportive
and positive environment for everyone."
Proceeds from the "Army of One" t-shirt sales
will go to The Trevor Project foundation.
Order yours today!
Your support is greatly appreciated!
For more information, please visit
www.thetrevorproject.org.



In remembrance of the six teen boys who have committed suicide in recent weeks--and of all others who came to that decision of utter desperation through bullying of any kind that simply became unendurable--I am standing up and going purple for today, October 20, Spirit Day.

You can find out more about Spirit Day from GLAAD, which notes that the idea originated with teenager Brittany McMillan, was inspired by high schools' "Spirit Week," and can be summed up in three words: Everyone Rally Together.

"Spirit Day honors the teenagers who have taken their own lives in recent weeks," says GLAAD. "But just as importantly, it's also a way to show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth who face the same pressures and bullying that there is a vast community of people who support them."

GLAAD notes that "purple symbolizes 'spirit' on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978."

So I am purple with love, compassion, and pride today. 

I'm also a tiny bit purple with rage.

I cannot fathom what drives people to bully other human beings. It's a mindset that I absolutely cannot comprehend. The complete lack of empathy for another, the delight in inflicting pain, the utter disregard for consequences and the lack of any sense of accountability (the roommate whose secret video-streaming of Tyler Clementi drove Clementi to jump off the George Washington Bridge is now complaining that he's a victim)--this combination of factors makes me furious.

Sorry, I don't have any sympathy for bullies. I don't care about finding excuses for them, about explaining their actions away with, "Well, obviously they've been hurt themselves..." That doesn't cut it for me. There is no explanation, no excuse for what goes on all over the country. Bullies choose to do what they do. And they--just like anyone else--could choose not to. But they don't.

Did we learn nothing from Matthew Shepard?

This has to stop. Where are the adults? Where are the parents? Who is raising these people to think that such attitudes and behaviors are in any way acceptable? Somebody's doing it, because children are not bullies at birth. Someone along the way has taught them that this is an OK thing to do.

I find this appalling. 

Oh wait. Some of the bullying is actually perpetrated by adults.

Dear God.

Equally appalling is the incredible sense of isolation and despair that envelops young people  and drives them to suicide. And I believe that the feeling of being completely alone is even more profound for young LGBT people, who face unique pressures in a society that is still floundering badly in coming to terms with the idea that sexual orientation might have just a teeny bit of variation across the population.

We must get the message out there to our LGBT youth that there is hope and help. The It Gets Better Project, founded by Seattle columnist Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, is one resource that aims to do just that. And it has exploded across the Internet with hundreds of videos of encouragement and support.

Another is the Trevor Project, an organization founded "to promote acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, and to aid in crisis and suicide prevention among that group."

Their mission statement: "The Trevor Project is determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy / educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone."
 
Yes. Please. Let's all work together to create an environment in which we celebrate our differences rather than feel threatened by them, and in which we embrace that which unites us: Our humanity.
 
We're all human beings here, strong in our diversity, beautiful in the rainbow that is humankind. There are far more similarities among us than differences.

We all want to feel accepted.

Respected.

Safe.
 
And we all want to love. And be loved.
 
So may the fruit of this Spirit Day be just that: Love. Also joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
 
In an interview over the weekend, Johnny--a survivor of bullying himself--offered these urgent, powerful, and life-affirming words:
 
"Suicide is never the answer.
If you want to send a message, live.
And live the way that you want to live.
And let that be
your statement to the world.
You have to be strong. ...
I’m the same as you.
Let me live. Let me be special.
Let me be unique.
And I’ll let you."  

... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control ...
-- Galatians 5:22

copyright 2010 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved

12 comments:

germansoulmate said...

I participate... even here in Germany.

Great blog. Thank you.

WheresMyKoppy said...

Wonderful blog, MM! Very well done, very well written, very heartfelt! Thank you for writing this!

germansoulmate said...

"Army of one"

OMG, OMG...I´m so happy about that announcment, and just what I expect from Johnny.
Now, how do I get one or two shirts over here.

bsontwit said...

First of all, Johnny looks damn good in that Army of One shirt!!

very emotional topic here - bullying - and I totally agree here as a Mom-adults NEED to intervene and stay something when they see kids (or other adults) exhibiting this behavior, because we can! It doesnt always work but especially with the younger kids, teachers and parents need to be aware and make sure they stop ANY behavior that can be seen this way. Bullying can destroy a person, it need to stop! #armyofone

Beth - twitter bsontwit

PumaJ said...

Thank you, Binks:-) And, thank you, Johnny!:-)

aaaack said...

Great blog, great project, great shirt.

jenn said...

Aaaaaannnnnnddddd just when I think I can't possibly love him more…

wendys said...

Ordered my shirt!! Such an excellent reason to buy more clothing!

I think organizations like It Gets Better and The Trevor Project help ALL of us, not only LGBTQ youth. Anything that reminds us humans to be more compassionate with each other is a wonderful thing. Kindness can absolutely become a habit.

Love The Trevor Project, and love Johnny!!

xoxo

WheresMyKoppy said...

Thanks for the update, and this is quite a stand Johnny is taking! Wonderful! Good for him!

My favorite TV show is 'Criminal Minds', and the reason I mention that is because Spencer REid is my favorite character. This is important because, though the character is not gay, he was terribly bullied during his childhood, and it's one of the things that shapes his character on the show. If he was a real person instead of a character he could definitely related.

I was picked on a little myself, but I wouldn't say I was bullied. LGBT young people have one of the extra burdens to deal with already most of us don't have, and add bullying to the mix, well...

All I can say is thank God Johnny Weir had the wonderful family and support system that he had as a child and still has, because he still gets bullied.

I'm ordering a tee shirt as well! Thank you Johnny, thank you Traver and thank you MM!

Mimsie said...

For anyone who has ever felt different in any way this is your day! Keep the faith! It may not always be easy, but you have to always be YOU!
Thank You Johnny Weir and Binky for spreading the message! Much LOVE LOVE, Always LOVE LOVE

Princess Johnny-Love ♥ said...

yay! woke up, read your blog and ran to my computer to buy a shirt before they sold out! go, Johnny! ♥

this is my fave part of today's blog:

"I'm also a tiny bit purple with rage."

cause if we don't start standing up and saying that this is not right, it's gonna keep going on.

Robin

p.s. he looks beauteous in that pic!

akiko said...

Thank you Binky for your heartfelt blog and letting me know about and participate in the Spirit Day and the Trevor Project. Johnny stands up and speaks for and to the young people (not excluding him) who are suffering, with innumerable armies in purple following him--nothing would be greater help for them.

And I hope them to experience something really special, something unearthly wonderful, something that makes them feel that their lives are blessed and worth living, and makes them wish to live on to experience it even only once again--something like, say, for me, Johnny's FALLEN ANGEL in Vancouver and his performances in Fukui. I also hope those who bully will have such an experience, too. Something that makes them feel their lives are also blessed and given to them to love something and/or someone, not to hate others.