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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

From Fox News:

Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.


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rom Safe Schools Coalition of Washington

Dear Safe Schools members and friends ...

Below is the speech which Leslie Powell Sadasivan did not get to give at the Millenium March due to time constraints:

3 Minute Millennium March Speech

I am a suburban mother from Ohio who anticipated the highlight of the year 2000 would be my son, Robbie's, high school graduation.

But Robbie Kirkland will only be represented as part of the Class of 2000 on a memoriam page in his yearbook. At the end of Xmas break in 1997, Robbie chose to end his life rather than return to the homophobic and hateful environment of his school.

He was a gentle, sensitive, and loving boy. Our family loved, supported, and accepted him but could not protect him from the harassment of his classmates or the rejection he felt from our homophobic society and the Catholic Church.

The years of homophobic harassment from his classmates left Robbie feeling worthless, humiliated, isolated, and frightened. He internalized the homophobia he encountered and hated himself because he was gay.

Sadly, there are too many stories like Robbie's. Everyday in schools across our country, children are assaulted with words such as faggot, queer, and dyke. They are often pushed, tripped, punched--made to feel ashamed of who they are. I truly believe this type of harassment is the precursor to hate crimes that occur in our society.

The lack of legal protection for gays only encourages and reinforces hatred and homophobia. It gives some a license to discriminate, harm, and even kill. It is no surprise that statistics show sexual minority youth have an increased risk for depression, suicide, drug abuse, dropping out of school, and running away. Think back to your own pain when you were young and experienced or witnessed homophobia. Do not dismiss these memories as an unfortunate aspect of being gay but as a problem that we need to actively eliminate.

There are many things that we can do to reach out and make a difference for gay youth.

One simple, yet valuable action you can take is to write your schools and tell them about your experiences as a gay youth. Describe the homophobic teasing and harassment that you witnessed or were a victim of. Ask schools to have teachers undergo mandatory training in gay sensitivity and awareness.

GLBT youth need to see themselves in the curriculum. Therefore, insist that schools include glbt figures in the curriculums. Demand that schools form and support gay straight student alliances. Schools should have sexual orientation added to their harassment and discrimination policies for both
students and teachers.

Schools must stress acceptance, tolerance, and respect for all, regardless of perceived or visible differences. Student diversity programs must begin in the early school years to effectively combat prejudice.

It is important to support legislation that gives sexual minorities equal rights and protection against harassment and hate crimes.

Organizations such as PFLAG, GLSEN, Human Rights Campaign, GLBT Community Centers, and GSAs are valuable assets and must be supported. Their websites offer valuable information and guidance.

I would like to share with you part of a poem that Robbie wrote, his words reflect the pain, rejection, & hopelessness he experienced and which many glbt youth continue to experience.

"I'm Dying and No One Cares"
I try to stand and walk
I fall to the hard cold ground.
It feels as if to life I'm no longer bound.
The others look and laugh at my plight.
Blood pours from my nose, I am not a pretty sight.
I try to stand again but fall
To the others I call
But they don't care
The pain is unbearable
The world is not fair
I'm lost and cold
I wish someone would lend a hand to hold
My tears mix with my blood
The end of my life, it nears
I'm dying and no one cares

I encourage you to be that hand to hold for our youth, reaching out and guiding them into a millennium free of hatred and inequality.


Thank you. God bless you.

Leslie Powell Sadasivan, the mother of Robbie Kirkland who committed suicide at age 14, has a website dedicated to Robbie's memory:
http://www.lgcsc.org/robkirkland/index.htm

To read the stories of lots of other young people (and a few educators) who, like Robbie, have been verbally or physically or sexually assaulted at school, read the "They Don't Even Know Me" report from the Safe Schools Coalition of Washington: http://www.safeschools-wa.org/ss5contents.html (see the "Incidents" section).

This message has been distributed as a free informational service for the expressed interest of non-profit research and educational purposes only.

"The Actual or Perceived GLBT Student Protection Project"

A project of:
Coalition for Safer Schools of New York State

John Myers
Director of Operations and Programs
PO Box 2345
Malta, NY 12020
(518) 587-0176
Email: saratogany@aol.com

PRIMER WEBSITES
www.glsen.org
www.lambdalegal.org
www.safeschools-wa.org
www.youth.org/loco/PERSONProject/

Scouting For All is not an alternative scouting program.
We are an education and advocacy organization reaching out to gay and nontheist youth and adults in our effort to get the Boy Scouts of America to rescind its exlusionary policy.

Any communications sent to Scouting for All or any Scouting for All representative may be published on the Scouting for All web site or in Scouting for All materials unless the communication specifically requests that it not be published.

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