It Does Get Better
For the 25th year in a row, New York is set to be the subject of a naval invasion this month, when Fleet Week hits town, from May 23-30. The arrival of thousands of sailors on our shore has always been filled with secret gay sexy times and lots occasionally adorable missed connections. But with the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, one has to wonder: is this year going to be the gayest Fleet Week ever? Because it is already shaping up to be a doozy.
Though the sailors don't come in for weeks, we're already getting press releases from local businesses pushing a gay angle on the event. Meatpacking District oasis La Bottega, for instance will be offering a "Do Ask, Please Tell" cocktail (a "refreshing cocktail is bound to please both sailors and civilians alike!" made with Stoli Peach, Amaretto, OJ and lime juice topped with a maraschino cherry) and its hotel sibling the Maritime will have cheap rooms for active duty sailors. Not to mention the less "obviously" gay events already on the books. Like a screening of Top Gun aboard the Intrepid on May 25. We all know what they say about Top Gun, right?
Also coming to the Intrepid that day? Oh, just some cast members from current Broadway shows like Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Mamma Mia.
So, yeah. Considering the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell and New York's acceptance of marriage equality this year's Fleet Week could be very interesting for those looking to bed a seaman.
Iowa paper’s front page devoted to editorial on bullying
In a rare and forceful act of advocacy, an Iowa newspaper devoted the entire front page of yesterday’s edition to an anti-bullying editorial after a gay teen committed suicide.
Relatives have said 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. suffered intense harassment, including threatening cellphone calls and nasty comments posted online, after coming out to family and friends about a month ago. He died April 15 from what the local sheriff’s office described only as a “self-inflicted injury.”
The Sioux City Journal’s front-page opinion piece calls on the community to be pro-active in stopping bullying and urges members to learn more about the problem by seeing the acclaimed new film Bully, which documents the harassment of a Sioux City middle-school student. It notes that while many students are targeted for being gay, “we have learned a bully needs no reason to strike.”< /p>
“We saw it happen in other communities, now it has hit home,” the editorial said. “Undoubtedly, it wasn’t the first life lost to bullying here, but we can strive to make it the last.”
Editor Mitch Pugh said the newspaper has run front-page editorials before but has never devoted the entire page to one.
“A lot of newspapers shy away from putting editorials on the front page, but we feel we have to be a strong advocate for our community,” he said.
Weishuhn’s mother, Jeannie Chambers, told the Journal last week that she and the rest of the family knew he was being harassed but didn’t realize to what extent. His sister told a local TV station that the freshman had many friends and was popular at South O’Brien High School in Paullina until he came out. Then students turned on him.
Uplifting message: 'It Gets Better'
The "It Gets Better" project was created by syndicated columnist Dan Savage in September 2010 in reaction to a series of disturbing incidents in which bullied gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teens had taken their own lives.
The message, filmed by Savage and his partner, Terry Miller, was meant to reassure those going through a rough time that although things were bad, they would improve. Savage and Miller posted the message on YouTube, and soon a movement was born.
Since then more than 30,000 people, some of them celebrities but others simply regular Joes and Janes who found a way to cope during a difficult time, have added their own testimonies encouraging kids not to give up.
Those messages will be highlighted in a special called "It Gets Better," airing tonight at 11 p.m. on both MTV and Logo, both owned by Viacom.
The special will focus on three people dealing with crossroads in their lives: a boy struggling to come out; a lesbian who wants her parents to accept her; and a transgender man getting married.
Their stories will be interspersed with clips from celebrity "It Gets Better" videos from the likes of Adam Levine, Zachary Quinto, Margaret Cho and Chaz Bono, among others.
Though the special focuses on the struggles of gay teens, it relates a message of positivity and caring that just about any person can relate to, and that could help draw in viewers.
MTV averaged 592,000 total viewers in total-day during January, according to Nielsen, while Logo drew 34,000.
Survey: 41% of Transgender People Attempted Suicide
A survey conducted by the Endocrine Division at Children's Hospital Boston found that young people who can't reconcile their gender identity with their physical bodies had high rates of psychiatric complications, especially if aren't guided by health professionals. The Children's Hospital study looked at 97 patients and found 20% self-harmed, while 37% were on psychiatric medications.
A 2010 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that 41% of transgender people attempted suicide at one time.
Researchers believe that discrimination is not the only reason for the prevalence of mental problems, but insurance coverage that rarely covers hormones or transgender procedures, as well as the disconnect between gender identity and the physical self, play a part. Many researchers recommend hormone blockers and professional treatment for young transgender people.