Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stop The Hate/ Stop The Discrimination

Hi there

I am reading of yet another suicide of a gay teen and I’m moved to tears, I’m moved to anger and I’m moved to action..

Melissa Pope, director of the uUniversity of Oakland, Michigan’s Gender and Sexuality Center, said of the recent suicides in the media: “We must look beyond the term “bullying” to the overall treatment of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community to begin to grasp the long-standing epidemic of suicide among our LGBT youth.”

“While the national press has picked up this issue over the last two months, we have been losing high numbers of LGBT youth to suicide for decades. In recent years, we’ve labeled the cause as bullying. But the root cause goes deeper – it goes to the very core of our society that discriminates against the LGBT community on all levels, including the denial of basic human rights that are supposed to belong to every person.”

I can no longer sit by idly and watch as LGBT teens are dying left and right. Yes, we've made videos to hang in there, we've worn purple, we've lit lots and lots of candles. But we must do more. Lives are quite literally at stake.

I am proposing that we start stepping up in our actions to Stop The Hate. We need to stop the hate in the schools by getting the safe schools legislation passed now. We need to stop the hate in educating everyone around us how LGBT people are just as valuable and necessary in this world and global society as everyone else. We need to stop the hate in the laws of the land and write 'sexual orientation and gender identity' into the Civil Rights Act of 1964, thus doing away with the justifications for DADT, DOMA, and disparities in workplace discrimination practices, healthcare practices, adoption, immigration and so much more.

As long as we teach our children that hate and discrimination is okay, they will continue to hate and discriminate. Stop the Hate now! Stop the discrimination now!!

If you are as angry and motivitaed as I am right now, send me an email at and let me know when we can meet, talk over the phone or email to plan actions to put a stop to all this and not let one more life be cut short.

Join with me and Poz Activists Network in actions in the coming weeks and months to Stop the Hate/Stop the Discrimination.

Kelly Rivera Hart

Poz Activists Network

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nothing Better for Coming Out Day- Letter to Mama

Hi there

I can think of nothing better to share than a wonderful and encouraging and touching piece from Armistead Maupin's Tales of The City. This is Michael's Letter To Mama.. Thank you Armistead for sharing of your talent and your heart for such a universal yet personal piece..

Dear Mama,

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to write. Every time I try to write you and Papa I realize I'm not saying the things that are in my heart. That would be OK, if I loved you any less than I do, but you are still my parents and I am still your child.

I have friends who think I'm foolish to write this letter. I hope they're wrong. I hope their doubts are based on parents who love and trust them less than mine do. I hope especially that you'll see this as an act of love on my part, a sign of my continuing need to share my life with you. I wouldn't have written, I guess, if you hadn't told me about your involvement in the Save Our Children campaign. That, more than anything, made it clear that my responsibility was to tell you the truth, that your own child is homosexual, and that I never needed saving from anything except the cruel and ignorant piety of people like Anita Bryant.

I'm sorry, Mama. Not for what I am, but for how you must feel at this moment. I know what that feeling is, for I felt it for most of my life. Revulsion, shame, disbelief -- rejection through fear of something I knew, even as a child, was as basic to my nature as the color of my eyes.

No, Mama, I wasn't "recruited." No seasoned homosexual ever served as my mentor. But you know what? I wish someone had. I wish someone older than me and wiser than the people in Orlando had taken me aside and said, "You're all right, kid. You can grow up to be a doctor or a teacher just like anyone else. You're not crazy or sick or evil. You can succeed and be happy and find peace with friends -- all kinds of friends -- who don't give a damn who you go to bed with. Most of all, though, you can love and be loved, without hating yourself for it."

But no one ever said that to me, Mama. I had to find it out on my own, with the help of the city that has become my home. I know this may be hard for you to believe, but San Francisco is full of men and women, both straight and gay, who don't consider sexuality in measuring the worth of another human being.

These aren't radicals or weirdos, Mama. They are shop clerks and bankers and little old ladies and people who nod and smile to you when you meet them on the bus. Their attitude is neither patronizing nor pitying. And their message is so simple: Yes, you are a person. Yes, I like you. Yes, it's all right for you to like me, too.

I know what you must be thinking now. You're asking yourself: What did we do wrong? How did we let this happen? Which one of us made him that way?

I can't answer that, Mama. In the long run, I guess I really don't care. All I know is this: If you and Papa are responsible for the way I am, then I thank you with all my heart, for it's the light and the joy of my life.

I know I can't tell you what it is to be gay. But I can tell you what it's not.

It's not hiding behind words, Mama. Like family and decency and Christianity. It's not fearing your body, or the pleasures that God made for it. It's not judging your neighbor, except when he's crass or unkind.

Being gay has taught me tolerance, compassion and humility. It has shown me the limitless possibilities of living. It has given me people whose passion and kindness and sensitivity have provided a constant source of strength.

It has brought me into the family of man, Mama, and I like it here. I like it.

There's not much else I can say, except that I'm the same Michael you've always known. You just know me better now. I have never consciously done anything to hurt you. I never will.

Please don't feel you have to answer this right away. It's enough for me to know that I no longer have to lie to the people who taught me to value truth.

Mary Ann sends her love.

Everything is fine at 28 Barbary Lane.

Your loving son,


Friday, October 8, 2010

Die-In Tonight at Grand Central Station

For Immediate Release:
October 8, 2010
Media Contact: Lana Di Bona 718-309-8598
Homophobia Kills Die-In 6 PM Today, Friday, Grand Central Station, New York City
(New York City, 10-8-10) Today at 6 p.m., 400 plus New York City activists will conduct a Flash Mob: Homophobia Kills Die-In at Grand Central Terminal to make the point that homophobia kills and to demand equal civil rights protections immediately.

A banner will read: ‘END HOMO/TRANSPHOBIC APARTHEID in AMERICA’ and direct attention to the website for The American Equality Bill (AEB), a new proposed bill to secure equal civil rights protections and end the 2nd class citizenship of 30 million LGBTQ Americans.

The activists will lie on the floor like corpses amidst the commuters as the names are read of recent suicides and murders, each victims of homophobia in this country.

Though the linkage to apartheid may surprise some, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu has clearly linked homophobia and apartheid, an Afrikaans word for “apartness,” and even labeled homophobia a “crime against humanity,” referring to the most heinous of crimes. (

“This country acts like homophobia is an acceptable moral opinion, when in fact it’s the exact opposite. It violates every fundamental ideal of human rights,” said Todd Fernandez, who holds a Masters of Law in Human Rights from the Center for Human Rights, South Africa.*

To end this societal abuse, the AEB Project seeks to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” each fundamental to our nature, to the 1964 Civil Rights Act (CRA), the iconic law introduced by President Kennedy and secured via the efforts of Martin Luther King and gay hero Bayard Rustin, now 46 years ago.

The CRA outlaws discrimination in vast areas of life spanning employment, housing, all public places, and all government buildings and social programs, but its real power lies in its ethical guidance as official U.S. policy against discrimination based on “race, color, sex, national origin and religion.”

“The CRA said no to racism and sexism, and our inclusion will say no to homophobia and transphobia as it should have long ago,” said Iana Di Borna, a full time AEB organizer. “This is the law that allowed a young Barack Obama to dream of becoming President, and our children deserve nothing less.”

Because of this, the AEB is much more than a bill. It is a statement of dignity for the LGBT community that has for too long sought too little, acquiescing to 2nd rate dreams, unable to demand it all until now.

“Each day Congress perpetuates this insidious discrimination against us they are complicit in more deaths, but beyond that they are traitors to the Constitution which has promised us all equal protection of the laws,” said Alan Bounville, a co-leader of the Die-In and the Queer SOS! — a daily vigil outside of Senator Gillibrand’s office to demand the filing of the AEB (now in its 12th day) (

“With the AEB filed, the gay civil rights movement will begin in earnest,” said Mr. Fernandez, the AEB Project’s Campaign Facilitator. “With 400 symbolically dying in Grand Central the message is clear: We will wait no longer.”

The AEB Project is an undertaking of and is an all volunteer, all grassroots effort open to everyone (

JOIN this historic event: The Flash Mob: Homophobia Kills Die-In, Friday, October 8th, at 6 p.m., in Grand Central Terminal, NYC. (

*(South Africa is the only country in the world to protect “sexual orientation” from discrimination under its Constitution).

thank you
Kelly Rivera Hart

Monday, October 4, 2010

Come Out For Our Youth-Making Calls To Congress For Safe Schools Now

In light of the terrible string of 9 suicides due to bullying in the last month, October 12th, which is the anniversary of Matthew Shepherd's death, will be a day where everyone everywhere will-

Come Out For Our Youth and call on Congress to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act to end bullying now.

The LGBT community is overwhelmed with sympathy and anger but feelings are not enough. The loss of these young lives is a clarion call to action to end the epidemic of bullying in our schools. It’s time to make it better.

October 12th will be a day of nonstop calling on Congress to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act to end bullying now.

Go to to find out who your Congressperson is and call, fax or email them on October 12th and call on them to pass this important legislation before another young life is taken from us.

You can also call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your senators' and/or representative's office.
Remember that telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue about which you wish to comment.

After identifying yourself, tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as: "Please tell Senator/Representative (Name) that I support The Safe Schools Improvement Act and The Student Non-Discrimination Act and call on him/her to support it also to end bullying in the schools now."

It just takes a moment of your time. You could even do it while on a coffee or lunch break. And each call will get us closer to ending the horrible string of suicides because of bullying LGBT or LGBT-percieved youth.

Please Come Out For Our Youth and make that call on October 12th.

thank you
Kelly Rivera Hart

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Call To Make It Better

Asher Brown and Seth Walsh, both 13, Billy Lucas and Justin Aaberg, both 15, and 18-year-old college student Tyler Clementi all killed themselves after suffering anti-gay harassment. Aaberg, Brown, Lucas, and Walsh had endured bullying at school for years; Clementi’s roommate secretly recorded him having a sexual encounter with another man, and then posted the images online.

Seth Walsh, 13 years old, of Tehachapi CA, hanged himself; Billy Lucas, 15, of Greensburg, Indiana, also hanged himself; Asher Brown, 13, of Houston, shot himself in the head; and Tyler Clementi, a college freshman in New Jersey jumped off the George Washington Bridge after classmates allegedly violated his privacy and web cast live images of him in a sexual encounter with another male.

The LGBT community is overwhelmed with sympathy and anger but feelings are not enough. The loss of these five young lives is a clarion call to action to end the epidemic of bullying in our schools. It’s time to make it better. And we all have a part to play in making it better.

A week of nationwide events are taking place to come out for our youth. We can all come out and make it better for our Youth by calling for change.

The week from October 5th and leading up to October 11, Coming Out Day is a week to

1)Remember those Youth that we have lost because of bullying in schools,

2)Show support for the LGBTQQ Youth now with It Gets Better and other ways

3) Most importantly, Call on our congress to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act to end bullying now.

A website has been set up for LGBTQQ Youth to get support and to find comfort with the It Get’s Better messages. It also hosts a list events happening this week of events leading up to Coming Out Day. Organizers are invited to post their actions. And it calls for the LGBT community to make it better by calling on all senators and representatives to get legislation passed to make our schools safe. The website is at:

This is being organized by Sean Chapin and Kelly Rivera Hart. Currently, GLSEN, GSA Network, The Trevor Project, Dan Choi, Dan Savage, Affirmation- Gay and Lesbian Mormons, Marriage Equality USA and many other groups and individuals across the country are jumping onboard to send a positive message of support and a call to pass the legislation in the House for safe schools.

“Our LGBTQQ teenagers are dying at the hands of homophobia, and as National Coming Out Day approaches, it is time for all of us in the LGBTQQ and straight ally community to not just come out for ourselves but also come out for each other and especially for our young ones who need us now more than ever,” said co-organizer Sean Chapin.

Go to the site at and check out the events and the videos and the resources for teens that may be considering suicide. And notice that we are all pushing for October 11th to be a day of nonstop calling on congress to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act to end bullying now. Everyone everywhere is asked to go to to find out who their Congressperson is and call, fax or email them on October 11th and call on them to pass this important legislation before another young life is taken from us.

If I can say anything personally, is that I had a neighbor who was much younger than me who was constantly bullied by his father to "be a man." And in the end, he hung himself in his basement. I didn't know what words I could say to him to keep him going. I didn't know of any groups that would support him in the 70's. Today, it's a very different picture and these terrible stories of lives cut short have got to end.


Kelly Rivera Hart

Friday, October 1, 2010

Moment of silence tonight for the recent suicides

Tonight at 8pm ET and 5pm PT, The Trevor Project is asking all Americans for a moment of silence to mourn the loss of the six young LGBTQ people who recently died by suicide.

Raymond Chase, 19, RI
Tyler Clementi, 18, NJ
Seth Walsh, 13, CA
Asher Brown, 13, TX
Billy Lucas, 15, IN
Justin Aaberg, 15, MN

We will never know what they would've contributed to the world around them. We will never know how they would've brought beauty and joy and innovation to the world. Potential cut like a flower before it could bloom. Please share with everyone..

thank you
Kelly Rivera Hart

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Come Out For Our Youth

Hi there

Looking at the headlines in the last month has me horrified. There have been four instances of LGBTQQ Youths and those perceived to be who have taken their lives after bullying in their schools. The ages range from 13 to 18 and the locations are everywhere in the US. This is devastating news!! And we must come out for our youth now to put a stop to this.

We can put all our attention to marriage, to the military, to the workplace, to whatever is our personal favorite issue but what good is it if we create these things and there is no future generation to keep it going?


A week of nationwide events are taking place to Come Out For Our Youth. We are focusing on remembering the youth that have taken their lives because of bullying, calling nationwide attention to the huge problem of bullying in our schools and calling for the legislation for safe schools to be passed. This is all happening from Oct 5 up to Oct 11, Coming Out Day.

The week from October 5th and leading up to October 11, Coming Out Day is a week to

1)Remember those Youth that we have lost because of bullying in schools,

2)Come out and show support for the LGBTQQ Youth now with It Gets Better and other ways

3)Come out and call on our congress and senate to pas the Safe Schools Act to end bullying now

Stay tuned for more info..

Kelly Rivera Hart

Poz Activists Network