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Proof that it does get better

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Proof that it does get better

BY ROB SALERNO - In the wake of another tragic gay teen suicide, this time in Ottawa, I could draw your attention to a prime example of the type of irrational hate that led Jamie Hubley to write "It's so hard, I'm sorry, I can't take it anymore," before taking his own life Oct 14, but instead I'd like to point out some positive stories coming from across Canada today to remind readers that it is indeed getting better.

Not too far from Ottawa, the Quebec government has announced that it will spend $7 million to fight anti-gay bullying and discrimination. The money will be available to community groups that provide services and education for and about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and transsexual people to eliminate discrimination and harassment in schools and businesses. While Quebec is already one of the most progressive parts of Canada, it's good to see a government taking action to ensure that all people are treated fairly and with dignity.

And CTV reports that more universities in all parts of the country are beginning to install gender-neutral washrooms, which help trans people avoid the stigma or embarrassment of having to choose one gender or the other when using a public washroom. What's really refreshing is how calm and rational everyone is sounding on this issue. Since all that's usually involved is to change a sign on existing one-person-accessible bathrooms from "male" and "female" to "unisex" or simply "washroom," it's a staggeringly simple solution. Even non-trans disabled students gain access to 100 percent more washrooms!

Even the City of Kamloops, BC, is beginning to install gender-neutral washrooms in its facilities, although that move appears to be motivated more by parents' and caregivers' desire to bring their children into washrooms. But even that points to the importance of and possible opportunities for networking with other stakeholders who have common interests.

Finally, this morning brought the announcement that the controversy-baiting reality show pitch/Jersey Shore rip-off The Lake Shore, which put a bunch of 20-something ethnic stereotypes (including a "Lebanese" who pulled double-duty as the gay mascot) into a house together on Toronto's waterfront to do the things that 20-somethings do on reality shows but with added racism and debatable moralizing, has halted production after it failed to find a buyer anywhere. 

Since the show received worldwide media exposure/condemnation when its trailer was launched last year (including The Onion's AV Club welcoming Canada to America's "mutual gutter"), it's genuinely surprising that not even a low-rent third-tier cable company in any country was willing to be associated with it, but let's just take this as an example of people's better angels making them resist the siren song of the lowest common denominator.

Bizarrely, if you go to The Lake Shore's old YouTube trailer page, there's a notice that the trailer's been removed due to a copyright claim by the CBC. But webisodes and audition videos are still available. Here's the Lebanese claiming to be a designer for Lady Gaga and Missy Elliott:

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Your chance to HELP it
Your chance to HELP it getting better for GAY RIGHTS especially GAY FAMILY RIGHTS is right here for all those who believe EVERY suicide is a community tragedy.Join Forces with Futurist and Gay Rights Activist for Gay Family Equality PROTECTION. Follow Fitnessexecdwh on Twitter and Dax Hart on FB Profile and become part of the TEAM our GAY TEAM FOR EQUALITY.Prima Fasie Charter Challenge to have FAMILY STATUS as PROTECTED GROUNDS under the Charter is soon to start and we are formulating an interim funding order again. We WON our last self represented Charter Challenge. I'm a LEGAL Parent trying to protect GAY MALE FAMILIES and more. Suicides are preventable as is CHILD ABUSE, PARENT ALIENATION, GAY INEQUALITY and continued FIGHTS for GAY EQUALITY.....We are at war and this warrior needs your support. Gay history in the making in this case....FL01-01406 and FL01-11127 as well as this one coming soon. Follow and support, we WILL NEED OUR Friends and LGBT community to speak as ONE VOICE!DESPERATE FOR HELP< REALLY fucking desperate. pls
www.rossirant.comOde to Jamie

Ode to Jamie Hubley

I was fifteen year’s old when a French kiss in the women’s bathroom of Toad Hall, (a nightclub in Red Bank New Jersey that, at the time was one of the few places in Jersey that would let punk bands play) changed my life forever.
I had no idea I was gay. I had never even considered the notion, but five seconds into that spontaneous and miraculous kiss with Cindy Butler (name changed, she’s not as brave as I wish she was) and I knew my life would never be the same.
Suddenly all the answers to questions that had plagued me since I was four-years-old came spilling forward like an avalanche!
That’s why I had to bring my first grade teacher Mrs. Mahon an apple every week!
That’s why I could not even consider being anywhere but the television set every Wednesday night, in time to see Lindsay Wagner play “The Bionic Woman!”
That’s why I felt a sick, wrong and uncomfortable feeling in my chest every time a boy tried ANYTHING with me!, Well hmm aside from the fact that some of the guys I met on the Long Branch Amusement Pier in 1981 weren’t exactly pinnacles of society.
I took a lot of abuse in the 7th and 8th grade and didn’t even know why I was targeted, but my abusers knew. Pretty preppy popular girls who took one look at my husky-boys K-mart back-to-school clothes and knew there was something just not Kosher about the girl in the flannel shirt. Boys who tried to hit me and spit on me because I was not the norm.
Oh I got my revenge my dears. I broke out of my shell and ruled my high school as the badass rock-and roll biker chick from hell!
But even then, I was covering up. I knew I was different just didn’t know exactly how, that is until that one kiss blasted the walls open.
It wasn’t like I was ready to say I was gay, exactly, no not in Rumson New Jersey in 1981, but I joined a theatre club filled with gay and bi-sexual actors and learned being bi-sexual was all the rage in the punk, glam and theatre scene. It took me a few more years to say I was gay and when I finally did, most of my pals answered, “DUH! Of course you are!”
In the years that have followed, I have marched in parades, sat in floats, joined rallies, raised my fist and my voice high in the air to announce to one and all those immortal words; “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it!”
But even now, decades later, when I see a headline, like the one I saw about Jamie Hubley, the gay 15 year old from Ottawa, Canada, who committed suicide on Friday, I am right back there.
I am 13 years old, sitting in a bathroom stall eating my lunch because I am too ashamed that no one in my grammar school lunchroom is brave enough to risk the taunts of bullies to sit with me.
I am 16 years old and not able to say out loud that the real reason I don’t want to go to the prom is that I cannot go with the person I really want to kiss without being run out of town.
Oh my darlings, of course it gets better and thank god for sites like www.itgetsbetter.org who can say this in the voice of thousands.
But for Jamie it never had a chance to get better, because he ended his young life far too early.
He chose death to three more years of high school.
It has to end.
Our teachers, our parents, our students all have to band together to stop bullying in our schools and if principals and teachers and teacher’s aids are too cowardly to stand against it, FIRE THEIR asses because stopping bullying and homophobia against our kids has got to be part of the job requirement!
It did get better for me oh my dears, so much better but there where days when I was a kid that the idea of living comfortably true to myself out loud and proud just seemed like a dream.
My dream came true and so can yours. Don’t give up, ever.
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