PRESS RELEASE
October 11, 2010
For Immediate Release
Contact:
Paula Pilecki
415-472-1945, ext.209
Spectrum LGBT Center

Spectrum LGBT Center Marks Coming Out Day with Call to Action

Marin County rallies to raise awareness about

anti-gay bullying and teen suicide

SAN RAFAEL, CA -- In response to the tragic suicides by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in recent weeks, Spectrum LGBT Center has issued a call to action for Marin County residents: Come out and let our youth know they are not alone.


The rally will take place on Monday, October 11th, 6:00 - 7:00 PM on the steps of San Rafael City Hall, 1400 Fifth Avenue (between C and D Streets). The event will feature musical performances, guest speakers, and a special open mic time for youth.


The Marin rally is among thousands of national actions that will occur on October 11th, known as Coming Out Day, which began after half a million people participated in the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 11th, 1987.


Paula Pilecki, Spectrum's Executive Director, says this year it's especially important to gather together on Coming Out Day. "LGBT young people need to see that they are not alone, and that there are people who will stand with them, support them, and love them unconditionally," says Pilecki. "We call on parents, educators, faith communities, and the community at large to speak out openly in support of our young people, and against anti-gay bullying and the violence it ultimately causes."


According to a study conducted by the California Safe Schools Coalition, harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation is pervasive throughout middle and high schools. These students typically feel less supported than their peers by adults, teachers, and other students, and have fewer resources for coping with problems. As a result, they are more likely to experience poor academic outcomes, substance use, depression and suicide.


It is common for middle and high school students to hear anti-gay slurs between 10 and 20 times a day while they are in school. According to Pilecki, this requires significant attention from teachers and administrators who will proactively enforce zero-tolerance policies toward bullying for any reason.

population creates an unsafe learning environment for all students."


One of the most effective ways to address this situation is to create learning environments where all young people feel safe and respected. Spectrum has created a training program that assists teachers and administrators to do just that.


"We help teachers figure out how to incorporate age-appropriate conversations about LGBT issues in the classroom, and how to talk with students about the impact of anti-gay remarks and slurs against each other," says Pilecki.


Spectrum also manages a volunteer speakers bureau that reaches nearly 3,000 students each year. The purpose of these classroom presentations is to give students an opportunity to meet someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, a tactic that has been proven to reduce anti-gay sentiment and reduce negative stereotyping.


"All young people desperately need compassion and understanding from the adults in their lives", says Pilecki. "We can make it better for them. Let's not let them down."


EVENT INFORMATION

MARIN COUNTY CALL TO ACTION:

Come out together and make it better for all youth on National Coming Out Day


*Stand against teen suicide

*Support LGBT youth

*Create safer schools and communities for everyone


Organized by Spectrum LGBT Center, with production assistance from Shelley Champine,

Local Music Vibe


Monday, October 11th, 6:00 - 7:00 PM

San Rafael City Hall, 1400 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael

Music performances by Shelley Doty, with Green and Root


About Shelley Doty: Labeled "a future legend" by one reviewer and a "guitar goddess" by another, Shelley Doty is considered one the best independent performers in the business. Watching her perform is awe-inspiring due to her masterful guitar licks, soulful voice and charismatic stage presence. As a songwriter, she creates articulate songs for today by sprinkling them with respect for the music of her youth (rock, jazz, funk). Her brand new CD "Over The Line" is now out and available via CD Baby.


About Green and Root: Their music is an intimate yet spirited mix of folk, pop and rock, with acoustic guitar based songs, dazzling harmonies and award winning songs. Their first music video for their song "Marrying You" is on the front page of www.outofthecloset.tv/music and had over 1000 downloads in one week alone. The song is also being used as the theme for a documentary film seen on QTV.


Speakers (partial listing):


Cristin Brew, Spectrum LGBT Center

Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools

Lilia Chavez, Youth Leadership Institute

Damon Connolly, San Rafael City Council

Rev. Carol Hovis, Marin Interfaith Council

Rabbi Chai Levy, Congregation Kol Shofar

Maureen Sedonaen, Youth Leadership Institute

Fresh! White, Whole Life Coach

Cynthia Wuthmann, Parent and Board Member, San Rafael Public Education Foundation

Community Co-Sponsors (partial and growing list):

Community Congregational Church of Tiburon-Belvedere

Community Healing Centers, Counseling and Psychotherapy

Community Institute for Psychotherapy

Epochalips.com - Lesbians & Allies

Local Music Vibe

Marin Peace and Justice Coalition

Youth Leadership Institute


To sign up as a community co-sponsor, click here.

Please consider signing on as a community co-sponsor and distribute this information to your lists. Our efforts will not end with the rally -- we will continue to build broad community support to address this issue in the future. Thank you!

More Event Info Here

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Founded in 1982, Spectrum LGBT Center promotes acceptance, understanding, and full inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Visit our website at www.spectrumlgbtcenter.org