Entries in Lesbians (5)


Milwaukee Public Middle School a Haven for Gay Youth

ABC News(MILWAUKEE) -- It's literally dangerous to be young and coming out of the closet.  Transgendered kids suffer a high rate of homicide.  And more and more gay teenagers are committing suicide because they were bullied for it.

Last month, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer took his own life after being bullied at school for being gay.  His death has sparked a national debate about how to stop bullying in schools.  Rodemeyer's idol, Lady Gaga, even asked President Obama to make bullying a hate crime.  But is passing a law really the answer?

One all-American city may have already come up with a unique solution.  Milwaukee is home to the first public middle school where coming out of the closet is accepted, even if you're in the sixth grade.

Fourteen-year-old Emiliano Luna was one of The Alliance School's youngest openly gay students.

"You can truly be yourself here, without having to worry about being picked on or threatened or beat up," he said.

Respect and risk-taking are other key lessons in a class at the school known as Life Skills.  Fifteen-year-old Robbie said he took a big risk coming out to his parents so young.

"They respect it. They don't get it, but they respect it," he said, adding that it was a risk worth taking.

Alicia Moore, a teacher at Alliance, said Robbie found a safe haven there: "Robbie, early on in the school year, came to school with a black eye.  I said, 'Robbie, what happened?'  He said, 'not everyone is as nice as they are here.'"

The school has made efforts to make every student feel comfortable inside and outside of the classroom.

"This is the unisex middle school bathroom," said 16-year-old Becca Dybao, while proudly giving ABC News a tour of her school.  "We do this so students can feel if they want to be a tranny, they can be a female."

A bathroom for kids who are transgendered might be seen as controversial, but students and parents feel that it's a life-saver for kids who are bullied every day.

The Alliance School has had its share of critics and setbacks.  When the school faced the possibility of losing its charter, lead teacher Tina Owen said the school was "life or death for some of these kids."  Students from the school pleaded in front of their local school board to keep Alliance open.

The board agreed to keep the school open for at least three more years amid cheers and applause from students and teachers.  It's a victory for kids like Emiliano, who, like Jamie Rodemeyer, adores Lady Gaga.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gay Marriage Quandary: Am I the Bride or Groom?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On the first day that New York State allowed same-sex couples to start the process to get a marriage license this week, Sandra Rodriguez-Diaz and her lesbian partner Miriam Soriano had to make an "awkward" choice on the application form: Who was the bride and who was the groom?

Fredy H. Kaplan and Anthony Cipriano faced the same confusion filling out their personal information, according to a story in The New York Times -- until Kaplan declared to his partner of six years, "You're going to be the bride."

Clerks at city hall told baffled couples to wait until online application forms could be adjusted to accommodate same-sex couples, who captured the right to marry July 24 after New York joined five other states and the District of Columbia to legally sanction gay marriage.

As the right to marry gains momentum across the United States, same-sex couples are redefining the traditional roles of husband and wife, and bureaucrats are scrambling to keep pace with the social revolution.

"This kind of thing doesn't set well with [Mayor] Michael Bloomberg," said Richard Socarides, president of the national advocacy group Equality Matters and former advisor to President Bill Clinton on issues affecting gays and lesbians.

It only took Bloomberg -- one of the most vocal supporters of the gay marriage bill -- 24 hours to straighten out the mess, ordering the city clerk to update the online applications to rephrase the personal information categories to "Bride/Groom/Spouse A" and "Bride/Groom/Spouse B."

"I think it's important not to try to put gay couples in traditional heterosexual married roles," said Socarides.  "What we consider traditional roles of the husband and the wife, even in a heterosexual relationship, are certainly evolving into something different.  Just like everything else, it happens much more quickly in the digital age."

But even as modern heterosexual couples are moving beyond stereotypes, cultural perceptions of gay couples -- one is assertive and masculine, the other more feminine and submissive -- still persist.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Homosexual Teens More Likely to Engage in Risky Behavior

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A high school student's sexual orientation may indicate whether or not the teenager is more likely to engage in risky behavior, according to a study released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Analyzing data from students in grades nine through 12 between 2001 and 2009, researchers found that teens who reported being gay, lesbian, or bisexual were more likely than their heterosexual classmates to put themselves in harm's way, taking part in more than half of the 10 health risk categories the CDC measured.

Specifically, gay or lesbian students were more likely to engage in risky behaviors listed under seven of the 10 categories -- behaviors that contribute to violence, behaviors related to attempted suicide, tobacco use, alcohol use, other drug use, sexual behaviors, and weight management.

Bisexual students were also more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to engage in behaviors listed under the same seven categories as gay and lesbian students, with the addition of one category -- behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries.

"This report should be a wake-up call for families, schools and communities that we need to do a much better job of supporting these young people," said Howell Wechsler, director of the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health.  "Any effort to promote adolescent health and safety must take into account the additional stressors these youth experience because of their sexual orientation, such as stigma, discrimination, and victimization."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cancer More Prevalent Among Gay Men, Study Finds

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Gay men are nearly twice as likely to report being diagnosed with cancer when compared to heterosexual men, according to a new study released Monday.

Researchers at Boston University School of Public Health reviewed data from the California Health Interview survey carried out in 2001, 2003, and 2005.  They found that about 8 percent of the gay men surveyed had been diagnosed with cancer, while only about 5 percent of heterosexual men were.

The rates of cancer diagnoses among lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual women, on the other hand, were similar.  However, when it came to cancer survivors, the researchers found that lesbian and bisexual women were twice as likely to report fair or poor health when compared to heterosexual women.

The study, which was published in the journal Cancer, sought to address the shortfall in cancer surveillance data, which omits information on sexual orientation, leaving little to be known about the disease in the lesbian, gay and bisexual populations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Graphic HIV/AIDS Video Horrifies Gay Community

Photo Courtesy - New York City Health Department (NEW YORK) -- A public service announcement produced by the New York City Health Department promoting condom use to prevent HIV/AIDS has horrified advocacy groups, who say it demonizes and frightens gays and those living with the disease.

The video, which aired on such cable networks as the gay and lesbian channel Logo, Bravo and the Travel Channel, chides, "When you get HIV, it's never just HIV. You're at a higher risk for dozens of diseases even if you take medications, like osteoporosis, dementia, and anal cancer."

Gay advocacy groups and blogs were barraged by complaints after viewing the video on YouTube.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York are demanding the video be withdrawn, saying scare tactics do not work and that the PSA is stigmatizing.

"While it's extremely important that we continue to educate New Yorkers about HIV/AIDS prevention, the sensationalized nature of the commercial, including its tabloid-like fear tactics, misses the mark in fairly and accurately representing what it's like to live with HIV/AIDS," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.

"It's our hope that the department will work with us to create a PSA that promotes safety and solutions, rather than stigma and stereotype."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio