Rally for queer youth on Friday

Raymond Chase, an out gay sophomore at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island, killed himself last Wednesday

As we wrote about last week, a tragic and almost unfathomable epidemic of queer youth suicides has been reported in the past three weeks, much of it tied to vicious anti-gay bullying. This Friday, October 8, there will be a "Stand Up to Youth Suicide" rally at Civic Center Plaza at 6:30pm. Speakers Tom Ammiano, Andrea Shorter, and more will speak about queer youth and how we can help. The rally will be followed by a candlelight march to the Castro at 7:30pm. 

The flyer notes: "Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are up to 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their hmosexual peers. Nearly 1/2 of transgender people have seriously thought about committing suicide." Full announcement after the jump -- Facebook event info here.

Rally and March to Focus on LGBT Youth Suicide and Homelessness
Being young and gay in much of the United States too often results in homelessness or suicide. A rally and candlelight march in San Francisco on Friday, October 8, is planned to bring awareness to what some have called an epidemic.

The rally at San Francisco's Civic Center will begin at 6:30 pm, followed by a candlelight march to Harvey Milk Plaza at 7:30. The event is being organized by Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, and will feature speakers from The Trevor Project, Soulforce, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Equality California, Family Acceptance Project, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Affirmation, and several of the people appearing in the recent documentary film “8: The Mormon Proposition,” according to Robert Moore, Director of Advocacy and Outreach for Affirmation.

“We want to stand up and say ‘NO’ to the idea of one more life being cut short,” said Moore, “Our youth need us to stand up and say we are here for you, come to me when you need help, talk to me when you need an open ear, cry on my shoulder when you need to. I am asking for you to join me and stand up for our youth in San Francisco October 8, 2010 at 6:30pm.”

While acceptance of LGBT people continues to grow in the larger population, suicide amongst LGBT youth continues to be high and is even rising in some areas. "Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers" (Massachusetts 2007 Youth Risk Survey. Even more frightening is when you look at youth from rejecting families, religions or communities. A 2009 study found that "Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual youth who come from highly rejecting families are more than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide than LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection" (Ryan C, Huebner D, et al - Peds 2009;123(1):346-352).

As a youth Robert Moore was cast out by his Mormon family and experienced what it means to be a homeless teen. Preceding the rally, the three top officers of Affirmation will each spend twenty-four hours on the streets of San Francisco without money or possessions, and will relate some of their experiences at Friday’s event. Friday’s events are among a series of activities surrounding Affirmation’s 33rd annual conference. Dale Barton, Conference Director, stated that on Saturday, members of Affirmation will be giving of their time in day-long projects serving local homeless shelters and The Trevor Project (a youth suicide counseling and prevention organization).

Speakers to include (This is not the full list of speakers):

David Melson, Executive Director for Affirmation
Tom Ammiano, California Assembly Member
Bonnie Graves, Board member of Trevor Project
Andrea Shorter, Deputy Marriage and Coalitions Director EQCA
Caitlin Ryan, Director, Family Acceptance Project
Danielle Askini Jansson, National Program Manager, GSA Network
Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director SoulForce

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