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GLSEN Greater Cincinnati's 'Stories Project: NOW' Aims To Reduce Anti-Gay Bullying In Schools (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 03/16/2012 8:57 am Updated: 03/16/2012 9:27 am

Glsen Video

"It almost makes me angry when I hear 'it gets better.' I don't want it to get better; I want it to be better now."

That's just one of several eyebrow-raising sentiments expressed by Brady, one of four teens -- one bisexual, two transgender and one gay -- prominently featured in "Stories Project: NOW," a poignant new video aimed at creating a safer environment for LGBT youth in Cincinnati-area schools.

Produced by Piñata Productions for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Greater Cincinnati, the ten-minute clip also includes interviews with a number of area educators and social workers, who speak about their own experiences working with LGBT students.

But the segments featuring the four students from three different schools in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky are, without question, the video's most distressing. "When I use the bathroom, I feel like an outcast because I always get looks no matter what bathroom I go into," Jason, a transgender male, explains. "They want me to use the women's bathroom. I try to explain because it's really uncomfortable for me to be there... people question my identity when I use the bathroom."

Though anti-gay bullying has become a hot-button issue nationwide in the wake of a disturbing spate of LGBT teen suicides, GLSEN statistics suggest that the Cincinnati region has been slower than others to react to the trend. According to the group's Ohio Research Brief, fewer than one in 10 LGBT students attended a school with a comprehensive bullying and harassment policy that included specific protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as recently as 2009.

In addition, one in four LGBT students was reportedly physically assaulted (punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) because of their sexual orientation.

GLSEN Greater Cincinnati co-chair Josh Wagoner told HuffPost Gay Voices in an email that his group was motivated to produce the video in an effort to better inform local educators. "We know that teachers are already incredibly busy and don't have enough resources," he said. "But we also know that educators really care about their students, and if they hear this message, they can be motivated to do that something extra."

He added, "I wanted to illustrate why we work for safe schools, and to root that in the actual issues that students and teachers are talking about." Since "Stories Project: NOW" was produced, GLSEN Cincinnati has launched a weekly group for high school students to network and organize, co-coordinated by Anne, who is featured in the video.

For more information on GLSEN Cincinnati, click here.

Take a look at some recent anti-gay bullying cases and teen suicides below:

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  • Jack Reese

    Though details of the 17-year-old Reese's April suicide are scarce, his boyfriend Alex Smith spoke frankly about the repeated bullying the teen had experienced at school. As one official is quoted as telling Ogden OUTreach off the record: "It happens here about once a week, but officially, you know, it doesn't happen here."

  • Kenneth Weishuhn jr.

    The 14-year-old took his own life after friends and family say that classmates sent him death threats on his cell phone and made him the subject of a Facebook hate group. "People that were originally his friends, they kind of turned on him," sister Kayla Weishuhn, a sophomore, is quoted as saying. "A lot of people, they either joined in or they were too scared to say anything."

  • Eric James Borges

    In January, just one month after filming an "It Gets Better" video in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, 19-year-old Eric James Borges took his own life. Borges, who went by EricJames among friends, worked as an intern with The Trevor Project, and as a supplemental instructor at the College of the Sequoias, according to Queer Landia blogger Jim Reeves.

  • Jacob Rogers

    Jacob Rogers had been bullied at Cheatham County Central High School for the past four years, but at the start of his senior year, it had become so bad he dropped out of school before taking his own life. "He started coming home his senior year saying 'I don't want to go back. Everyone is so mean. They call me a faggot, they call me gay, a queer,'" friend Kaelynn Mooningham said.

  • Jeffrey Fehr

    Eighteen-year-old Jeffrey Fehr, who was known as a skilled athlete and previously served as the first male captain of his high school's cheerleading squad, hanged himself on New Year's Day in the front entrance of his family's Granite Bay home after enduring what his parents describe as a lifetime of anti-gay bullying.

  • Tyler Clementi

    The disturbing rash of LGBT teen suicides began receiving attention last fall. Among those who took their own life was Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge between New Jersey and New York after his roommate allegedly filmed him having sex with another man.

  • Seth Walsh

    Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old California teen, hung himself in September 2010 after reportedly being bullied because he was gay.

  • Raymond S. Chase

    Gay Rhode Island-based student Raymond S. Chase, 19, became the fifth in 2010's disturbing spate of teen suicides last fall.

  • Obama's Anti-Bullying Video

    In October 2010, President Obama released a video in support of LGBT youth who were struggling with being bullied.

  • Pastor's Confession

    In November 2010, Jim Swilley, the pastor of a Georgia megachurch, revealed to his congregation that he is gay. The 52-year-old father of four said the recent spate of teen suicides, particularly that of Clementi, prompted him to change his mind. "For some reason his situation was kind of the tipping point with me," Swilley told CNN's Don Lemon this weekend.

  • Daniel Radcliffe Honored

    In June, "Harry Potter" actor Daniel Radcliffe was honored with the Trevor Project's "Hero" Award for his <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/26/daniel-radcliffe-speaks-o_n_478960.html" target="_hplink">ongoing suicide prevention efforts</a> for LGBT youth.

  • Jamey Rodemeyer

    In September, Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old boy from Williamsville, N.Y., took his life Sunday after what his parents claim was years of bullying because of struggles with his sexuality, months after posting this "It Gets Better" clip on YouTube.

  • Lady Gaga's Dedication

    After vowing to stop bullying and make it illegal, Lady Gaga -- a longtime advocate for LGBT causes -- dedicated a performance to Rodemeyer at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. "I wrote this record about how your identity is really all you've got when you're in school," Gaga told the crowd. "So tonight, Jamey, I know you're up there looking at us, and you're not a victim. You're a lesson to all of us."

  • Bachmann Speaks Out

    Days after being faced with a petition that urged her to publicly address gay bullying in her district, Rep. Michele Bachmann noted, "That's not a federal issue," according to CBS News. Previously, Tammy Aaberg, the mother of Justin Aaberg, a gay teen in the Anoka-Hennepin school district who committed suicide after having been bullied in area schools, delivered petitions to Bachmann's office asking her for support.

  • Jamie Hubley

    Jamie Hubley, a gay 15-year-old from Ottawa, Canada, committed suicide Oct. 14. In this clip, the teen performs Mike Posner's "Cooler Than Me."

  • Hubley Tribute Video

    Friends created a poignant tribute video to Hubley, the Canadian 10th grader who committed suicide on Friday.

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