Category Archives: Youth Issues

NOT ANOTHER SUICIDE BECAUSE OF BULLYING

Bullying is learned and learned in the home, in the religious institutions, in the schools, and in the streets. It’s called “One-upMANship,” competition. I’m OK if I put you down. It’s the way Demo crazy (democracy) works. And worse, it is tolerated. It’s called: “Don’t you have a sense of humor?” It’s called: “Boys will be boys”…for a lifetime? Everyone can make fun of gays and lesbians since the “Bible Tells Us So.” I thought we were all made in God’s image.

And even if you aren’t lesbian or gay but fit the non-sensical stereotype (since we are everywhere and have many different “lifestyles”), you are still bullied. And if you are an LGBT youth and have been bullied but have not come out to your parents, how the hell are you supposed to go home and tell them you have just been bullied for being gay?

We call upon the LGBT communities across the US to begin to develop self-defense and self-esteem programs for our youth (boys and girls) so that if they are bullied, they can protect themselves. Make it on-going and affordable. Our motto is not only “It Gets Better,” but “NOT ANOTHER SUICIDE BECAUSE OF BULLYING.”

We owe it to those who CAME OUT before us and made changes, to those on the front lines today, to our youth, and to future generations to come.

Lovingly, Ruthie and Connie

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A great description of the documentary: Ruthie and Connie Every Room In the House

A Letter from a fan!

How does one measure a life? By the courage to take risks? By the insistence on loving?

By the urgency to work for social change? By the devotion to parents, children, friends?

By a faith in the spiritual? By any measure, both Ruthie and Connie, two extraordinary ordinary women are in full stride in such a life.

It is exhilarating to see two Jewish women in their mid-sixties, proud and out lesbians devoted mothers, and grandmothers, loyal friends, teachers without portfolio, because it would be filled to overflowing.

Ruthie and Connie engage in the on-going struggle for equal rights for the L/G/B/T Community, for women, for old people and for Jews. Their urgent passion for justice informs each moment of their lives with ribald humor, tenderness, patient listening and political outrage.

They are a team, indomitable and singular. They became national heroes when they (and two other couples} successfully sued the New York City Board of Education for spousal medical and dental benefits for all New York City employees. And they won!

The film is an intimate, personal story of their lives together and their ultimately successful struggles against convention and homophobia.

Producer, Donald Goldmachner, and a talented production team of women shaped this film. Twice nominated for an Academy Award, producer-director, Deborah Dickson, worked closely with cinematographer, Ferne Pearlstein and editor, Rachel Kittner in making the film. Lynda A. Hansen, marketing strategist and producer, is co-producer; Sandra Butler, author, is co-producer; Sharon Wood is conceptual consultant and grant writer;

Looking to change minds about Homosexuality? Order a DVD for yourself, friends, family, your school, church, synagogue, organization. And — invite Ruthie and Connie to a Q & A.

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Fear…Less

What I am about to share with you is a thought I take very seriously.  A thought that deserves my attention and yours and theirs.  I have learned, on a very personal level, not to live in the closet.  This closet that I have decided not to live in is overrun with shame, fear, guilt, embarrassment and is very crowded with people.  People of all shapes and sizes, all accents, all experiences, all colors, all frame of religious or non religious backgrounds, all levels of income and handouts and all opinions.  I live in a world of commercials, advertisements, newspapers, magazines, labels silk screened or otherwise, the Internet, Facebook and the like, texting, cell phones, all means of media available and public.

We publicize our products, we use methods of meeting life’s partner.  We share our thoughts about a movie, its effects and defects. We share our hopes and our dreams, the food we like or dislike, the music we move to and brings us to a peak experience.  Did I miss anything?  And yet when I share who you are, I am not sensitive, that this is personal, this is a process. When I share who I am, I’m flaunting. When I name me and identify myself I am told to look both ways. You and I would not hesitate to give away how we make a  living, we might get a new client, a new customer, a new patient, a new buyer, a new gig, a new opportunity.

My name is Connie and I am a lesbian in or out of a relationship.  I call this sharing.  I was married to a man for 18 years.  I have 2 adult children, 13 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren (and still going). I call this sharing.  I made my living as a bookkeeper, a counselor and a business woman, and today I am an artist.  I call this sharing.  All in all what boundaries have I crossed, what secrets have I revealed, what embarrassment did I create?  Come to think of it  NONE.  Your telling or my telling I am and you are should not be denied.  When we are discrete, when we lie, when we fabricate her to him, him to her, we think we are protecting ourselves. What we are really doing is protecting the attitudes, the hate and the behavior of violence.  Our sexuality is so private so personal, so denied. We have an unwritten law, don’t mention names.  We use the alphabet to avoid spelling out the identity of the organization, the institution. Yes you are right I have no way of knowing how people will react.  Rejection, loss of love, loss of job, loss of children, still very real and in spite  of and because of these possibilities there is no time like the present to be and to be proud …   to  be in Every Room In The House.

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A Very Sad Statistic

So much has been said about bullying and we could add to it. However, we want to share with you this very sad finding. While looking at the You tube clips of our film, I went to the clip about me, Ruthie, wanting to commit suicide as a “way out” of the fear, the shame, and the thought of everyone knowing — especially my children and family — that I was a lesbian.  I then accessed You Tube’s viewer demographics. Get this: THE AVERAGE VIEWERS WERE TEENAGE BOYS BETWEEN THE AGES OF 13 AND 17!!! A very sad statistic.

Any suggestions as to why this might be? They may have Googled suicide out of curiosity, need, questioning??? However, it appears to parallel with the news: bullying teens (both boys and girls) — and suicide.

The sites It GETS Better, The Trevor Project, and many more are resources for you. Hopefully, in watching RUTHIE AND CONNIE: EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE, you’ll understand that athough, I, Ruthie, thought of suicide as a way out, I didn’t  do “it.”

And — instead, I CAME OUT!  Coming Out transcended my survival. It gave me my FREEDOM!

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TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN..AND IT MUST CONCERN US ALL

Welcome to our first blog entry.  We want to celebrate the launching of the DVD of our film, and hope it will not only entertain but serve as a useful tool for inspiration and empowerment.  Sadly, because of recent events, we feel we must also immediately address issues that are both timely and timeless.

When a girl or boy is bullied because they’re Jewish, African-American, Latino, Muslim, etc., they can go home and tell their parents or guardians, who can in turn report it to the school and the perpetrators will more likely than not be punished. If an LGBT young person is bullied with “faggot” or “dyke” he or she will usually not go home and report it because most times family members do not know this yet, or are bigoted themselves.

Until the scapegoating, bullying and violence (physical or psychological) is stopped by severe punishment of the perpetrators, until parents and guardians are more informed and led to organizations such as PFLAG, and until we as a community keep this in the forefront by not tolerating any excuse for bullying, violence, etc. — well, we will be mourning more young people who commit suicide because of harassment and feeling that they are alone.

As individuals and organizations, we MUST reach all the religious institutions in our areas, and beyond, to STOP TEACHING HATE TOWARDS HOMOSEXUALS.  And we, as a community of LGBT persons, must protect our own and not tolerate any violence, harassment, bullying or scapegoating. None of it.  With our numbers, and if we each COME OUT,  IT CAN BE DONE!

- Ruthie Berman and Connie Kurtz

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