End online and offline bullying at your school on #Day1. AT&T Film Invitational Tyler Clementi Foundation's Annual Upstander Legacy Celebration Put Bullying on the National Agenda!
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Welcome to the Tyler Clementi Foundation

  • Featured Post

    The Power I Find in Performing Tyler’s Suite

    New Orleans Symphony Chorus

    THIS WEEKEND: Join us for this performance of Tyler’s Suite in NEW ORLEANS Sunday night by the New Orleans Symphony Chorus with appearance by Jane Clementi. Get tickets now.

    It’s strange sometimes how the threads of life come together in unexpected ways. When it happens through music, it may appear to be less random. We all have a soundtrack for our lives, whether it be rock n roll, country, hip-hop, classical, jazz, alternative, punk, all of the above or any other combination. New Orleans has its own constant beat, a syncopated rhythm that permeates our lives. Fortunately, I’m a tenor. Choirs seem to always need tenors. It helps if you can read music and carry a tune; simply being a tenor is not sufficient, but it helps. Lucky me.

    Choral singing has always been an important part of my life. As a member of the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, when our music director informed us that this season we would perform “Tyler’s Suite,” my first reaction was “OK, who’s Tyler?” To which our music director replied, “You know, the young musician from New Jersey whose act of desperation inspired his family to start an anti-bullying foundation. A number of Broadway composers and lyricists wrote a nine movement choral piece about Tyler, his life, his family and his legacy.” This reminder awakened some dormant brain cells. Yes, I remember all too well the tragic death of Tyler Clementi, an accomplished young violinist who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge in 2010 after his college roommate set up a webcam that recorded Tyler kissing another man. Now the threads of connection started to flow at full force.

    We are performing “Tyler’s Suite” at Temple Sinai, a magnificent structure that eerily resembles the synagogue of my youth, Temple Emanuel. The two buildings were completed just a year apart—Temple Sinai in 1928, Temple Emanuel in 1929. Their main sanctuaries are strikingly similar. Both are adorned with stained glass windows that are beautiful when the light falls on them from behind. Both sanctuaries have the same type of seating, the same number of seats and the same layout, although the temple from my youth holds more memories for me.

    I am a native of Paterson, New Jersey. During my youth, I often walked down East 33rd Street towards the Passaic River, passing Temple Emanuel on the corner of 33rd and Broadway (Temple Emanuel’s congregation moved many years ago). As I continued walking, I would pass 12th Ave, then 11th Ave and come to the 10th Avenue Circle (now circle-less and is just another intersection), which connects Paterson to Fair Lawn via the Morlot Avenue Bridge that crosses the Passaic River. On the other side of Fair Lawn lies Ridgewood, the home of Tyler Clementi and his family.

    There are other connections, too. Tyler’s mom Jane was born in Paterson (but grew up in Fair Lawn). My brother’s wife was from Ridgewood, a member of its Italian community, and I learned the various routes from anyplace in New Jersey to Ridgewood, most of which involve Routes 17, 4 the Garden State Parkway or some combination of them.

    Another connection to Tyler and his family is Rutgers—the college he chose to attend after he graduated from high school. Yes, I am a Rutgers alumnus. Freshman year at college is a time for personal discovery. The first time away from home, one can try on different identities to see how they fit. One can explore and experience the world. One probes, prods, takes on different mantles and checks the reaction of self and others. Who shall I be today?

    I remember, oh so clearly, my first year at Rutgers. Assigned to Davidson dormitory on the Heights Campus, which is now the Busch Campus, we had no idea what we had gotten into until we got there. At that time there were only two buildings on the Heights Campus—newly constructed math and science buildings. The Heights Campus could have been across the ocean. It was considered banishment to live there. The dormitory was at least three miles from the main College Avenue campus. Since freshmen were not allowed to have cars on campus, the only way to get to the main campus was by shuttle bus. The bus stopped running at 10 p.m. If you missed the last bus, it was a long walk back to the dorm. Freshmen were assigned there because no upperclassman in his right mind would volunteer to live there Yes, I said upperclassman—Rutgers was not yet co-ed when I arrived.

    Davidson A, B, C, and D, two H shaped buildings side by side, shared a cafeteria in common. Our limited transportation options meant we were stuck with each other. We played a lot of crab soccer in the big common area, which was our gathering place. We were young. We were on our own. We were exploring life and attempting to define ourselves. We did the same things that generations before us had done, and the same things that those who would follow us would do. Sadly, Tyler never had the chance to experience such things.

    While in high school I attended a school in Manhattan, so three times a week I took the bus across the George Washington Bridge where the bus terminal connected to the 175th Street IND 8th Avenue subway station that I would take to 125th street. I’ve walked across the George Washington Bridge and felt the pull the flowing water far below exerts on people: beautiful, peaceful, remarkable in its power and its temptations. I know the path Tyler walked, but not Tyler’s pain.

    Our lives are framed by institutions. The first institution we experience is the family we are born into—parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins. The next institution we experience is spiritual, as most of us and our families are members of some religious faith, then school, work. Family, faith, school—places that are supposed to be safe.

    I know Tyler’s geography all too well. We have institutions in common. We have cities in common. We have North Jersey, the GWB, Rutgers, Ridgewood and Paterson. We have threads that tie our lives to one another even though we never met. Threads ravel and unravel. Perhaps Tyler’s threads unraveled to the point where they could no longer bear his weight. It was left to his family to pick up those threads and weave something more enduring through music—another connection. I know Tyler’s hometown. I know his college campus. I know everything about him except the man/boy himself. Now, I am getting to know him through the nine movements of “Tyler’s Suite.”

    I hope you have an opportunity to experience “Tyler’s Suite” for yourself.

    Hank Fanberg is a 10-year member of the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans and its current board president. A native of Paterson, New Jersey, he is a long time resident of New Orleans. He is employed by CHRISTUS Health, one of the nation’s largest faith based Catholic health systems where he serves as a member of the office of the CIO and is responsible for technology advocacy and innovation. He has a life long interest in vocal music and has sung in choruses including the New Orleans Opera Chorus, Zamir Chorale and others since his teens.

    Follow the New Orleans Symphony Chorus on Facebook and Twitter.

    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.

  • Featured Post

    Meet Upstander Debra Houry

    Debra Houry
    How do you define bullying?
    CDC defines bullying as any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths, who are not siblings or current dating partners, involving an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm.1 A young person can be a perpetrator, a victim, or both (also known as a “bully/victim”).

    Bullying can occur in-person and through technology. Electronic aggression, or “cyber-bullying,” is bullying that happens through email, chat rooms, instant message, a website, text message, or social media.2

    Why does the CDC see bullying as a public health issue?

    Bullying is widespread in the United States. In a 2015 nationwide survey, 20% of high school students reported being bullied on school property in the 12 months preceding the survey, and an estimated 16% of high school students reported in 2015 that they were bullied electronically in the 12 months before the survey.3

    How would you describe the impact that bullying has on individuals? On communities?

    Bullying can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, and even death. Victimized youth are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment. Youth who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood.4

    Youth who both bully others and are bullied themselves (i.e., “bully-victims”) suffer the most serious consequences and are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems than those who only bully others or are bullied by other.5

    What kind of response has the CDC’s report received?

    CDC’s August 11 Sexual Minority Youth MMWR report was received with gratitude and excitement by the vast majority of external stakeholders, LGBTQ organizations, and researchers who worked with CDC to make this data collection a reality. The health disparities noted in the report were described as heartbreaking, horrifying, shocking, and unacceptable. Many expressed that the report is ground-breaking, long overdue, and a land-mark that will hopefully motivate much needed changes to help gay, lesbian, and bisexual students not only survive, but actually thrive.

    Our work is certainly not done and the need for health risk data on transgender youth is critical, as is highlighted by feedback about this report. CDC has been working on multiple fronts to determine how this can be accomplished with the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and/or other data systems. CDC will be piloting a gender identity question next year on selected state and local YRBS’s and will continue to evaluate whether the number of positive respondents is large enough to capture reliable data on transgender youth or if other research formats are needed.

    There were so many important findings from this study that may impact LGB youth and as well as their parents and teachers. Can you draw any inferences to other minority youth from these findings?

    The 2015 National YRBS report did not have enough responses to develop data on lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth by race/ethnicity, but for all youth:

    • 18.4 percent of white students reported being electronically bullied, versus 8.6 percent of black students and 12.4 percent of Hispanic students
    • 23.5 percent of white students reported being bulled on school property, versus 13.2 percent of black students and 16.5 percent of Hispanic students

    We can’t make any clear inferences but we do need more of an understanding of how bullying differs by children with disabilities or special needs, by racial or ethnic groups, and by children with various religions and faiths.

    The study included results factoring in online bullying. Can you describe the environment that exists online for LGB youth and how parents and teachers might approach creating safer space for their children who may identify as LGBT (or non-gender identified)?

    Cyber-bullying is an emerging issue that needs further exploration. In the 2015 national YRBS, approximately 16% of all high school students reported experiencing cyber-bullying and unfortunately this estimate has not changed significantly since the question was first asked in 2011. Unfortunately, for lesbian, gay, and bisexual students and students who have sex with their same sex or both sexes, rates are almost double (i.e., close to 30%). We don’t have specific resources for parents and teachers of youth who identify as LGBT, but we have general tips for parents/caregivers and teachers:

    For educators:

    • Explore current bullying prevention policies
    • Work collaboratively to develop policies
    • Explore current programs to prevent bullying and youth violence
    • Offer training on electronic aggression for educators and administrators
    • Talk to teens
    • Work with IT and support staff
    • Create a positive school atmosphere
    • Have a plan in place for what should happen if an incident is brought to the attention of school officials

    For parents/caregivers:

    • Talk to your child
    • Develop rules
    • Explore the internet
    • Talk with other parents/caregivers
    • Encourage your school or school district to conduct a class for caregivers about electronic aggression
    • Keep current

    The study’s implications can be seen as validation of what so many working with LGB (and T) youth have been saying for many years. Why is the CDC issuing this now?

    To understand more about behaviors that can contribute to negative health outcomes among lesbian, gay, and bisexual students, a question to ascertain sexual identity and a question to ascertain sex of sexual contacts was added for the first time to the 2015 national and standard Youth Risk Behavior Survey or YRBS. Thus, the report released in August 2016 is the first time we’ve been able to estimate the health risks of U.S. lesbian, gay, and bisexual high school students with a nationally representative sample. This research is critical for understanding and addressing the disparities in risk among lesbian, gay, and bisexual high school students—a population at elevated risk for a number of health concerns. These data are also important to assess trends in risk behaviors over time and the information is important to help policymakers at all levels plan and evaluate prevention programs and policies.

    You said, “All of us can help to position lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth to survive and thrive in their environments, and it’s critical that we take action.” Tyler Clementi Foundation has been working with schools and colleges with our #Day1 Program, for example, to establish safe space in workplaces, classrooms and organizations. What key messages do you recommend are present in what the study says are “comprehensive, community-wide prevention efforts [that] can reduce the risk of multiple types of violence for these and other vulnerable youth”?

    All of us, including parents, schools and communities, can and must take action to ensure lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth survive and thrive:

    • Ensure comprehensive, community-wide support systems that reduce risk and promote protective factors for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth
      • Parents: foster resiliency by providing strong family support; teach all children non-violent problem solving skills
      • Schools: build environment that provides a sense of safety and connectedness for all students, including gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth
      • Communities: reduce stressors for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth by reducing discrimination and forms of victimization that contribute to vulnerability
    • Connectedness is key to protecting health of these adolescents — to parents, to peers, to teachers, and to schools and other community organizations
      • Students are more likely to thrive in their schools and communities if they know they matter – that they have adults, teachers, and friends who care about their safety and success

    We also know that the sexual violence and bullying experienced by transgender youth and adults cannot be ignored and requires a nationwide response. CDC is committed to working, in collaboration with key partners and the community, to improve health and safety for transgender individuals.

    How will the CDC be contributing in the coming years to end bullying and harassment?

    CDC is committed to understanding and preventing bullying before it starts by using a population-based approach and developing a rigorous science base. Developing a rigorous science base is particularly needed in the area of bullying prevention, as there is limited information about the different forms of bullying, the factors that place youth at risk for or protect youth from experiencing bullying, and effective prevention strategies for schools and communities to implement. CDC’s approach to bullying prevention includes:

    • Defining the problem and monitoring trends through surveillance;
    • Using research to identify risk and protective factors;
    • Developing and evaluating comprehensive, community‐based prevention programs; and
    • Disseminating research to ensure widespread adoption of evidence‐based strategies.

    In addition, CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention works closely with our funded partners to implement and evaluate programs to prevent bullying. For example, our staff collaborate with the Youth Violence Prevention Centers and STRYVE sites to prevent violence and bullying in individuals, families, schools, and communities by implementing evidence-based programs, including Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS), Positive Action, and Second Step: Student Success Through Prevention. We also fund partners to implement a data-driven approach to prevent all forms of violence called Communities That Care.

    Finally, we collaborate with other federal agencies to spread awareness of bullying and help link youth, parents, and communities to resources on bullying via the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Working Group and www.StopBullying.gov.

    Debra Houry, MD, MPH, is the Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) at CDC. In this role, she leads innovative research and science-based programs to prevent injuries and violence and to reduce their consequences. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.

  • Featured Post

    A New Tyler Clementi Foundation Poll Says Half of Americans Believe That Campaign Tone Is Affecting Kids and Creating Meanness


    A new poll commissioned by the Tyler Clementi Foundation finds a majority of registered voters believe the language and tone of the current presidential campaign is having an effect on children. 53% of the more than 1400 registered voters questioned said “yes” when asked if they “believe the polarizing language being used in this presidential election is spilling over to young people and creating more meanness.” 36% said no while 11% said they weren’t sure.

    The poll revealed a gender gap on this question with 57% of woman saying “yes” compared to 47% of men. The question also split along party lines with Democrats more likely than Republicans to believe in a spillover effect; 68% of Democrats said “yes” while just 38% of Republicans said “yes.”

    More than 50% of voters believe campaign tone is affecting kids.“We are not surprised that the larger media environment is affecting people,” Jane Clementi, founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation and mother of Tyler Clementi who died by suicide in 2010 after being cyberharassed at Rutgers University. “Adults are worried that when adults model nasty or negative behavior, it will impact our youth.”

    Public Policy Polling used automated telephone technology to survey 1,427 registered voters on October 4 & 5, 2016.

    The Tyler Clementi Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to ending online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities. The Clementi family founded it to honor Tyler Clementi, whose death after cyber bullying in 2010 became a global news story highlighting the dangerous consequences of bullying.

    Public Policy Polling is a research company based in Raleigh, North Carolina that uses interactive voice response technology to conduct surveys for politicians & political organizations, unions, consultants, and businesses.

  • Featured Post

    27 Teams of High School Students Produce Short Films about Cyberbullying for the All-American High School Film Festival

    In early 2016, the Tyler Clementi Foundation embarked on an exciting partnership with AT&T and the All American High School Film Festival to raise awareness about cyberbullying by inviting high school filmmakers from around the country to create original films on the topic.

    With only 72 hours in New York City, each of 27 teams of teenagers produced their original film. This youth focused, youth driven and youth created content is raw, authentic and valuable, revealing how bullying is viewed by teens today, and how it affects all involved, from the victim, to the bully, to the bystander.

    Now, you can vote for the short film that you like best as part of the Public Choice Award (with a $5,000 cash prize)! We invite you to view them all here and cast your vote for your favorite film.


    One of these talented teams will also be invited to join us at our Upstander Legacy Celebration on November 14th! Help us congratulate them on their hard work by joining us at this year’s event.

    Our partnership with AT&T and the All American High School Film Festival highlights the power that the arts have to engage and educate people about the effects of bullying and cyberbullying. Together, through the power of collaboration and the strength of #Upstanders like you, we can continue our work to end online and offline bullying, harassment and humiliation.


  • Featured Post

    Lana’s Story: When Failure to Respond to Bullying Drove Me to Suicide

    Lana's Story

    If you are facing any kind of stress, harassment or feelings of hopelessness, don’t wait another moment to reach out for help. Here are some great organizations that can help you now: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), The Trevor Project (866-488-7386) and the Jed Foundation

    I’m really questioning the stories with schools filled with best friends and adults who are willing to help. The truth is that if you decide to speak up about bullying at your school, you should really think hard about who you can truly trust. Just because someone carries an Anti-Bullying Specialist title doesn’t mean that she cares what happens to you or will be honest. That’s what I learned. No matter how small your issues are to others, someone should be there for you. But your oldest friends could turn on you. That’s what I learned.

    I was bullied at West Morris Central High School in New Jersey for almost two years. The bully didn’t punch or kick or hit, but she constantly cut me down and cut down my friends behind their backs. I was scared. I faked illness to cut school. It was the Captain of the school team. She was 17 and I was new, just a freshman at 14, so I didn’t say anything. But then my parents figured it out.

    The Coach was informed, but she ignored eight written and verbal complaints. When we finally got past the Coach, the school said the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act prevented them from doing anything. The toughest anti-bullying law in the country, the one they passed after Tyler Clementi’s death, was the whole problem. The only thing they were allowed to do was to launch an official investigation, but the bully would definitely be cleared if I didn’t file a written complaint. So, my parents and I filed a written complaint. All we wanted was for someone to tell the other girl to leave me alone.

    Make Your School Free of Bullying starting on #Day1

    Download your free two page #Day1 Toolkit with more information about the Day 1 Campaign: how it works, how it will help your school and how you can get in touch with us to share your Day 1 Stories!

    The ABS skipped our appointments three times in a row without telling me. I even saw the bully walk right in to speak with her during my time slot. So, when the ABS finally grabbed me later and told me how timid I was, my nerves were destroyed.

    It gets worse. She asked me to tell her what happened but kept interrupting me. I wasn’t allowed to say anything that was in the written complaint. I hardly got a word out before she changed the subject and started talking about my grades and how, actually, I was stressed about my grades. “No,” I told her. Then she asked if my mother was putting too much pressure on me. My mother? How did she even come up in this conversation? “No,” I told her. So then she said I could come to her for counseling about my academic stress if I wanted and told me to write my story on a piece of paper, but I couldn’t repeat anything in the written complaint. A few minutes later the bell rang, and I had to go take a test. She wouldn’t let me finish later.

    A few days later, I heard from a friend that the ABS was calling people in to ask about things and to ask about my mother. My mother? Again? Why is the ABS asking about my mother? The next thing I knew, the ABS emailed me to ask me the names of everyone I had been speaking to about the complaint. It had just been this one friend who contacted me, because she was being a friend. But I said nothing. Later I found out that the bully told the ABS about this girl. The ABS punished my friend for talking to me about bullying. So, first I was too scared to talk to my friends about bullying, and then, the ABS ordered me not to talk about it at all and punished any friend that talked to me. It would have been nice to have friends or just someone to talk to; I wouldn’t have any friends for much longer.

    The ABS interviewed 13 witnesses about an incident that was 10 months ago at the time. The coach managed to see nothing and another six couldn’t remember things. Another six did back me up and several noticed that the Captain and me didn’t get along afterwards. I have their written statements now. However, the ABS wrote that ‘not one’ witness corroborated my telling of the incident. The official verdict was that I had made up the whole thing.

    Naturally, the ABS told the bully first, and the bully told all my friends before I even knew of the decision. By the end of that day, I didn’t have friends left. Who could be friends with me when the school told them I was a liar? The ABS’s report was a loaded gun in the bully’s hands, and the bully used it to make me an outcast at school.

    The bullying spread. It had been just one girl who was making me miserable, but now, it was her, her friends and all my former friends who were making me suicidal. The coach also tried to make my life unlivable as well and kick me off the team. She told me and my parents to stay away from the bully, but the same coach let the bully do anything. The bully wouldn’t let me talk to anyone at all without coming over so I would have to leave. I was totally alone, even in a crowded gym. It worked. I quit. But nasty rumors followed me and I was miserable, and I was alone. I didn’t know where to turn. I decided the only way out was to end my life. The sad thing is that I didn’t decide to fight back until they locked me up and strip-searched me in the emergency ward which was its own horror.

    Even when I got back to school, the school wouldn’t do anything at all. The bully’s friend started harassing me. For example she told me she hated me with a burning passion and that no one liked me. In front of witnesses. Admitted it to the teacher. But the school said that was not bullying.

    Now, I’m telling my story on YouTube, but the school is still hostile. They said that my email to the other students about bullying violated the acceptable use policy for email. It turns out that anti-bullying is not an approved educational objective at West Morris Central; I have that in writing. So, my experience is that I’m really and truly not allowed to talk about bullying in school. The statewide Week of Respect is coming up soon. That’s when we all get together and talk about how bullying is bad and how adults always do the right thing. That’s not what I learned.

    But from experience, I can tell you that what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. Since my videos came out, several other students in school have come to me with similar stories. I really think there’s at least one other student in real trouble because our ABS will not even take notice of what has happened to her. My life would have been a lot easier if I’d just shut up and suffered the bullying. At the same time, it’s so clear that what’s happened is wrong. I don’t know how this will end, but I can’t stop now because I know that’s not me. My school really doesn’t believe that bullying is something to be concerned about. The next bullied kid might really kill herself, and I can’t let that happen.

    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.

  • Featured Post

    Meet Upstander Alexis Flame

    Upstander Alexis Flame

    Can you explain why the issue of bullying is important to you and the Imperial Court?
    In my youth, I was also bullied. I believe the solution is usually bigger than just standing up to one person. If we stand together as a community, we can have a larger and more effective impact on this issue.

    The Imperial Court is a much beloved institution of charity and support in the LGBT community. How would you explain the Imperial Court to people outside of the LGBT community?
    The Court is a social, fundraising organization which has raised and donated back into the community over $2-million for social service and health support organizations. In addition to our own fundraising, we often lend our support and talent to other organizations in their ventures by performing, volunteering or just adding beauty and style! Our members are people who have chosen to make a commitment, get involved and make a difference in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Our membership is broad and varied: lawyers, carpenters, therapists, ministers, stockbrokers, hairdressers, marketers, performers, accountants, teachers, florists, antique dealers, jewelers and more!
    What elicited your interest in becoming part of the Court?
    The Imperial Court is a great organization – a lot of fabulous people doing wonderful things and giving back to the community. Looking from the outside in, I wanted to be a part of it. Over the years, the LGBT community has given me so much. I wanted to give back to the community that has made me so popular over the years. By fundraising for these charities, I have the hope that things will be better and easier for the next generation.

    What can people expect at the Nobles’ Show?
    My co-host, Ambrosia Amore, and I have garnered a lot of great donations which will be raffled off to raise money. We have also gathered a cast of excellent performers to bring in a large audience. We are thrilled to have James Clementi speak, in person, to raise awareness and generate more interest and more fundraisers for the Tyler Clementi Foundation.
    If we stand together as a community,  we can  have a  larger and more effective impact.Young LGBT are disproportionately bullied, and many of us are familiar with the high rates of homelessness for LGBT youth. Why should all communities be working to provide positive spaces for LGBT youth?
    Everyone deserves a chance. I think that it’s important our community provide a good example and safe spaces for our youth. It’s okay to be who you are in your skin.
    Do you think LGBT people can be bullies? If so, how? 
    Yes, of course. As we’re trying to prove to the world that LGBT people are just like everyone else, and sadly, we have the same flaws and a lot of the same ways to bully each other.
    How can LGBT people work to improve safe space in the community for people of all races, religions, etc.?
    That’s a big question and I think we’re just at the beginning of this. Awareness is a vital and good place to begin the dialogue.
    What resources do you think a person should have available to respond to bullying?
    I think firstly, a sense of self-confidence and knowing one’s self-worth is a healthy place to begin. As a society, I see we’re trying to lay the ground work on the issue of bullying. I wish there were easy answers but we’re just beginning to tackle this head on.

    Viscountess Alexis Flame of the ICNY (also known as Alexis Flame the Horror Diva) is a member of the LGBT community that’s trying to make a difference and reinvest in the community that created and continues to support Alexis’ success. Follow her on Facebook.

    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.

  • Featured Post

    James’ Story: An Unsuspecting Victim Meets An Unexpected Villain

    James Story

    From the moment a student enrolls, school becomes our second home. We create connections with our peers, mentor relationships with our teachers, and we learn the hallways of our schools inside and out. School serves as a refuge from conflicts in our personal lives, and sometimes the only solace we have is the familiar classroom of our favorite teacher.

    Teachers are our de-facto parents for seven hours of the day. A teacher is who you run to for help when you’re being bullied.

    But what if the bully is your teacher?

    I was a freshman in a new school when my Biology teacher became my bully. In my personal life, I was struggling with my transgender identity. I was still coming out to my friends and family when I stepped into her classroom.

    Make Your School Free of Bullying starting on #Day1

    Download your free two page #Day1 Toolkit with more information about the Day 1 Campaign: how it works, how it will help your school and how you can get in touch with us to share your Day 1 Stories!

    Under the guise of a unit on chromosomes, we began to discuss trans identity. The instructor shared her thoughts about how trans people were ‘freaks of nature’. What began as a simple conversation rocketed into a Google image search and what seemed like a slow-motion slideshow of every trans person she could find online. My class laughed and pointed. They used slurs that made my skin crawl. None of it would have happened if my teacher had not started and encouraged the conversation.

    My eyes stung and my heart weighed a hundred pounds. My teacher never singled me out during the conversation, but she didn’t have to make me feel alienated and wounded. I felt bullied.

    As I left my classroom that day after our hour and a half lesson on why my identity was weird and wrong, I felt distinctly unsafe. My teacher was no longer someone I could talk to when I was called names in the hall, or laughed at during lunch. I was an unsuspecting victim. She was an unexpected villain.

    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.

  • Featured Post

    Expert Tips: Creating Cyber-Mentors to End Bullying


    How Cyber-Mentors Reduce Cyberbullying

    Youth today spend more time on their digital devices than doing anything else except sleeping. It’s like home to them. According to a recent Common Sense survey, teens spend an average of 9 hours per day using media — which means they are digitally connected for most of their waking hours!

    With this much time spent in cyber-life, it’s imperative for youth to learn how to incorporate their (positive) offline skills into their online lives. So where do we begin?

    Teens and Their Peers

    We all know how important peers are to teens. Just as in previous generations, young people want to be accepted and liked by their peers. Today youth connect with their peers online, so it’s additionally important to them to have virtual likeability – remember, online is a central part of their lives – so they check in on their social platforms to see how many LIKEs they have accumulated or who has commented on their posts. This is the new norm for youth today.

    When those of us who grew up before “tech” were in elementary school, there was typically a buddy system. We looked after and took care of our buddy. It’s time to bring that useful practice back again — online.

    A recent study reveals that cyberbullying is more common between friends (current or former) than strangers. So it’s high time for teens to become “cyber-mentors” for each other.

    Teen-to-Teen Outreach Online: Becoming A Cyber-Mentor

    What is a mentor?

    A mentor is a person or friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behaviors. A cyber-mentor guides a person or friend in cyberspace by modeling good social media etiquette and online digital behavior.

    Cyber-mentors are friends who are there for you (offline and online) – for example, maybe a friend posts something questionable and it could reflect upon his or her online reputation negatively. That’s when a cyber-mentor steps in.

    Or maybe a friend isn’t exactly less experienced online, but is just feeling less-than-adequate. You can also think of cyber-mentoring as an opportunity to step in when a friend is having a bad day and needs a cyber-hug.

    Cyber-Mentors Meet Cyberbullies

    Through cyber-mentoring, a teen can feel encouraged and empowered to make a real difference online. While reports of cyberbullying continue to make headlines, there are also many stories of teens and tweens breaking the mold and becoming upstanders.

    Remember Kristen Layne who was cyberbullied for her weight when she posted a picture of herself on Facebook in a prom dress she was selling? It didn’t take long before a cyber-army of friends and strangers started sending uplifting messages of support to Kristen via social media.

    A cyber-mentor, like the ones who supported Kristen, stand-up to the perpetrators of online cruelty, they post positive comments to offset online negativity, and they stop cyberbullies in their tracks.

    It’s kids like these who determine what is cool verses not cool online.

    Cyber-Mentors: A New Team Sport

    Adults often worry about how impressionable teens can be, and how easily influenced by they are by their peers, and usually this is viewed as a negative thing. But it can also be largely positive too. Banding together to be cyber-mentors, teens can influence and encourage one another and become a very powerful, positive force when it comes to online life.

    Being a cyber-mentor is easy and effective, and it can help make our teens’ (and everyone else’s) online experiences positive ones.

    About the Expert

    tcf-post2174-expert-sue-scheffFounder and President of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts Inc. (P.U.R.E.™), Sue Scheff has been leveraging her personal experiences to help others through her organization since 2001. She is a Family Internet Safety Advocate determined to save other parents from encountering the same challenges and issues she faced when searching for a safe, effective program for her own daughter during her troubled teen years. Sue Scheff established P.U.R.E.™ as an advocacy organization to educate parents about the schooling and program options available to pre-teens and teenagers experiencing behavioral problems. You can find her blog here. She is also available on Twitter or Facebook.

    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.

  • Featured Post

    Meet Upstander Mya Taylor

    Upstander Mya Taylor
    You appear to be a confident, strong person. Have you always had such confidence?
    No, I have not always been so confident. I’ve had so much abuse in life that my confidence level was poor, but one day I had to realize that I’m a very special person.

    What do you do on the days where you need extra support?
    When I need extra support, I turn to my fiancee. He’s always there to keep me going.

    In your wonderful acceptance speech at the Independent Spirit Awards, you encouraged Hollywood to recognize the diversity of transgender talent and most importantly to include them in their projects. Why would you say it is important to approach media representations with an eye toward diversity and inclusion?
    In life, you never know what you’re going to get until you open up and take chances. Give everyone a chance no matter what that person’s background is. You never know what you’ll get.

    One-third of LGBTQ students skip school to avoid bullies. Did you ever encounter an experience where you or a friend of yours was bullied? Can you share a little about that?
    In school, there was one guy that didn’t like me because I was gay at that time. I found that when you are open and honest about yourself with people, then there’s nothing that they can do or say to hurt you.

    The last few years have seen a number of transwomen of color enter the public conversation, from Laverne Cox to Janet Mock. How do you feel that has affected young transpeople outside of the urban cities? What areas of the community do we need to spend more time developing resources and support?
    Yes. Visibility is the most important thing. Opportunity is what we need to work on across the country. Not just in film and TV but in all jobs.

    How do you feel the words we use play a role in building or inhibiting community?
    I think it’s always important to be respectful, kind and generous. Just ask people how they would like to be addressed.

    With all your recent success, it means a lot more media attention and social media attention. How have people online been mostly supportive to you? Did you ever experience cyberbullies (or trolls) trying to muck up your communications with your fans?
    Yes, I have experienced cyber bullies, but it doesn’t bother me. Some things can be hurtful, but I feel that if they have enough time to sit and be mean to me online then their life must not be that great.

    How do we stop contributing to negativity on the internet?
    Ignore it.

    What do you think we all should be doing to create safe space for people of different cultural, sexual or religious identities? What can we change the culture to do better?
    Look at each person as an individual and treat them as an individual.

    If you could say one thing to anyone who is the victim of bullying, what would it be?
    Reach me on Facebook, and I will help you through it. We react to bullying by pulling together.

    Mya Taylor is an award-winning actress for the film Tangerine. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.

  • Featured Post

    Summer Concert Series Raises $30K to Prevent Bullying

    Major musical talent came together this summer on Cape Cod to raise $30K for bullying prevention work done by the Tyler Clementi Foundation. Producer Mark Cortale organized a summer-long concert series to help raise funds for the Tyler Clementi Foundation with star-studded performances in both Provincetown and Martha’s Vineyard.

    These performances raised an incredible $30,000 for the Foundation, which will be put towards the organization’s research-based, dynamic anti-bullying programming, such as #Day1 and the Tyler Clementi Institute for CyberSafety at the New York Law School.

    Mark Cortale, Patti Lupone and TCF Executive Director Sean Kosofsky at the Series' Final Performance

    Six of the concerts were hosted and music directed by Sirius XM Radio Star Seth Rudetsky and the performances included:

    Town Hall (Provincetown, MA):

    • May 29, 2016: INDIGO GIRLS
    • July 3, 2016: CHEYENNE JACKSON
    • July 11, 2016 – VANESSA WILLIAMS
    • July 29 & 30, 2016 – JUDY KUHN
    • August 7, 2016: MATTHEW MORRISON
    • August 16, 2016: KRISTIN CHENOWETH
    • August 21, 2016: AUDRA MCDONALD and WILL SWENSON
    • September 4, 2016: PATTI LUPONE

    Martha’s Vineyard PAC (Martha’s Vineyard, MA)

    • July 16 – MEGAN HILTY
    • August 14 – KRISTIN CHENOWETH
    • August 22 – AUDRA MCDONALD
    • September 2 – PATTI LUPONE

    The Town Hall concerts in Provincetown were sponsored by Cape Air, Anchor Inn Beach House, Ptown Bikes, Loveland, Wildflower, Ross’ Grill and the Provincetown Gym. The Martha’s Vineyard concerts were sponsored by Cape Air, Harbor View Hotel and Hy-Line Cruises.

    Want to support the work of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, donate here.

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Where do you stand?

How would you respond to a bully today?

  • Talk back to the bully (42%, 23 Votes)
  • Tell someone (25%, 14 Votes)
  • Physically retaliate (18%, 10 Votes)
  • Walk away (15%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 55

Thank you for voting! Now, it's time to take action to prevent bullying!
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