Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-10-02
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Bullying and suicide discussed at IPA symposium
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Helen Adamopoulos

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Dr. Gary Howell recalls students at his college lighting a candle for Matthew Shepard, a young man who was attacked and ultimately died because of his sexuality, in the fall of 1998. Twelve years later, in the wake of a recent string of gay teen suicides, Howell—who is now the Illinois Psychological Association ( IPA ) sexual orientation issues section chair—laments that bullying and violence directed at LGBT individuals are still problems. He discussed the issue as a presenter at the IPA event "LGBTQ Youth Symposium: Addressing the Challenges of Bullying, Suicide and Homophobia" at the Center on Halsted Nov. 30.

"I find myself more and more and more irritable and angry that this is still going on today," Howell said.

Psychologists, educators, students and outreach workers attended the symposium to learn about bullying and homophobia. Chris Mallette, Chicago's director of community safety initiatives and the keynote speaker, described his experience dealing with youth violence throughout the city.

He called dealing with LGBTQ youth a "very complex, very complicated" issue. Keeping them in school and making sure outreach services are available to them are both things the city needs to work on, he said. He and other city officials are collaborating with advocacy groups such as Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth to find solutions to youth violence and the problems LGBTQ kids face.

"When we look at the LGBTQ population, their sense of self-worth is threatened every day," Mallette said.

Symposium attendee Leslie Wood, director of social services for Perspectives Charter Schools, said after the keynote speech that she liked hearing about Mallette's practical experience dealing with youth violence. Wood said she came to the symposium to get information and make connections that would help her form a gay/straight alliance ( GSA ) .

"I thought it was absolutely great to appoint this guy who was so down to earth," Wood said.

Sarah Casper, an outreach and prevention specialist for the teen social service agency Response, said she appreciated that the symposium featured speakers from a variety of agencies and organizations.

"I think it's great how they're doing a multi-faceted approach," Casper said.

Illinois Safe Schools Alliance Executive Director Shannon Sullivan spoke to symposium attendees about teaching school officials about homophobia. She discussed why schools need to address LGBTQ issues, quoting statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and the Chicago Public Schools Youth Risk Behavior Survey stating that lesbian, gay or bisexual students are almost four times as likely than their non-gay peers to be in a physical fight that requires medical attention; there are also four straight students who are bullied ( for every LGBT student who is bullied ) because they are perceived as gay.

Concerning how educators can make their school a safer place for LGBT kids, Sullivan offered the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program as an example. The program involves creating GSAs, training teachers and changing policies; over the course of six years, it successfully reduced the likelihood of lesbian, gay and bisexual students skipping classes and being threatened or injured by a weapon at school.

"Adults have to set the standard; [ that's ] the first thing," Sullivan said. "We have to communicate our values to young people."

The symposium also addressed the systemic issues associated with homophobia. Former IPA President Dr. Armand Cerbone said that the stigma that still surrounds homosexuality is a powerful force. Comparing its effects to post-traumatic stress disorder, he said it negatively impacts mental health. Cerbone also noted that living in a heterosexist environment can hurt gay people's relationships and even their sex lives.

"We know it gets better, but not without a great deal of social, legal, community support," Cerbone said. "When you have data and you have science on your side, eventually things change."

The symposium had a $25 registration fee for attendees seeking Continuing Education credits. Howell said that all proceeds would go to organizations working with LGBTQ youth, such as the Trevor Project.

For more information about the IPA, visit .

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Study says bias experiences affect suicides in trans adults 2019-09-10 - New analysis of data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS) found that more than half (51.2 percent) of respondents who had experienced ...

Gay News

AFSP Illinois Suicide Prevention Walk Sept. 21 2019-08-27 - The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's ( AFSP ) Out of the Darkness walk will take place Saturday, Sept. 21, at 11 a.m. ...

Gay News

Reports: Man to testify about role in suicide-murder plot 2019-07-22 - An Oxford University official will testify against a Northwestern University researcher with whom he carried out a murder plot as part of a ...

Gay News

Trevor Project gala raises more than $2M 2019-06-26 - On June 17, The Trevor Project hosted its 2019 TrevorLIVE New York gala at Cipriani Wall Street. With actress/comedian/writer Nicole Byer and actor/director/digital ...

Gay News

Trevor Project survey shows link between suicide, conversion therapy 2019-06-11 - The Trevor Project released a new survey showing that 57 percent of young people who experienced conversion therapy attempted suicide in the last ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Teen suicide, scholarship loss, discrimination cases 2019-04-23 - reported that Alabama high-school student Nigel Shelby died by suicide after being the target of homophobic bullying, according to reports that began ...

Gay News

National Black Justice Coalition Statement on Nigel Shelby Suicide: "This Must End" 2019-04-22 - WASHINGTON — Over the weekend it was reported that Nigel Shelby, a high schooler in Huntsville, Alabama, died by suicide. In response to ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Teen PrEP bill, conversion therapy, Laverne Cox, murder-suicide 2019-04-09 - Maryland lawmakers have approved a bill allowing minors to receive pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, without obtaining parental consent as a way to prevent ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf 2019-03-24 - Playwright: Ntozake Shange At: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Tickets: 773-753-4472;; $50-$74. Runs through: April 14 Ntozake Shange's death ...

Gay News

Steans works to update state's suicide prevention strategy 2019-03-07 - SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Heather Steans ( D-Chicago ) spoke at a press conference today with leaders from the Illinois chapter of the ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.