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Monday 4 October 2010

Ellen DeGeneres takes a stand against gay bullies. The world joins her.

Watching the last five seconds of the closing segment from the Ellen DeGeneres show earlier today I was already in tears.

So I re-wound - through the power of Foxtel IQ - and then really watched and really listened.

I had a lump in my throat as I watched the heartfelt plea from Ellen - one of the most high profile, openly gay people in the entertainment industry - talk about teen suicide as a result of homosexual taunts.

Nothing gets my blood boiling more than bullying of any sort. From a young age, I have always detested people preying on the vulnerable. Once, as a 15 year old, I noticed some extended family members making fun of a young woman (also part of our extended family) with disabilities and I was so angry I pulled them aside and told them to stop it. I really couldn't cope. She was a human being with feelings, too.

I recall that at my pre-wedding girl's night out there was a shy young man with disabilites whom everyone was ignoring. I decided to sidestep the fools trying to crack onto me and dance with this man. It made his night. And mine.

When my son was bullied by a child at his daycare - he grabbed my son and gave him deep scratches under both eyes - I was so distraught. The wonderful women at the daycare knew exactly how to deal with it, but all I kept thinking was, 'Is this the start of my children's exposure to bullying? At - gulp - age two!'

I feel the exact same way about people bullying others because of their sexuality. Seriously, people... unacceptable. Are we still in the dark ages? Haven't we evolved enough to accept everyone, whoever they are? Whoever they happen to love.

I wrote on Ruby Rose's experiences with gay bullying here:


In the clip recorded by Ellen she speaks of the recent suicide of US university student Tyler Clementi, who was allegedly the victim of anti-gay bullying.

“Something must be done,” she says. “This needs to be a wake-up call to everyone: that teenage bullying and teasing is an epidemic in this country, and the death rate is climbing.

Ellen continues her message by saying: "I want anyone out there who feels different and alone to know that I know how you feel."

She ends the clip with a gut-wrenching message:

"Things will get easier, people's minds will change. And you should be alive to see it."

MTV - in conjunction with actress Brittany Snow - just launched the Love Is Louder campaign to raise awareness about the issue.

“Love Is Louder is a movement that is hopefully going to bring some awareness and make some noise when it comes to teens who are feeling suicidal or even just sad, outcasts, and being bullied, and really feel like they have nowhere to turn to,” says Brittany.

And here is what some other stars had to say.

Nicki Minaj: “I would encourage my gay fans to be fighters and to be brave. People face difficulties, no matter who you are. I know that suicide is never the answer and I know that things always get better. So I’m supporting you guys. I love you very, very much and for the people who don’t love you, they need help.”

She added: "When you're mean and when you ridicule people, it's a sign of your own insecurity."

Neil Patrick Harris: “If you’re getting bullied and feeling like you’re on the outskirts, it gets better. Because, when you get older, you find that people are actually drawn to individuals with different points of view who are proud of who they are and who make interesting and different and unique choices for them — at least I am.”

Lance Bass: “I was really shocked [by Tyler's death] — so many suicides so recently. You know the school year has just begun, so that obviously has something to do with it. It makes me so sad. It’s an unnecessary thing to do.”

Abdul took to Twitter on Friday and said, "Tyler Clementi's suicide cuts into the heart of every teacher, parent, student, child, & adult. CHILDREN are DYING."

Not every celebrity offered heartfelt sympathy on the issue.

Incredibly, rapper 50 Cent tweeted on Wednesday, "If you a man and your over 25 and you don’t eat p***y just kill yourself damn it. The world will be a better place. Lol."

It is unclear if the tweet was directly related to Clementi. But on Friday, he Tweeted that he was just making a joke about oral sex and that it had turned into an anti-gay statement. "I have nothing against people who choose an alternative life," he said on Twitter.

Clementi posted the chilling status message, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry" on his Facebook page just eight minutes before he plunged to his death from a 604-foot bridge on September 22.

His body was identified in the water just north of the bridge on Thursday.

You can watch Ellen's plea here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B-hVWQnjjM

And if you see someone bullying, stop them.

Photos courtesy: NY Daily News.

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