While bullying is not an exclusively LGBT issue, it does pose a unique and serious set of concerns for this community. As Bullying Prevention Month comes to an end, Michael Anft reports good news in The Chronicle of Philanthropy: The urgency of the anti-bullying initiative, specifically as it pertains to LGBT folks, finally appears to be trickling into the consciousness of high-profile philanthropists and local communities alike.
A post on Sag Harbor Express announced that "134 teachers, parents, students, administrators and community members" became part of Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY). Local residents pledged $22,500 to support the potential opening of "an East End gay, lesbian and transgender community center as a resource for students" at a meeting which took place at East Hampton High School.
LIGALY Chief Executive Officer David Kilmnick emphasized the fact that many "LGBT youth [who are] bullied at school and not out to their families have no place where they feel they are in a safe and supportive environment."
The East End center would provide kids in such situations a place where they can be themselves, guaranteed. It "sounds so simple," Kilmnick reflects, "but it saves lives."
At the macro level of LGBT anti-bullying philanthropy, The Marcarthur Foundation gave a half a million dollars to Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation (BTWF) in February. The money from Macurther will fund new during and after school programs to raise awareness about bullying.
Gaga will also outfit a bus which will "travel the country to serve as a place where kids can go to feel connected and learn about civic engagement opportunities." Complete with on-staff mentors, the bus will accompany her on her 2013 musical tour.
Some of the fiercest struggles the anti-bullying movement encounters are online. Accordingly, the foundation's approach will also involve a robust social media component. BTWF intends to "establish a social media campaign to share the best practices... [and] engage teachers, policymakers, and parents in widespread discussion."
Ideally this issue will begin to pick up more grants, both large and small, as it continues to gain traction in public consciousness.