Trinity United Church of Christ showed the documentary, “Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case that Made History.” The film chronicles the story of a student who stood up to his anti-gay tormentor and filed a federal lawsuit against his school district. The suit led to a landmark federal court decision holding that school officials could be held accountable for not stopping the harassment and abuse of gay students. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Mental Health Association, anti-gay bullying is frequently directed at straight students who are perceived as gay. “We want to convey that bystanders have an ability to combat bullying in all of its forms. If they fail to do so then the bystander condones the bullying,” said Ann Rotz, the event coordinator.
Katy Butler harnessed the power of the Web to gather more than 500,000 supporters for a petition aimed at allowing a wider audience to see “Bully,” a movie that could be a powerful force for the anti-bullying movement.
The 17-year-old junior at Greenhills High in Ann Arbor has been part of a grassroots campaign for the documentary “Bully” that’s taken her to New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. She’s rubbed shoulders with Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep and been interviewed by Anderson Cooper. On daytime TV, Ellen DeGeneres told her, “I’m proud of you.”
“I want to go into political activism,” says Butler, who was bullied herself several years ago.
I have a huge hole in my heart for humanity. There is a void inside that is a result of the hate in this world. I have done what I can to keep this pain from consuming my life, but I just can’t stand by and watch. Turning the other cheek is not as easy as it used to be… especially now that I am a mom.
Watching and waiting for things to change, I’ve put my money where my mouth is and taken to a life of activism too. The issues that impact me the most are the Defense of Marriage Act here in the U.S. and Hate Crimes against sexual minorities worldwide. I’ve kept an eye on the headlines and networked online to find where I can help and offer my skills. After doing my part and seeing little progress on the issues close to me, I was starting to feel a little hopeless.
When I recently read about the Democratic National Committee LGBT Leadership Council fund raising dinner I sought out a more productive alternative, and found a way to make a HUGE impact not just here in the U.S. but globally as well.
There is a film crew working on a documentary that tells the story of hate crimes against gays and lesbians in Brazil, a country that leads the world in these attacks; in hopes that the film will bring about significant change in Brazil and throughout the world. The film is being endorsed by Amnesty International and UNICEF, and will be shown at The Sundance Film Festival along with 18 other international film festivals.
The majority of crimes in the country are affecting children and teens.
The film is receiving story after story of abuse, rape, and more. Here is one such letter written to the film producers recently…
I hope this is the correct email address for the documentary
movie. There have been some talks in the chat groups but I didn’t
copy the conversation about it.
This is not easy like I thought it would be.
Yesterday was my birthday. I turned seventeen years old. I hate
birthday parties for me. My mother calls my neighbors and invites
everybody she can to our house. I don’t know too many of the
people but my mother says I should be friends with them. She
always invites a lot of boys.
I think they act stupid with me. They’re really stupid and ask me
to kiss them or they’re very mean and tell me I’m not like a
I know they hate me. I know everybody hates me! Maybe not my
friends at the gas station. No they don’t hate me, but everyone
Everyone at my school! Yes, they hate me so much. When my teacher
sees me walking, he always calls me “Boy”. He hates me. “Are you
a girl or a boy? Watch where you are walking! Boy! You are sick”.
Ana likes me. She’s the only one at school.
She moved with her family here in the start of last year. When I
saw her asking for directions at the bus stop I helped her. Then
she invited me to have dinner at her house.
I wish I had her family! Her parents were so nice. So opposite
from my parents. One day at her house, we kissed. She said it was
okay. Her parents didn’t say anything bad when she told them. I
remember it finally made me feel good to be alive.
That’s when I asked her to meet my friend’s at the gas station.
We went there almost every day after I have dinner at Ana’s
house. It was our place to hang out. I knew that everyone would
like her and they did. We don’t have to hide there because the
local people use the station in town.
Two months ago, Ana was with me and my friends at the gas
One boy from church named Eric came to put gas in his car. I
didn’t know if he saw me, but I could feel my heart beat too
All my friends were having a good time after he left, but I had a
terrible feeling inside.
Ana’s dad didn’t pick us up, so we walked home.
I heard a car very slow come close to us, “Hey boys”. I saw it
was Eric in his car with two other guys from my mom’s church with
I said very low to Ana “run”, but she was telling me I had to be
calm. When I heard the doors of the car open, I felt a shot
inside me and I ran so fast. Faster than I ever had.
I looked for Ana but the two guys were holding her arms and Eric
was tearing her dress.
I am not a big person. I am skinny but that makes me fast and
when I saw Ana, I ran back to her with all my energy and I kicked
Eric between his legs.
I saw one boy let go of Ana’s arm and when he did this she shook
herself loose from the other boy. Then she ran faster that I
think she’s run in whole entire life.
I think the boy who was holding Ana or maybe someone else kicked
my back because I fell on my knees like in a prayer position. I
felt a foot kick my stomach. My head started to feel very hot
after that and I think I fell asleep.
I woke up later but only with my eyes. I could feel my face was
glued to the street. Maybe because my blood was drying on the
ground so it was hard to lift my head.
There was no sensation in my entire body. Like you could put a
needle through me and I know I wouldn’t feel anything.
I tried to walk, but I fell many times.
Suddenly, I opened my eyes again and I was inside the hospital.
A nurse came and told me that a couple called an ambulance for
me. She told me that there was a policeman in the hospital, if I
wanted to talk to him she would call him for me.
I remember he looked very clean. Too clean to be a regular police
officer. Especially because we were in the hospital.
He told the nurse he had to speak with me in private and she left
me with him. Something felt bad about the way he closed the door
behind her. Then I felt very afraid because he locked the door.
He came very close to my bed and put his hands on me. He said
that Eric was a good boy from church and that his father was
going to be the mayor soon.
I said to him that Eric raped me with his friends.
He laughed so loud. It was like bells in my head. I felt like I
saw the devil in his face. I don’t remember really crying, but I
do remember how the cuts on my face burned.
He put his hands under the blanket and he touched my thighs very
close to my-
He kept touching me. He said, “you didn’t get raped, dumb girl.
You know you want to be a boy and boys don’t rape boys”.
When he left the room I wanted to die. I didn’t speak to any
person after that. Not even to say “hello”.
My father took me home. He stopped the car in front of our house
to talk with me. “I knew this was gonna happen with the way you
I never saw my father cry. Before he got out of the car he said,
“it would have been better if you died”.
In my bedroom I looked in the mirror to see my body after
everything. Like a Frankenstein monster.
My shoulder looked like a quilt my mother made.
Leftover pieces of me sewn together to try making me whole again.
Then I cried because I think I noticed that I have never been
Except with Ana.
I dialed her house number so fast. A million thoughts started to
grow in my mind when her mother answered.
She told me they sent Ana to Sao Paulo and were selling their
house to move. Her voice sounded tired.
“I’m so sorry for what happened to you. Ana told me you saved her
life and for this I will pray for you forever. I hope you survive
this and leave to a better place one day. I’m sorry I can’t help
but your parents have threatened to take us to court if we speak
with you more.”
Now I understand what people mean when they say their heart
breaks because I am very sure I felt mine begin to crack with her
I didn’t get a chance to say anything. Ana’s mom hung up the
I’m not very sure about what to do. My mother says I should
pretend all of this didn’t happen to me and maybe I can go out
with a boy from our church now.
I was very mad… I am very mad because she knows the boys who did
this to me. They are from our church!
I hate to be such a terrible problem for everyone.
Maybe it’s better if I am dead. I’m scared now.
I don’t think I’m strong enough for this life.
The film crew is taking a trip out to Brazil NEXT WEEK May 27th and are still open to taking Investors, Sponsors, and Donations.
You can read more about the film on their MySpace page, which also offers stickers and tees.
If you are interested in Investor Information or Sponsorship Options you can contact Dan Reynolds via email HERE.
You can also make a standard Donation to the project at iLiveKind.org (simply note that the donation is for the “Our World” project).
You can be assured that any funds donated or invested into this project are going to a global cause and could have an impact on the position of the United Nations and other leadership organizations worldwide… We CAN make a difference!
Julie Phineas is a work at home mom of 2 who lives in Southern California. You can find out more about her by visiting her page on MySpace.
the heart of the father
terry mitchell nani, director/writer
jeffry scott breglio, producer
PROJECT: “The Heart of the Father” ©
RE: Open call for voluntary participants
Understanding the unique plight of the gay father – his journey through traditional marriage, and his courageous decision to embark on the path of “coming out” and redefing his family – a team at NaniLoaFilms is putting together a documentary for festival submission.
We seek men, all ages, who are fathers, openly gay, single or partnered (possibly one story line of such a gentleman still in a supportive, traditional marriage), who have children of all ages that would be willing to participate in the making of a documentary that highlighted portions of their journey, it’s significance and impact on their lives and the lives of their loved ones – mostly, their children.
This would require a day of shooting at their locale, possibly in their homes, with on camera interviews of themselves and their significant others (children, at times, as well). Shots may also be taken of these men just living their lives. Our desire is to share the “everyday-ness” and normality of this situation, yet highlight some of the additional nuances and challenges that come with gay fatherhood, custody issues, socio-cultural obstacles and hurdles, and any other angle that will bring this issue to mainstream.
A contract would have to be signed bestowing full rights of use to NaniLoaFilms, with appropriate non-compete, release and permission clauses. A back-end, deferred stipend may be paid to participants, based on commercial appeal and success, not to exceed $250.00 for the day of the shoot.
Interested men should contact Terry or Jeff at the above email address briefly describing their story, it’s nuances, and the inclusion of a family styled “portrait” or pic that shows the faces of Dad and his kids very well. This effort will reach and enlighten, hopefully, millions of people, and for this effort to engage you and your family, we thank you in advance.
Hi from Australia. Late last year (2007) we worked with National Geographic in Australia to present a story of how we (Rodney and Jeff) became dads to a wonderful baby boy called Ethan.
You can view it on You Tube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSayHl535HE
More information at www.gaydadsaustralia.com.