Since 1996, the National Day of Silence has been gaining national and international support. In 2008, nearly 8,000 middle and high schools registered at www.dayofsilence.org! Through breaking the silence events and awareness campaigns, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), the chief supporter of the Day of Silence, encourages participants to take action and fight anti-LGBT issues such as name-calling, bullying, harassment, and discrimination of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, and Transgender) youth. Creating awareness is important, but that is only one part against the anti-LGBT fight. In order to truly create a positive change, Day of Silence encourages schools to create and implement policies and programs where every student feels safe, not just the LGBT youth.
The startling statistics of bullying are far worse for the LGBT community.
The National Youth Foundation found:
Rosio DeLeon, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Lady Gent Code Magazine, is a shining example of breaking barriers and creating a positive atmosphere for the LGBT community. Here’s what the wise and spunky Latina had to say:
The magazine looks great! Here’s the million dollar question: What inspired you to create the LG Code magazine?
Awe thank you so much! We work extremely hard to deliver. To answer your question… One day we took a step to look at how people viewed us and how we felt about it. Lesbians and bisexual women are feeling more comfortable with coming out and don’t have many foundations to rely on how to be not just a lady, but a gentlewoman. We wanted to give our community a positive light and emphasize to lesbians to have manners, be successful, and have scruples. We wanted to walk away from the stereotypes that create almost a three-way reflection disastrous cycle.
You’ve coined the phrase “gentlewoman”, what does that mean exactly?
To us, a gentlewoman is a self aware individual that has scruples, chivalrous etiquette, and is a hopeless romantic. She does not necessarily have to be gay.
What has been the reception of LG Code now that you’re 6 months into publishing it?
Oh my gosh! The reception has been amazing. We have many women asking to have hard copies in Chicago, New York and various cities in California; they really want it on their coffee table—which I absolutely love! We have agents from Hollywood, organizations around the U.S., and individuals with pull that want to help however they can to help us grow.
I think the best thing has been having parents or lesbians say that their parents have more respect or have accepted them a little more because of our publication. It was also very cool when CBS was interested in having one of their actresses in our magazine—I thought that was really neat—even though we ended not using that individual. We are a family and we work very hard to give our best for every issue.
What stereotypes does the LGBT community face in a Hispanic/Latino community? How is LG Code striving to break those barriers?
The first stereotype that comes to mind is that homosexuals are sex-crazed individuals without scruples, which gives a horrible negativity towards the LGBT community. We are striving to break this barrier by informing readers on the sexual health as well as healthy relationships.
The second stereotype is the Latino culture of machisimo, which trickles down to our studs that feel like they must be strong and emotionless and to our femmes that feel they must be the feminine, fully emotional one. To break this stereotype, we try to empower our readers by letting them know that it is okay to have emotions and let women know that they can be the chivalrous one in the relationship.
Who are your LGBT role models and why?
My LGBT role models are Jane Lynch because she is absolutely hilarious as well as a strong and successful lesbian. I also admire Bejean Morgandorffer because he doesn’t allow himself to be labeled, he is true to himself and morals.I highly appreciate people that can fully be themselves without reserve or apologies.
To all the teens that are looking for LGBT role models, my advice is to look at someone who is happy, constructive and shines a light on the world or community.
What problems do you believe face the LGBT community today?
Bullying, coming out and accepting yourself in a modern society that is not 100% ready to embrace homosexuality. I believe these issues can only be addressed by first creating awareness [outside] the LGBT community, because then we’ll just be preaching to the choir. [We need to create awareness in] the ENTIRE community. Once awareness is established, we would need a few strong, confident and wise teens and young adults to set the example by standing up for themselves and others. These teens would need to not be some angelic figure, but an individual that loves and respects themselves enough to be a catalyst.
What advice would you give to teens in a community that lacks a LGBT community?
That’s a good question because there are so many LGBTers that feel lonely and isolated because they have no community support for their lifestyle. My advice is to reach out as best as you can to other gays whether it is through the internet, Facebook, or a small pocket of homosexuals in the city. If you do not reach out, you will feel abnormal and may sink into a depression. As a teenager, it is essential to find that sense of belonging and approval from peers growing up.
I’m a proud straight ally, but there’s a misconception that allies are closeted homosexuals or are not part of the LGBT community. What advice would you give to teens towards battling ignorance and homophobia?
Actions are MUCH louder than words. Be yourself without any apologies, but do right and soon enough people will see for themselves how ignorant they are. Be the example and create awareness at your school.
My advice to the misconception of allies being closeted homosexuals is: Saying an individual is gay because they stand up for what they believe in is equivocal to saying everyone that stood up for equality rights in the 1960’s was African America. Allies, stay strong. Help us. Trust me, we love allies and are thankful to have people support us.
For those interested in an internship, Lady Gent Code Magazine is seeking motivated and talented writers:
LG Code Mini-Tern (High school age 15-17)
Mini-Terns are assistants to the Executive Team and have a chance to experience what every role each individual plays in the magazine
Passed all classes the 2011-2012 school year with C’s; Have parent consent; Apply and be interviewed; Be willing to work with the LGBT community.
LG Code Intern (18 and up)
Assistant to Executive Team and collaborates with creating the magazine
Passed all classes with B if in high school, if in college, must have a 3.0; Apply and be interviewed; Be willing to work with LGBT community.
If interested, please email LadyGentCode@gmail.com