Saturday, November 27, 2010

Brody's Notes... Queer Today Founder Mark Snyder Gives KGO-TV ABC7News-San Francisco A First-hand Account Of Being Bullied

Mark Snyder Is Interviewed by ABC7 News Anchor Cheryl Jennings
By Brody Levesque (Bethesda, Maryland) NOV 27 | In a half hour broadcast this past week, KGO ABC7News in San Francisco's Emmy award-winning public affairs show, "Beyond the Headlines," provided in-depth coverage about the disturbing trend that has recently made a lot of headlines- The bullying and subsequent suicides of LGBTQ youth.
Hosted by ABC7's Cheryl Jennings, the broadcaster interviewed Fresno, California mother Allison Murphy, whose adolescent transgendered daughter Chloe, (formerly Justin), took her life earlier this year as a result of bullying. Jennings also spoke with Tom Torlakson, the incoming California State Superintendent-Elect of schools and Jodi Schwartz, Executive Director of Lyric, a San Francisco based community program whose stated mission is to build community and inspire positive social change through education enhancement, career trainings, health promotion, and leadership development with LGBTQ  youth, their families, and allies of all races, classes, genders, and abilities.
Also appearing in-studio with Jennings, giving a first hand account of surviving being bullied, was 27 year old Mark Snyder, Community Coordinator for Colage, in San Francisco. Colage is a national movement of children, youth, and adults with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ) parent(s). Snyder is also the founder and executive director of Queer Today, a ten year old LGBTQ activist website.
Jennings interviewed Snyder to gain his perspective on the issue. Snyder, who had gronw up in rural Pennsylvania, remarked that he was from in the same county that was home to Brandon Bitner,14, of Mount Pleasant Mills, who had walked 13 miles from his home to a busy highway intersection and threw himself in front of an oncoming tractor-trailer November 5th. Media reports revealed that Bitner was driven to suicide after fellow students at Midd-West High School in Middleburg had bullied Bitner for his sexual preferences and the way he dressed.
Snyder noted he had also attended the same high school and had experienced first hand the same types of abusive behaviour that had caused Bitner to kill himself.
In discussing his experiences with Jennings, Snyder listed off the types of traumatic and abusive behaviours he suffered from including the indignity of having his clothing urinated on by other male students in his locker and being physically assaulted. Snyder said that it was not until he switched to a different high school and ultimately left the area that his personal anxiety eased as he transitioned to the more accepting environment in college.