Coincidentally, yesterday was International Coming Out Day, designated to commemorate the anniversary of the Great March on Washington which took place in 1987 in support of Gay Rights. That march, attended by about half a million people, came at the height of the AIDS crisis, as an indictment of the Reagan administration's refusal to acknowledge the ongoing epidemic.
|This actor was completely unknown to me; apparently, his major claim to fame was as a star of a TV show called Prison Break. He recently came out, and tells the story of his own thoughts of suicide as a teen.|
So many lives were lost to the disease back then, and today, death still haunts our tribe. It's more likely, these days, that a gay youngster dies as a result of bullying. The fatal attack on Matthew Shepard is a prime example of such homophobia, and since that atrocity, many many teens and young adults have taken their own lives as a result of persistent bullying. This special edition of the Dance Party features a little video created to honor those kids.
In the years since he posted his voyeuristic video, Davey Wavey has carved out a career as a gay rights advocate, fitness guru, and self-help specialist in the online gay community.
|Activism has its perks, if you look|
like this. Davey now has his own
line of underwear.
The video below is one of the only ones I have found in which Davey is fully clothed, as he is famous for his shirtless videos (see above). But I applaud his efforts in this clip, which was created several years ago, in the midst of what seemed to be an epidemic of gay teen suicides.
|Asher Brown was repeatedly bullied at school,|
so much so that his parents made numerous
complaints to the administration. No action
was taken. Asher shot himself. He was 13.
Such suicides have been happening for decades, of course, but for some reason a few years ago, many of them became high-profile cases covered by the mainstream media. The suicide of gay teens has not subsided (LGBT kids are four times more likely to try suicide than their straight counterparts), but publicity regarding them seems to have slacked a bit.
In the video below, you will see Davey and his friend inflate and then release balloons. This practice dates back to the countless AIDS funerals of the 1980s, when it was common to release a balloon into the sky, signifying the release of the deceased's spirit into the atmosphere.
|This poignant playlet, filmed for PBS, used|
"memorial balloons" to great effect.
The sheer number of balloons which Davey prepares here is saddening, as each represents a gay youth who took his or her own life; I shudder to think how many more would have been added in the years since this video was made. In honor of all those kids, and in honor of Matthew Shepard, here are those balloons.