Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gaga Day to help combat gay youth suicides

Little monsters dance for Trevor Project

Posted by Greg Hambrick on Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Lady Gaga fans will be back out this year for another round of Gaga Day deliciousness and its for a good cause close to Charleston's gay community. The event welcomes outrageous Gaga-style outfits, from meat dresses to outfits made of Muppet puppets, but you're more likely to find the everything in between. Organizer and City Paper contributor Joe Quinn tells us this year's event, at 5 p.m. Saturday at Joe Riley Stadium, will be two hours long, with emcees, beer, and a costume contest.

The event is free, but donations are requested for a terrific cause: The Trevor Project. The nonprofit is best known for its crisis hotline for gay youth, but it is also heading online in the 21st Century to offer support for young people struggling with thoughts of suicide. Gay youth suicides are not new, but national attention in the past year has increased awareness of the dangerous consequences of bullying and harassment.

"The amazing resources they provide struggling youth is something that everyone needs to be made aware of, and the teen suicides need to end, yesterday," says Quinn.

Last year's event at Marion Square raised more than $3,000 for the American Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund.

Quinn is openly gay with family and friends who are there for him, but he recognizes there are young people out there without a support system.

"At a Lady GaGa event there are going to be people from the LGBTQ community, so if one person leaves Joe Riley Park feeling more comfortable with themselves and know there are resources available to them 24/7, then it will be a successful event in my eyes," he says.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Hate crime reporting the focus of AFFA meeting

Tuesday event to include discussion on local response

Posted by Greg Hambrick on Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 2:55 PM

State and local law enforcement leaders will be on hand Tuesday night for a conversation on hate crimes in the Lowcountry. Hosted by The Alliance for Full Acceptance and SC Equality, U.S. Attorney for South Carolina Bill Nettles will headline a conversation about what to do when faced with a hate crime.

Regardless of the political arguments these days about special rights, the reality is that there are gay and lesbian citizens who are weary of reporting incidents or providing details to police. That hampers the ability of local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes.

Other guests are expected to include North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumwalt, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon, FBI Special Agent Brian Womble, and Asst. U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. with the presentation to begin at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Charleston Marriott, 170 Lockwood Blvd.

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