Councilman Joe Shaw is hoping to make a difference in the lives of those who get bullied at school because of their sexual orientation.
The stories of young people who lost hope and took their own lives due to bullying dominated headlines this year, and they came from various places around the country.
“There’s a lot of talk about it,” Shaw said. “There’s a lot more awareness about it now, and it’s just an issue that needs to be brought to light.”
Shaw said it’s time to eradicate this type of behavior, give young people the support they need to overcome bullying, and teach adults that not reacting to homophobic slurs only makes things worse.
“Teach Your Children Well,” a film about homophobia, bullying and violence in schools, is scheduled to be screened at 7 p.m. Friday at the Huntington Beach Central Library. Admission is $5.
The 40-minute film, narrated by Emmy-winning actress and comedienne Lily Tomlin, shows the stories of those whose lives have been affected because they’re either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
“I saw this movie … and thought we should show this in Huntington Beach,” Shaw said. “It’s a timely topic and something that needs more awareness.”
The movie’s director Gary Takesian said for the most part, when kids are bullied because of their race or religion, they can easily find support either at school or home.
But it’s not the same for kids who are homosexual.
“If you’re gay or lesbian and your family is homophobic, there’s no support for that,” he said.
The event is expected to attract students from Huntington Beach High School and various community members and stakeholders, and it will benefit the Huntington Beach Human Relations Task Force’s school diversity program. Shaw serves as a council liaison for the task force committee. The event is also sponsored by Huntington Beach Union High School District Trustee Bonnie Castrey.
Karen Jackle, a task force committee member, said with schools busy concentrating on basic education because of budget cuts, the rest of the community should lend support with event such as this.
She is hoping for schools to screen the film for students and staff.
“I think that would be the next step,” Jackle said.