Let’s face it; coming out of the closet in high school is a big deal for any teenager. For 17 year-old high school student, Katy Butler, she faced all the typical challenges that any queer student would face on a daily basis– bullying.  When a new documentary, “Bully” was set to be released with an “R” rating, Katy was outraged.

The “R” rating meant that anyone under the age of 17 would not be able to see the film. Katy started an online petition on Change.org urging the MPAA to change the rating of the film from “R” to “PG-13″.

After receiving over 500,000 signatures and the support of celebrities including Ellen Degeneres who welcomes Katy on her show, the Washington Post named Katy “a new voice against bullying’.

Because of her demonstration that one person is never too young to inspire change, Katy has been honoured as the 2012 Outstanding Youth Leader by LA Pride.

Canadian Facts on Bullying (provided by PinkShirtDay.org):

  • Bullying happens to someone in Canada every 7 minutes on the playground. (Bullying.org).
  • Bullying happens in many different forms. It’s doing, saying or acting in a way that hurts someone else or makes him or her feel bad on purpose. (Verbal, physical, social, extortion, cyber bullying).
  • 50% of Canadian school children report being bullied and 45% of children surveyed do not feel safe when they go to school. (Bullying Study, University of Guelph).
  • 34% of Canadians surveyed knew of students in their community who had been targeted by cyber bullying in the past year
  • Children who are bullied are at risk for impaired social development, mental and physical illnesses, suicide and school absenteeism.
  • Direct Bullying: open attacks, physical, threats, teasing
  • Indirect Bullying: attempts to harm social position including exclusion & gossip