Some of you may not know who Ben Cohen is.
He’s a recently retired rugby player from the UK. He is absolutely the tops in my book and deserves everyones support in his new endeavor.
I’m a little sad about his retirement, I’d always wanted to catch him in a rugby match. It was on my list of things to do when finally get to visit the UK.
On the plus side and consistent with everything I’ve read about Ben, he’s started the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation. This is the world’s first anti-bullying organization. Ben is running Stand Up as its chairman.
He is traveling for StandUp making appearances as part of the Ben Cohen Acceptance Tour. If you’re going to be in any of the cities he’s visiting, please make it a point to support his efforts.
While StandUp at the moment appears to target bullying against gay kids. I think we should remember that Bullying in general has lead to unspeakable tragedies around the world.
The most notable examples here in the US are Columbine High School and Virginia Polytechnic. (It’s been reported that Seung-Hui Cho was bullied in a similar fashion to Eric Harris of Columbine.)
I was raised to protect ANY child. It didn’t matter whose kid it was or what they were being protected from. ALL children are worthy of care, compassion, and concern. Ben’s efforts resonate right to my core,
I hope that his efforts resonate with you too. No child… gay, straight, or just different, should ever find themselves in a position where death is preferable to living.
StandUp has the potential to give any child in need an outlet and a place to turn to for support.
At the moment StandUp is focusing on homophobia. In my opinion this is the perfect starting point. Especially since a recent study suggests that suicide attempts among gay teens may be as high as 20% versus 4% of straight teens.
I imagine as the organization matures, it will reach out more broadly to all children that are being bullied. It just seems to be Bens style.
My Impression of Ben
Over the years, I’ve been keeping an eye on him. At first because I thought he was damn handsome in an approachable kind of way. But as I read about him and watched him and his career mature, I came to the conclusion that he’s a lot more than a handsome face…
He’s a genuinely decent human being.
Ben is kind, dedicated, and respectful of other people.
He’s a straight man, the father of two and has never been anything other than who he is. I wouldn’t go so far as saying he’s my hero. What Ben is to me is an example of Manhood in the truest sense of that term (look up the definition, part of it includes courage and strength of character). He’s a guy that I would go out of my way to meet, and I’d be very proud to call him a friend.
He’s embraced his gay following with humor, kindness, humility, and good cheer.
He’s an old school authentic sports star, always remembering, acknowledging, and appreciating his fan base. (American sports stars could learn a thing or two from his example.)
Ben is his fathers son. (Ben’s father died after doing the right thing. The Elder Cohen attempted to break up a bar fight and subsequently died from injuries he sustained. Again, another real MAN who was willing to risk doing the right thing instead of assuming it was someone else’s problem.)
Ben takes a stand. (Not the easiest thing to do sometimes, but there’s Ben… speaking his mind saying what he believes in. Ya just gotta respect him weather you agree with him or not.)
Ben’s website can be found here. I’m still exploring the new site. I can’t direct you to any particular place, explore on your own.
Given that Ben & Jill Tipping, Ben’s assistant are brilliant in handling media and marketing, I will not be surprised to see a lot more information about StandUp in the coming weeks.
All of which is to say, Ben deserves support from everyone not just the gay or straight community.
Ben and StandUp have the potential to serve everyone and be a positive force in the world. It’s our duty and responsibility to help add to that positive force.
(FYI… I hate having to use the awkward LGBT label, it’s my blog so I’m not going to. it’s not that I’m not inclusive it’s just that saying and typing LGBT over and over is a pain in the ass.)