Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No More Dead LGBT Youth

I am going to be really loud right now. I am sick and tired of LGBT youth seeing suicide as their only option. I'm sick and tired of youth suicides in general but especially gay youth, especially now. Recently several gay youth (or perceived gay youth) have killed themselves because they were bullied or had to deal with very public homophobia. I want to take a moment to remember the lives of Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Zach Harrington and other victims of hate, and homophobia. What are we to do? We CANNOT sit and tolerate this. These suicides are not just 7 youths, or mere bullying as the media would play it. It is part of a larger problem. There is an acceptable level of hate in this country sometimes towards Muslims, towards undocumented workers, Latinos, and Blacks (African Americans, Africans, Afro-Caribbeans, etc.), and towards the LGBTQ community. This post concerns the LGBT community at large because I see these suicides in the same arena as hate crimes. Matthew Shepard, Brandon Teena, Lawrence King, Jorge Steven López Mercado, Ahmed Khalil, Satender Singh, and countless others have been murdered because people did not like that they were LGBTQ. I am MAD and not just because I'm gay. I remember what it was like to be in a place of utter darkness and seemingly no escape. A place that it hurts to think about. Suicide seems like your only option in that place. It hurts! When I saw these young faces, back to back, I remembered those days and it hurt me deep inside. I wished I could go back in time and tell them it's not the end of the world, that things will get better, that there are people out there who will love them and accept them, that they will find love, and that they will find friends that don't make them fit any gender box. Having out gays in their lives telling them that "[they're] not sick, nothing's wrong with [them] and God doesn't hate [them]" (from the movie Milk). These are beautiful young people gone too soon. I'd share my story and tell them that it gets better. It does. I am surrounded by friends and family that love me and support me. Some of them very unexpectedly. Yes as a community and a movement we are not at full equality (are we there for any minority group?) but in many ways we have moved forward since the 50s/60s. We cannot be made illegal. We are not illegal. We cannot be silent. I AM NOT SILENT! They expect us to be, though, and watch more lives be lost and taken. We cannot do this. It's not a you thing or a me thing but a we thing. We CAN (good song)!