In the past month, there have been an astonishing number of gay teenagers that have commited suicide due to taunting, teasing, and ignorance from their classmates. Whenever stories like this come up in the news, I shudder to think about my GLBT (Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender) friends and my life without them. I know most of them have suffered through teasing or insecurity about their sexual identity for a huge part of their lives up to this point, and their strength to get through it gives me strength to make myself a better person.
While my friends’ strength is admirable, that’s not the point of this entry. The point of this entry is that, no matter how far it seems we’ve come in terms of GLBT rights, it’s always 2 steps forward, 4 steps back. There are strides in terms of representation of the GLBT community in the media and on TV, but then there’s a story of a teenager feeling that they need to take their own life.
Well, in my opinion, this is a wake-up call. I know kids will always be mean to the one who is different, who doesn’t fit “the norm”, but our society can do a much better job at accepting those kids from a young age and offering counseling in schools to educate students who do tease and lash out about accepting differences in our societies.
And, of course, there is the fact that as adults, so many have these feelings of intolerance towards alternative lifestyles to their own, which in turn gets translated to their kids.
Stars like Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen DeGeneres have made empowering, compelling speeches on this topic. I encourage everyone to watch them and think about everything that we need to change – and then join me in doing something about it.
Interested in getting involved with an organization? Here’s a list from the ever-helpful Wikipedia. (I know it’s not the greatest source in the world, but I’ve found it’s an excellent jumping-off point for things like lists and basic info to get a feel for a group or organization).
Stand up for your rights, your friends’ rights, and your childrens’ rights. Because this issue is – clearly – not going to go away on its own. Let’s not forget that equality and acceptance is what we’re talking about here, and let’s not have it take another teenager’s life.