Go Back To School With Us.
Five teenagers killed themselves in the past two weeks. The oldest was 19 years old, and the youngest was 13.
They were among the thousands of students victimized each year because they are or are perceived as LGBTQ, and among the thousands of others who consider killing themselves rather than coming out.
There’s at least two forces at work here. One is the unacceptable climate of bullying that LGBTQ youth and youth perceived to be LGBTQ have faced for decades, and continue to face. Many of you reading this now were victims when you were in school.
The second is the lack of perspective that any young victimized person experiences about the hopefulness of life. That’s not a perspective we can expect children to have on their own. It’s our job to show them.
Dan Savage got the ball rolling earlier this week with the “It Gets Better” project, and The Trevor Project works every day to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth. But the deaths of four boys just this week shows us we’re not there yet, and we, the members of the LGBTQ community who got out of high school and never looked back, are not doing enough to take care of our family still there.
Every LGBTQ kid in America (whether they know it yet or not) needs a LGBTQ adult to stand in front of them as incontrovertible proof that a good life is possible and waiting for them. You know the town you came from and the people that live there. You walked the same elementary and middle school hallways as these kids. You remember what it feels like on your college campus. You, who came from right where they are, have built a life that you’re proud to live, and they need to hear it from you. Go back to your school.
There are 133,000 elementary/secondary schools and less than 7,000 colleges in the United States. LGBTQ people have passed through the doors of every single one, and most of us through at least three.
140,000: we’ve got more LGBTQ friends than that on our Facebook lists combined. 140,000 is a small number compared to the number of LGBTQ adults that care about our youth. Together, we’re going to figure out how to go back through those doors with our own stories of resilience.
Will you go back to school with us?
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