Terrel Williams – 17 (WA) Gay
Corey Jackson – 19 (MI) Gay
Tyler Clementi – 18 (NJ) Gay
Raymond Chase – 19 (RI) Gay
Zach Harrington – 19 (OK) Gay
Aiyisha Hassan – 19 (CA) Lesbian
Chloe Lacey – 19 (CA) Trans
I originally wrote concerning recent gay teen suicides in this blog post.
I then wrote two more blogs on bullying here and here .
I also wrote about how conservative christian organizations were claiming we are becoming intolerant of their intolerance here.
While reading another article elsewhere I ran across this. The comment by Regan DuCasse was enlightening and timely concerning religious accountability for bullying.
This blog continues to address the recent suicides. Seven more since I originally posted in September. I guess I should be used to crying for these people. I am not. Each is a fresh cut to the soul. Each hurts as much as the one before. I can only hope I never become so desensitized that tears fail as I read or hear about a new death and loss to the community.
I have only been focusing on the deaths here in the US. They are happening all over the world. They have for decades and probably centuries. I don’t have the strength or will to try to address them all. It is hard enough to keep track here in this country. I am just acknowledging that it is a global problem, not just a local problem. So many have no voice, no visibility on the world stage as they should. Most media are only now actually speaking on this as being a real problem. Only now. Those words tear at me. How many happened and were ignored? How many happened and were covered up and/or silenced out of shame by the family? Many is the likely answer, in all honesty.
The media has focused on the teen males but it isn’t just males. Trans females and lesbians are also killing themselves. For the exact same reasons. This is why I expanded the list once I realized the media bias. This a LGBT issue, not just a gay male issue. I had originally focused on school bullying with my posts. It goes beyond that. There is also societal and religious bullying.
Zach despaired because he witnessed his town’s homophobia in a town meeting. That is societal bullying. He couldn’t see an end to it or that he could survive it. Chloe feared discrimination because she was trans and it is not easy to live with people that won’t accept you as you are. Aiyisha died without being able to reconcile her feelings for herself. Society still allows blatant hostility and outright discrimination. The media is full of it. While there are some efforts to try to stem the tide, it doesn’t help if our youth don’t find those few places before they give up. Churches preach and rail against our very existence. Countless children grow up with fear from their church and parents that they aren’t worthy of life just for being who they are.
It is good that this issue is becoming a national dialog. It is way overdue. Discussion needs to happen. Anti-gay organizations are making hay with it, trying to turn it all back on the victims in twisted and illogical ways that are downright offensive. Many voices are coming forward to try to counter this. Videos are being made in an effort to let teens know that their situations will change and for the better if they can hang on long enough. That is good and needed, but it only works if the videos are seen.
When our politicians use us to increase their power, they are adding to the problem. When they make their statements to try to pull in more votes from anti-gay voters, they are contributing to a cycle of death. Our government owns a piece of responsibility in this crisis. When school officials think more about their conservative parents reactions than the safety of children, they are responsible. When authority figures in any official office turn away and ignore the issue before them, they have responsibility. When parents bring up their children to hate those that are different, they have responsibility too. When any adult can justify not taking action when they see something wrong right in front of them, they too own a piece of the responsibility.
Three years ago I started a project called Finding the Rainbow. It is a series of books talking about how people discovered they are gay, bi or lesbian. It also talks about how they came to accept themselves as they are. It was started because I couldn’t find any material on how people knew that they were LGB. I was looking at sexuality, so Trans wasn’t going to be covered. I asked for people to submit their histories. Not stories, because stories implies fiction. I was asking for their memories and experiences. Between the two questions, knowing and accepting, these histories show that we survived the experience.
I have been unable to complete the first book in the series, the gay male edition, due to lack of submissions. Many agreed to participate, few followed through. I am grateful for those that did. I am frustrated with those that didn’t. These histories might have made a difference, possibly, for one of these kids if they had a chance to read them. This is one of the purposes of the project, to give hope and understanding that we CAN survive. That these people, of various ages and from various places around the country, made it and are ok.
My request is that you pass this blog around. Spread it as far as you can. Maybe someone (many I hope) will come forward and not just commit to the project but also follow through. Now is the time. We need as many resources for our kids as we can bring out for them. It is important. It is the right thing to do, now and for the future.
I can be reached through my Facebook group Finding the Rainbow so just join and contact me there. We need to show our youth that we can survive anything. I am looking for Gay men, Bi men, Bi women and Lesbians willing to write their experiences and contribute them to our youth’s future. Please help me with this project and hopefully help our teens.