Thursday, September 30, 2010

Things Must Change

I am sad.
I am frustrated.
I am MAD.

And You should be too.

The other day I heard the heartbreaking story of Tyler Clementi, the 18 year old Rutgers University student who committed suicide after a personal experience in his dorm room was made public by his roommate and another student via the internet. I was shocked and disgusted by the actions of these two teens who thought it would be funny to broadcast a young man's sexual encounter with another man.
This is just the latest in a series of suicides by teens who have faced harassment, teasing, bullying, and violence all because of their perceived sexuality. Just in recent weeks alone, at least 3 other families have lost children - children they thought they would see graduate from high school, children they thought they would see become adults, children they thought would outlive them. But because of the actions of cruelty and hate by other teens, these children will not grow up. They chose the ultimate sacrifice of taking their own lives rather than continue being subjected to these actions.

I'm here today to say that this is wrong and that things MUST change. These children - OUR children - deserve the chance to laugh and play, to learn and grow, and to become adults and have children of their own.

I don't pretend to know what exactly is going on in the heads of the teens on either side of the story. Those that take their lives, I can only imagine the hurt and desperation they feel. Those that do the bullying, I can't even begin to fathom what they think or feel when they are hurting the others with their words and actions. I don't believe that all of the bullies and teasers mean for these kids to kill themselves. But something still needs to be done, consequences need to be realized.
I do believe, however, that there has to be a way - a way to make these young men and women realize there is so much in life to live for. I believe that there has to be a way for parents, schools, and friends to support these children, to protect these children, to save these children. No, the signs are not always there that something is wrong, that these hateful acts are happening, and that the child is contemplating suicide. Parents, especially, are usually the last to know and realize the extent of the problem. But FRIENDS - you are there, you see these situations, you hear about these situations - please, please, PLEASE tell someone. Tell the family. Tell the school. Tell whoever will listen.

There are some amazing organizations out there where you can turn if you feel like there is no other solution than suicide. These are also places that the families and friends of these kids can turn for help, to share their stories, to help another child or family in need.
The Trevor Project is a leading organization for suicide prevention in the LGBT community. They have a 24 hour, nationwide lifeline - someone will always be there to talk to you, to help you. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter and you can contact them here:
(866) 4-U-TREVOR
(866) 488-7386

Another place you can go is We Give A Damn. Here you can share your story, or read the stories of others that have been in similar situations.
You can also find local groups and hotlines in your communities online or in the yellow pages. Whatever your situation, I beg and plead for you to get help - for yourself or for someone you know who might be in danger of taking their own life.

I get very passionate and emotional when it comes to humanity, equality, and acceptance, especially when it comes to our future generations. People need to understand that homosexuality is not a disease. It does not define who someone is. It should be no more of an issue than someone's eye or hair color, their height, or the size of shoe they wear. The parents, families, and friends of LGBT kids should still love and respect their children, nieces, nephews, cousins, and classmates just as much the moment they know that a loved one is gay as they did in the minutes, days, and years before. And I pray that the children of adults who preach that homosexuality is a sin and worthy of disrespect are able to learn, grow, and love people for who they are and not what they are, and that they can break the cycle of hate. Let us hope that our future generations will be filled with more respect, tolerance, and acceptance and that the levels of suicides and suicide attempts fade into oblivion.

Thank you for reading from Rdwnggrl's World.

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