Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hope Beyond Tragedy: To ANY QUEER, LESBIAN, OR GAY YOUTH: Reach out to those you know who will not hurt you. Find support. WE ARE HERE FOR YOU. Suicide is a terribly permanent solution to a temporary problem. Love exists for you.

image is from here
image is from here

To any queer youth of any color or age--any gay boys, lesbian girls, transgender teens, intersex or intergender children, teens, and young adults reading this, please do one thing: get support from adults and peers who care about you and find support instead of committing suicide. We are here for you (click this link).  

Find adults who will listen but who will not exploit you. We are here for you (click this link). 

Find compassionate people who understand the pain, isolation, and ridicule and torment that can come with being young and not heterosexual or "normally" gendered. You are fine the way you are. There are people out in the world who will respect you and emotionally support you without harassing and exploiting you. We are here for you (click this link). 

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Youth Support Line
800-850-8078

Gay & Transgender Hate Crime Hotline
1-800-616-HATE


With condolences to all the loved ones of each of these youth and teenagers who took their own lives. And to all queer youth and adults who are bullied, harassed, exploited, abused, and neglected: there is support, help, and hope for you. We are here for you (click this link).

When I was 16, my first ever boyfriend (who was 15) was taken away from me, moved clear away, by his evil-acting step-father who didn't want his step-son being anything other than heterosexual. I was never identified as heterosexual, and I always knew other queer youth, which helped me feel not entirely alone. I am the only out gay, lesbian, transgender, intersex, intergender, or bi person in my family, however, which has done nothing to make me feel less alone.

My boyfriend and I saw another queer youth, more targetable than we were, enduring grotesque levels of harassment and also rejection at home. We stood with him when walking down the hallways, whenever possible. Of course that meant people would assume we were gay too. Well, we were.

The stories which follow of teen gay male suicides are so frequent lately that it's nearly impossible to keep track of the details of each boy's own struggles leading up to his death. What we know is that a form of U.S. terrorism more benignly called heterosexism, homophobia, lesbophobia, and transphobia in school systems and beyond them remains rampant. This form of terrorism, against children and young adults of all genders, all ages, all colors and cultures and ethnicities, will not be dealt with appropriately because, in general, school administrators want to keep their schools pro-heterosexual and anti-gay/lesbian/transgender/intersex. That's the truth of it. Now, how do we deal with that level of institutionalised anti-queer bias and bigotry? We support our youth, for one thing. Out loud. Not only out of view. And we demand more from heterosexist society and its protectors, because our youth need more protection that does heterosexism. Heterosexism isn't being threatened with extinction anywhere by anything. But our youth are taking their own lives at an alarming rate.

Below are too many new stories of gay boys losing their lives for no good reason at all. They want to escape humiliation and emotional torment and pain. But surely our community can be publicly supportive in ways that we have not, as yet, been, in order to help these children and young adults know there is hope beyond the torment. The last piece in this post is a message from a popular U.S. white gay activist and writer and his spouse, on their hell in high school and love together beyond it.

This first boy, Asher Brown, came out as gay to his parents in the morning. And later that day he committed suicide due to being bullied.

From LGBTQ Nation:

With heartfelt condolences for all the loved ones who grieve and remember these gay youth and one gay adult.

From LGBTQ Nation:

Indiana teen’s suicide thought to be result of anti-gay bullying

LGBTQ Nation • Tuesday, September 14, 2010 • Comments (10)
 
A 15-year-old Indiana teen took his own life last week in what is thought to be another suicide at least partially connected to school bullying, a result of the teen’s perceived sexual orientation.


Billy Lucas (via Facebook)
Billy (William) Lucas, a student at Greensburg Community High School in Greensburg, IN, was was found dead in a barn at his grandmother’s home Thursday evening — he had hanged himself.
Friends of Lucas say that he had been tormented for years. [WTHR-TV]
“He was threatened to get beat up every day,” friend and classmate Nick Hughes said. “Sometimes in classes, kids would act like they were going to punch him and stuff and push him.”
“Some people at school called him names,” Hughes said, saying most of those names questioned Lucas’ sexual orientation, and that Lucas, for the most part, did little to defend himself.
“He would try to but people would just try to break him down with words and stuff and just pick on him,” Hughes said.
Decatur County Coroner Doug Banks said Lucas left a note, but that it didn’t refer to bullying or blame anyone; Lucas reportedly never self-identified as gay.

A Facebook memorial page created in Lucas’ honor, begins with this bio: “Everyone made fun of him at school and he couldn’t take it anymore so he decided to end his life”.

*          *          *
From Queerty.com:

And just as we're saying goodbye to eighth-grader Asher Brown, who shot himself in the head after enduring anti-gay bullying at school, comes word fellow 13-year-old Seth Walsh died after 10 days on life support following a hanging attempt.
13 year old Seth Walsh, died of suicide attempt following anti-gay bullying

The Tehachapi, California teen spent the last few years being tormented by classmates at Jacobsen Middle School. He made it only two weeks into the current school year before being transferred to an independent study program.

Last Sunday, Sept. 19, he was found unconscious and not breathing after apparently trying to hang himself from a tree branch. He was airlifted to a local hospital, where he remained on life support until this afternoon, where he died surrounded by family. He leaves behind his grandmother Judy Walsh, mother Wendy Walsh, and three siblings, ages 11, 17, and 18. Police, meanwhile, say they cannot prosecute any of the kids responsible for his torment, since school bullying is not a crime. ("Several of the kids that we talked to broke down into tears," says Tehachapi Police Chief Jeff Kermode. "They had never expected an outcome such as this.")

His death follows Brown's suicide in Texas, and 15-year-old Billy Lucas in Indiana. Like Walsh, Lucas hanged himself after enduring relentless teasing and torment inside the walls of his school.

There will be a memorial service on Friday at 3:30pm at the Tehachapi First Baptist Church.

Go tell your sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters, your friends … that you love them. And then tell Kevin Jennings, President's Obama always-silent safe school czar and the founder of GLSEN, to start speaking the fuck up.

[Above, a YouTube tribute to Seth from what appears to be his sister. It includes the caption, "He wonderful this picture is because he's so happy :) I am too because I know he will be back. ... He will wake up we all know it."]

Read more: http://www.queerty.com/bullied-to-death-seth-walsh-13-dies-after-10-days-on-life-support-after-suicide-attempt-20100928/#ixzz10zVf0Pyc


From the comments posted *here*:
I denied myself the dignity of accepting I was gay until I was 50 years old. Before that I had worked for a governor(D) in Idaho...Looking back I was passed over for a lot of things which affected my career..."He's single and never been married" and stuff like that...At the time I didn't even believe I was gay -- In hindsight I've known since I was 5 years old...Regardless my fears and sometime's I suspect correctly folks perception of me cost me lots in my career and cost me lots in my confidence in myself...I'm 66 years old now and still don't feel free to be myself...And I actually think the folks I voted for two years ago are afraid of people like me...As liberals they know they should like gays but actually they don't like them very much...

From CNN:

 

 From Americablog Gay:

Another gay youth suicide -- roommate secretly filmed him hooking up, put video on twitter, kid killed himself shortly after



This story just hurts to read. It's painful:
A Rutgers University freshman killed himself after two classmates used a hidden dorm room camera to splash his sex life across the internet, sources told the Daily News.

A distraught Tyler Clementi, 18, left his wallet on the George Washington Bridge before plunging to his death in the Hudson River last Wednesday, sources said.

A Twitter post from one of the students accused of streaming the sexual encounter live on the internet indicated Clementi, a renowned high school violinist, was with another man.

"Roommate asked for the room till midnight," read the post from Dharun Ravi, 18. "I went into Molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."

The Twitter post went up Sept. 19 - three days before Clementi's suicide.
So, awful. It just hurts.

There have been a number of teen suicides over the past couple weeks. Truth Wins Out reports "In September, there have been three gay teen suicides as a result of school bullying." That's just wrong.

What kind of messages were our elected leaders, like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell, sending to young LGBT Americans when those Senators launched their vicious, homophobic attacks on gay and lesbian servicemembers last week? They were denigrating the worth of all LGBT Americans. It was sick. And, those deranged, obsessed religious right-types, led by Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallagher, send the same message. It's pure hatred and it's despicable.

Over the past few days, several sent me the video Dan Savage and his husband, Terry, filmed for the It Gets Better Project. It does. Every gay kid should watch this. It does get better --- and it's worth it:

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