|Image from http://speakequal.com/u-s-education-secretary-releases-statement-regarding-recent-lgbt-youth-suicides/|
Someone I love once described suicide as not having a desire to die, but rather being too exhausted to live. Bullying can do that to someone. It can wear them down; grind them into disenfranchised shreds; strip them of self worth and deplete them of the will to go on ...
Although there are often complex reasons behind a suicide, being gay or different seems to be a recurring theme. Our teens are killing themselves because they can't find a safe place in our society to become all they were meant to be. Being gay is not as rare as we are lead to believe ... if everyone who was gay - every teacher, judge, politician, pastor, athlete, leader, celebrity - was "out" and living their lives authentically, it would not only diffuse the "different" factor just by sheer number, it would show our kids that everyone has a place at the table; it would give our kids something/someone visible to relate and hold onto.
I am a mom of a gay daughter and I will not accept "tolerance", pity, or sympathy for me or her, nor fear; nor judgement from anyone. I won't accept anything less for her than all she is entitled to; the same love, respect, rights, responsibilities, liberties, opportunities that are granted to every citizen in our country. Nothing less; no comprise. None.
But it's time for us to give the news stories more than a passing sigh and moment of silence. It is time for us to be outraged and become warriors to protect our children -- our future generation. Bullying has to be dealt with head on in the schools, in the home, within families, in the workplace and in the justice system. We must speak out, demand that our schools educate our children about bullying and the roles everyone have to play in preventing, protecting, and reporting. Gay adults have to step forward to dispel fears of the unknown; to model a different face of "normal". We adults (gay or otherwise) must STAND UP and provide a safety line for young people drowning in misery. Most of all we have get over ourselves and let people be who they are or who they want to be. Unless of course that means becoming a murderous criminal or bully. Period.
Rick Mercer, a talented Canadian famous for his clever, witty passionate rants, added his voice to the chorus of adults who publicly declared their gay status in the "It gets better" video shot a year ago to encourage young gay kids. He feels that it is time to move beyond telling our kids that it will get better, and start working to change that which is hurting them - and protect them. He can speak for himself; watch the video below: