This past September has served as a stark reminder that so many young people continue to face a world of bullying and harassment. Whether it is because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion or whatever someone singles them out as for being “different.”
For gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, the uncertainty they face while struggling to come to terms with who they are is all the more challenging. The statistics are alarming. These young people are nearly four times more likely to attempt suicide then their straight peers. They face a world at school where close to 90% of them have been verbally or physically harassed. Even more troubling is that when a 1/3 of these students report an incident of bullying, school officials did nothing about it.
Our hearts go out to the families of Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Billy Lucas, Tyler Clementi and all of the young people who have taken their lives because they were bullied and harassed for either being gay or being perceived to be gay. We must heed this wake up call and get involved and get informed.
It is time that we all stand together and say enough is enough. We will not let this epidemic of bullying continue to take place. We will not let suicide be the last resort.
The following is a message that Cyndi Lauper, founder of the Give a Damn Campaign, filmed in response to these recent tragedies:
The following are organizations that are working to help young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people on a daily basis. Please visit their websites to learn how you can get involved:
The Trevor Project is the national provider of life saving resources to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth and their families. If you or a young person you know is feeling alone or misunderstood please contact The Trevor Project Helpline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) works to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN works to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes in creating a more vibrant and diverse community. They can provide resources and information on how you can work with your school to eliminate bullying and create an accepting school environment.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have for creating change. Not only do they give us a personal connection that numbers and statistics can’t offer, but they offer a glimpse into the real life experiences of others. We each have a voice, and every voice is worth hearing. Do you want to change the world? Start by telling your story.Submit Story
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