I give a damn because I have too many friends that have committed, thought about, or are thinking about committing suicide. One of my best friends is scared to come out because he’s afraid of being labeled as different; he struggles with it every day.
Suicide is a day-to-day choice. You don’t pick and choose when you want to be suicidal. It’s a daily struggle, to live or not to live.
I give a damn because I want all my friends and even strangers I don’t know to know that someone, somewhere cares.
I’m not a youth. I’m really old…older than the parents of college age kids, but not old enough to be your grandparent. I’ve been gay since I was a pre-teen. But it wasn’t safe back then to be gay. I completely understand the fear of violence kids, even young adults, feel today. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Bullies were also around when I was a teen. I was afraid to be identified as gay. I did everything I could to be “normal” around everyone. You didn’t “come out” like kids do today in middle school or even high school. I experimented in college, but even that was on the sly and I did everything I could to show that I was normal…even dating and eventually marrying, the ultimate cover. I was honest enough to tell my future wife long before the engagement was made public so she could back out.
I never considered suicide as a way out. Suicides weren’t publicized the way they are today. They were hushed up. I’ve known parents these days who do want to tell other parents about their teens suicides or suicide attempts to warn other parents to pay attention. They want to help those most affected by suicides of their peers. But I’ve begun to suspect something else. I think that somewhere in the dark parts of your heart, you will say to yourself, “Sure, things will get better, but what about TODAY?” On the outside you’ll be on the side of things getting better, that suicide is not the way out, that suicide is indeed a permanent solution to a temporary problem. But in that dark part of your heart you will hide the emotions of fear and abandonment and hopelessness and that all-consuming desire for relief right now. And that’s when you stop believing the truth and start believing the lie that suicide is the best way out. You make a plan and carry it out without discussing it with anyone. You may leave messages and clues that will be apparent afterwards, but you believe the lie that silence is the best way.
I’m here to tell you, like a lot of other people, that I give a damn about you. Lots of people give a damn about you…people you don’t even know. We don’t have to know you to love you as a hurting child (no matter your age). We care for you and about you. Since you’re reading this, I know you can contact someone at the Trevor Project Helpline. If you don’t there’s anyone you can talk to that you know, call the Helpline. There is someone who will listen, who can identify with you, who can help you recognize the lies that you are believing now and tell you the truth about who you are and how important you are and what the future, and probably the present, can hold for you as long as you hold on the most precious gift of all…LIFE.
Remember we give a damn. Why don’t you give a damn about the real you and talk to someone right now. Go to someone. Text them that you have so see them and talk to them, ask them to come to you. Or call the Helpline or maybe you know of something local that’s like it. Reach out and TALK, TELL somebody what you’re feeling and how you’re feeling and what’s been going on inside your head and all around you. People can help by listening. People can help by identifying the lies and telling you the truth. It works. It’s worked for me. I’ve seen it work for lots of others. Do it now.
Don’t ever forget how amazing you are. Don’t ever forget the color you bring to this world. I am a heterosexual female, but I could not even imagine my life without my gay, lesbian, transgender, pansexual, and bisexual friends. No one has any right to tell you you are not good enough because of the way you are. No one has the right to judge you before they know you in any case.
My heart always breaks for any teen suicide. That’s a young life gone, no longer here to laugh and smile and find the kind of love we all look for. But for those of you who are still here, who have survived and know that there are people out there who totally and completely support you…stand up! Do great things! Be the great person you are! I firmly believe that this is only the start to something really great.
Be creative. Be kind. Be generous. Be faithful. Be brave. Be happy. Be outgoing. Be selfless. Be crazy. Be fun. Be smart.
And smile, everyday..because You. Are. BEAUTIFUL.
Our friends at The Trevor Project premiered their new PSA with Daniel Radcliffe during last night’s episode of Glee. If you or someone you know needs help, please call their 24/7 Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386.
GET INFORMED, GET INVOLVED
This morning, the parents of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, who recently took his life as a result of anti-gay bullying, were interviewed by Ann Curry on Today:
GET INFORMED, GET INVOLVED
According to ABC News:
“Police have opened a criminal investigation in the suicide death of Buffalo, N.Y., 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, who was bullied online with gay slurs for more than a year.
“The teen’s parents, friends and even Lady Gaga, who was his idol, have expressed outrage about what they say was relentless torment on social networking websites.
“The Amherst Police Department’s Special Victims Unit has said it will determine whether to charge some students with harassment, cyber-harassment or hate crimes. Police said three students in particular might have been involved. Jamey was a student at Heim Middle School.
“Jamey had just started his freshman year at Williamsville North High School. (Both Amherst and Williamsville are just outside Buffalo.) But the bullying had begun during middle school, according to his parents. He had told family and friends that he had endured hateful comments in school and online, mostly related to his sexual orientation.
“Jamey was found dead outside his home Sunday morning, but Amherst police would not release any details on how he killed himself.
“‘The special victims unit is looking into the circumstances prior to his death,’ Captain Michael Camilleri said. ‘We are not sure if there is anything criminal or not.’
“No bullying laws exist in New York State, according to Camilleri, so police would have to determine whether aggravated harassment charges fit this case. Whether suspects would be tried in juvenile court would depend on whether the alleged bully was 16 or older, he said.
“Police said they had spoken with Williamsville School Superintendent Scott G. Martzloff, who has pledged the district’s cooperation.
“‘We’ve heard that there were some specific students, an identifiable group of students, that had specifically targeted Jamey, or had been picking on him for a period of time,’ Police Chief John C. Askey told the Buffalo News.
“Jamey sent out many signals on social networking sites that he was struggling with his sexuality, even though he encouraged others on the It Gets Better project website to fight off the bullies.
“He killed himself this weekend after posting an online farewell.”
GET INFORMED, GET INVOLVED
14 year old Jamey Rodemeyer sadly took his own life Sunday at his home in Williamsville, NY.
His parents say it is a direct result of the endless bullying he faced due to his struggles with his sexual orientation. They are now speaking out to help keep this from happening to another young person.
The following is a news report by WIVB-TV:
The following is a It Gets Better video Jamey recorded:
GET INFORMED, GET INVOLVED
Now we all know by now coming out in high school can be difficult and I’m no exception. I wish I had come out earlier, but like most was afraid to come out until I was 100% ready, which I still kinda wasn’t. I had waited until the middle of my junior year of high school and to my surprise a lot of people knew. All of my friends were accepting and I even found out some of my closest friends were bisexual and gay. But with that came the harassment.
Daily I would be ridiculed about being gay or teased, but I’m a lucky one because I didn’t have to deal with physical violence and I wish no one would ever have to deal with violence. Eventually when it came down to it people found out who I liked and told him. He literally tore me apart and might as well have shot me because what he had said killed me. So that same night I almost attempted suicide, but I couldn’t and to this day I am happier then ever that I didn’t do it because I may still be single and people still ridicule me, but I have a life to look forward to.
I have the chance to help people in my life that are going through the same things and since I have gone through it I can help. All those who think about suicide please push those thoughts out of your minds. All it does is let those who bully and hurt you know they have won and it takes away one very important thing that you could never replace. Your life and the love of your loved ones. So please don’t ever think about it and if you do just talk to someone so they can help you because we all can make it through this. I want you all to know that I love each and every one of you for who you are and not who you pretend to be.
I went to school in a very small town in east Texas. The bullying began in 6th grade. Being called a fag or homo was daily. High school was hell. My car tires were slashed, locker was robbed, homophobic cat calls, being beat up, you name it. This was in the 80’s, so thank God there were no cell phones or Facebook or I don’t know if I would have had the strength to get through. Absolutely, I thought of suicide daily and going to school was a struggle knowing what torture was in store. I had ONE goal, to get out of that f**king town and “re-create” myself.
It’s taken 3 years for me to decide if I should write this because it is not a solution for all you kids who read it and not heroic in the least. I decided in 10th grade that the only way I was going to end the abuse was to get out. I put every minute I had into graduating early, took every class I could, studied for the SAT like my life depended on it (which it did) and basically took CONTROL of my own situation. The hard work paid off, I was accepted to college after my junior year of high school without having to go through my senior year. College was so much different, new start and such a new beginning. Graduated from college in 3 years, went to law school and had even more acceptance. Came out to my parent (officially) at 30 and then went back to school at 35 and got my PhD in psychology.
I didn’t come out to my law firm until I was 40 but, when I did, it was basically “Big deal, like we didn’t know”. I was made partner in my firm that same year. I must give credit to Cyndi, because being a part of the True Colors Tour in 2007 & 2008 made everything make sense. I got married to my husband in California October 31, 2003, just before Prop 8.
There’s something wrong with our way of thinking even as we play
Ignorantly insulting each other as we say
“That’s so gay”
It’s not okay
Because you’re insulting so many people without a single thought
Even without trying, you simply had bought
Into the idea that you weren’t, but you’ve been caught
In a web of discrimination, so saying you’re just playing is all for naught
There are people getting hurt without even a say
Because others hurt them and don’t want them to stay
Violence against them, they don’t ever play
All because they’re gay and others don’t think it’s okay
Think about the ones who’ve been hurt and died
Of the families who’ve screamed and cried
Never told a soul, “I’m okay,” they lied
Gave up on life because there was no place to hide
Be aware of what you’re saying before it’s too late
You might be justifying someone’s hidden hate
Saying it’s alright to deny their rights like Proposition 8
All because of who they love and who they choose to be their mate
Get informed and get involved. Register to join the campaign and let us know you give a damn about equality.
Spread the word about equality. Watch our damn videos and share them with the people in your life!play
Share your story with us and the people in your life. Tell us why you give a damn about equality!play
Something has to be wrong, when 1 in 7 people who commit suicide is a child. And when suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 10 to 24.