First off, let me tell you that I am straight. I’m a (somewhat) normal straight girl, but I give a damn. I don’t have any real religious beliefs, open to everything and everyone no matter who they are. But my parents are the exact opposite; hateful, close-minded, and very homophobic. They hate how I support gays and gay rights, wondering if I’m gay just because of the fact that I believe in gay rights. When we or they watch shows and they see a character who looks/acts differently, they will automatically say that they are gay. Almost all the time they are right, but it still hurts that my parents would make assumptions without knowing anything.
They don’t want gay marriage, believing that it’s wrong and not natural while I wholeheartedly do. I have a lot of bi-sexual friends who are girls and I don’t mind that at all. I hate that my friends get discriminated against by people and the government just because they aren’t straight like me. I felt so sad when I heard about all the gay teen suicides in September, feeling so bad for all of them and wishing that I could have talked to them, tried to help them and convince them that life is worth living and that people do care about them, like me. I want to be a counselor/therapist when I get older, wanting to help teens who are feeling lost and lonely, like no one cares about them and thinking that nobody would give a damn if they were alive or dead. Well, I do care, and this is why I give a damn.
I am happy to say I survived my teenage years in the mid 1970’s because someone gave a damn about me. High School was the worst experience of my life. I faced constant fear, ridicule, and jokes. Comments were yelled across the high school gym at pep rally’s. I don’t recall how many times I sat in my room wanting it to just be over. Something always stopped me from following through with it, but what I just don’t recall anymore.
I didn’t even know what gay was at 16, I just knew that I couldn’t talk about how I felt. I knew something was different just had no clue what it was. I dated women, I wasn’t a social loner, I had friends and was very outgoing in the community. I felt as if I couldn’t say anything or everyone would abandon me. I never told my parents what I faced either (including to this day).
The person who saved my life to this day does not know that she did. She gave a damn about me as a person when I was at an extremely low point in my life sometime around the spring/summer of 1976. In a small town of 7000 people in the Midwest (Ohio to be exact), being “different” was not acceptable regardless of what that difference was (remember, small farm-town). Someone moved to town that helped change my life. The new county 4-H extension agent. This person genuinely cared about the things that we were all going through as teenagers. This person helped me learn to “love me” regardless of outside influence. I learned to care about me and respect of others from her. (I still hid my sexuality until I was almost 21).
Dyke. Slut. Whore. Penises drawn on my car once a week. First I was just the weird new girl, then when my sexuality came up it became this big ordeal. I had people whispering about me. My mom refusing to let me see my girlfriend. My dad telling me he would have to disown me if I ever came out. My first girlfriend ever flaunting me through school like a circus animal. I never thought it would of turned out to be such a big deal, but it lead me to feel as though I was worth nothing.
I went to the counselor two times a week. On meds, seeing a therapist, and thinking about suicide all the time. I tried to throw myself at guys trying to be straight, but I ended up feeling ten times worse and didn’t feel like myself. I had attempted a few times to kill myself. I didn’t see what I had to live for. I felt embarrassed and ashamed of who I was, I couldn’t accept the fact that I was lesbian. Most of my peers, parents, and siblings seem to think I was a freak, or it was just a faze or that I was hanging out with the wrong crowd. After all I had been through, I am glad to say it has gotten better and I have come along way.
I will never forget that night. It will both haunt and strengthen me for the rest of my life.
I had gone to a neighborhood bar to spend some time with high school friends that were in town for the Christmas break. I had had a few drinks but nothing excessive. On the way home, I decided to stop for a bite to eat. While in the drive-thru line, I noticed a truck behind me with two young adult men in it that was inching closer and closer to my car. I didn’t think much of the men since my plan was to get my food, eat it, and drive home safe and sound. I was wrong.
Since I had been drinking, I decided it was best to pull aside and eat before I made my way home. The truck from the line followed me. I was quite frightened at the sight of the truck and at the approaching man that began walking to my car. I rolled down my driver-side window very slightly to see what he wanted. He implied that he had seen me before and asked if I knew anyone from a certain high school in the surrounding area. I did and the conversation continued quite casually. After about 5 minutes, the man asked if I wanted to sit on the sidewalk and eat with him and his friend before I went home. Since we knew many of the same people and he seemed extremely friendly, I agreed.
Wendy Walsh tells the story of how her gay thirteen year-old son, Seth, took his life after his school failed to keep other students from bullying him because of his sexual orientation.
The ACLU and Wendy Walsh are asking Seth’s School, and all schools, to take steps to stop anti-LGBT harassment.
GET INFORMED, GET INVOLVED
I was bullied and ridiculed everyday in high school for being a lesbian. Even my mother gave me an extremely hard time whenever I came out to her. I had a hard time getting through the end of the day, and so I thought I wouldn’t be able to get through life. I ended up attempting suicide and was in the hospital for a few days. It was one of the worst times in my life.
I realized that nothing was worth giving my life up, and that the bad times wouldn’t last forever. Now, I’m in college learning how to become a teacher so I can help kids that are experiencing hard times in school like I was. I also have and amazing girlfriend and my family has become more accepting of my sexuality.
I give a damn because giving up your life because things get rough isn’t how to overcome the obstacles. There is so much more life to live after high school and college. That is why I give a damn.
When I was 9 years old I knew I was “different”, but it wasn’t until I was in middle school that I had the courage to tell my best friend that I thought I was bi-sexual. She responded in a strange way… she kinda gave me a look and just pretended that she hadn’t heard me. I mean, I didn’t understand she was my best friend right? Because of that reaction I didn’t want to tell other people or act on my feelings.
It wasn’t until my 10th grade psychology class that I figured out that hiding this would only hurt me more because I was living a lie. I had friends that were openly gay and I always admired their courage. But I could never find it in myself to come out to the world. I was terrified, but I figured that I needed to tell my mother. My biggest advocate and support system. We were riding in the car together alone just her and I and I kind of blurted it out “mom, I’m gay”. She didn’t say anything at first then she said, “you can’t be gay, people don’t just blurt out that they are gay!” I was surprised, I mean I don’t know what I expected to happen but I definitely didn’t expect that.
I am a female to male transsexual. People have asked me when did you decide to become a guy or why did you decide to become a guy and I tell them I was always a guy I just didn’t know for a long time who I was. I went to school in the 60s and 70s in a small Montana town. There were no gay people on TV or in my hometown and certainly no trans folk.
I hated school, I was different, when I was young some people thought I was a boy which made my Mom mad. I stuck out like a sore thumb, I was teased and I was in trouble all the time. I had only one friend through all of school. I was lonely and depressed. I didn’t go to any of my school dances and I often contemplated suicide, I think if I hadn’t had that one friend, I probably would have.
I was in my late 20’s when I had my first relationship with a woman. When I moved to Alaska I found a large GLBT community, I lived as a lesbian for over 20 years and met my first transgendered individual, it wasn’t until almost 6 years ago at the age of 50, I figured out I was transgendered, my partner of over 15 years has stayed with me. If I would have killed myself all those years ago, I would have missed out on the life that I have. It’s not perfect, but I am happy.
School won’t last forever, there is hope. Don’t throw your life away. You and your life are important.
My story is like no other, but I hope I can help other people see people for who they are not who they love. My mother is bisexual, she is also Christian and loving and works really hard. She raised 4 daughters by herself and has dealt with social, professional, and religious intolerance for her choice in being open about who she is.
She gave my little sister the strength to never live in the closet about being gay and never let us live in fear of the world for any reason. I to am bisexual and my 3 children are adopted to a married gay couple. A few years ago I traveled the states and I spent a lot of time with at risk teenagers and saw first hand what not being who you know you are can do to you.
Most of them were homeless or closeted. They were shunned and bullied and hooked to drugs and abused. Some took their lives and every one that’s left I still talk to and try to help.
I give a damn because I don’t want to lose any more children to hate and I don’t want anyone to be able to tell my sister that its wrong for her to love and be loved in return. We need to take a stand, this has been allowed for far to long. This is the last kind of open discrimination that is widely excepted and that is not right.
Hello, my name is Chloe, I’m 17, straight, and I live in London in the UK. And I truly give a damn.
I guess you could say that I am a born again Christian, as I decided to get baptized again this year. But before I did, I was questioning whether this was right for me, as a lot of what is in the bible, I didn’t agree with; mostly the way in which people interpret the bible to say that being gay is wrong. That God will punish you if you’re gay and you will spend the rest of eternity in Hell.
Before this, I was really excited to be turning seventeen this year in October, and was thinking about what I can do to celebrate my birthday with my friends and family. It wasn’t until I received an event request telling me to wear purple on October 20th. Curious, I clicked it to find out more.
I was horrified to see the stories of six teenagers who committed suicide, purely due to their sexuality.
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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.