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Published on Oct 3, 2010
September has been a month of tragedies. It seems that each passing day brought another report of a young man who had taken his own life because of bullying and the homophobic actions of others. To me, this month has felt like one long funeral. Among those we lost were:
Justin Aaberg- 15 years old...Anoka, Minnesota Billy Lucas- 15 years old...Greensburg, Indiana Asher Brown- 13 years old...Harris, Texas Seth Walsh- 13 years old...Tehachapi, California Tyler Clementi- 18 years old...Ridgewood, New Jersey Raymond Chase- 19 years old...Providence, Rhode Island
Even though this may seem like alot to some, what I can't help but think when I see this list is how many more gay teens committed suicide who we may never hear about...perhaps because they didn't want anyone to know or because their families hid the information. There's always a reason. Only one thing is for sure...the young men above are the short list of those who fell to Loneliness and the intimidation of others.
In response to the wave of deaths and hoping to foster the survival of gay teens, Dan Savage and his partner began the awesome "It Gets Better Project", a Youtube page in which those of us who made it past those years of loneliness and isolation share how our lives have changed....that it does get better in just a couple of short years. To date, the project has collected nearly 120 testimonies: http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbet...
I left the experience of making that video feeling like I had so much more to say. So, I'm writing today's post as a letter to gay teens who are feeling that suicide is the only way to end that sense of shame and isolation....also to those of us coming out later in life...and also to my 18 year old self. Please read on...