Suicide in the LGBTQ community is quite common in our society. LGBTQ youth are the most likely to attempt and commit suicide, suffer from depression and other mental ails, and participate in substance abuse. Coming to terms with one’s sexuality is no easy feat for any young person, especially when you’re sexuality is deemed perverse. The last thing an adolescent wants is to feel different from the norm, and so to deal with such feelings becomes a very difficult thing. In my post about bullying I said the family and community needs to step in to make the youth feel supported. As an LGBTQ youth your family and community is often the entity attacking you, either directly or passively.
One day I was on the bus and a group of boys on the back of the bus looked outside to see another young man who was perceived to be gay walking down an alley with another boy. “FAGGIE.. HAHAHA.. YALL BOUT TO DO SOMETHING” My heart sunk as I begin to think about, how I would feel if I was walking down the street with a partner or friend and someone yelled obscene things to me. I thought about it some more and realized I had. When walking with a lesbian friend, dressed “like a boy,” a guy yelled out to me “You just need some good d!ck” Embarrassed, I just laughed it off, assured in the fact we weren’t together. How would I feel if this happened to me on a daily basis? How would I feel if I couldn’t come home and tell my father or mother what happened because their reaction could be just as negative and obscene?
As I think back on this day, I feel for the youth in this constant struggle and I pray from them. I also pray for their attackers, be it verbal or physical, that they take the time to seek understanding. I pray that we can live in a world where people who feel differently from one other can respect ourselves enough to respect others.
Because of recent media publicized events, it seems the community is more ready to have this conversation and seek understanding. I am proposing a listening project and maybe other events to give youth a place to speak out about their experiences and the community a chance to listen. This could also be an opportunity to fund raise for the new youth center in Baltimore. If you’re interested in helping plan this project, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org