Working to end gay suicides

October 1st, 2010

I don’t place much value on protests, nor do I consider token donations to charitable causes as little more than an attempt to feel better about oneself. I do believe in action and, barring that, vocal support and standing by one’s convictions.

So.

Despite all the advances in gay rights and acceptance in the last fifty years, gay teens are still being pushed to suicide. And for every one that kills themselves, there are many more contemplating it. People of all kinds driven to suicide is a serious issue, but those who do it because of social stigma for an attribute for which they have no control over, it is all the worse because everyone in our society is to blame.

Being gay is not a choice. It is not immoral. It is not something that can be condemned by anyone professing to be a member of any faith or religion founded on love and kindness. What matters is your happiness and whether you are harming someone or they are harming you. If you are gay, lesbian, transgendered, or questioning and are being told otherwise by people you trust, you need to find other people to trust immediately. Easier said than done, I know.

“Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you.”
- Ovid

Life is hard. Very hard. We are given inadequate tools and too quickly forced to fend for ourselves. And those who are charged with raising us and teaching us were also given inadequate tools and may not give you the best in return. One must be forgiving but also must seek the truth.

Sexuality of any kind is fraught with issues. There’s awkwardness and confusion and exploration and some people are telling you it’s bad and others are telling you it’s good and sometimes you’re told it’s an important and a fun part of life but don’t worry about it too much.

One could look at coming to terms with one’s sexuality as a trial. It will be hard, and it may make you unhappy, but you’ll get over it. And if you can’t there are helpful people who can guide you to accepting who you are.

I know this because I am gay and I spent years untangling the subtle and not-so-subtle things said and done against me to make me feel like my sexuality was wrong, immoral, and woefully condemned. As far as I can remember I never considered taking my life as an option, partly out of egotism and partly because of an quiet but persistent voice saying something not unlike Ovid’s line. “You’ll get through this,” it seemed to whisper, “Life goes on and you’ll want to be around for the better days.

More importantly, we need gays who survived adolescence to help others along the way, because as more accepting as society may become, we all experience life afresh and need all the support we can get.

We also need people of all kinds to be angry. Angry that our young are taking their lives because of hatred and misunderstanding. Angry that persons of power and influence continue to be hypocritical over who can be loved and who is equal. Angry that the gay community is largely uninterested in helping, nay, fighting for our young members to survive. Be angry and use that anger to protect those who need protection and fight back against those who harm the weak.

I know it sounds hypocritical to espouse actions in a blog post, but I am doing my part to help those in need. I don’t want anyone to experience the mental prison I was pushed into, or worse. I am angry. I will fight.

There are resources like The Trevor Project that help those who are gay and contemplating suicide.

And if you need someone to talk to, you can email me (correspondence at budaeli dot com), contact me on Twitter, or leave a comment on this site.



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