Thursday, September 30, 2010

We have to give them hope! -Harvey Milk

this is our chance to help others like us. luckily, i had The Attic Youth Center and all my friends there to turn to whenever i needed help and hope. but these kids don't. they're growing up in a world where anything that's disliked for one reason or another is "gay"... "can you believe they suspended me?" "that's so gay!"

one of my nephews used to say "that's gay" to almost everything he didn't like. it's a good thing i have a great sense of humor that i can take it and realize that he has no clue what he's talking about. but me being here will also teach them that it'd perfectly normal to be gay. that we're (for the most part) just like everyone else. that we can have friends, and a social life, and family. and that just because you don't like something, or don't agree with it, doesn't mean it's gay. it's up to me and my sister to teach them that being gay isn't anything negative, isn't anything different.

There is a statistic that states "9 out of 10 gay teens experience bullying and harassment at school and are four times likelier to attempt suicide." i guess i lucked out to be one of the 1% who escaped the bullying and harassment. even though i went to an all boys catholic highschool for 2 years and then a public school for the remaining 2. part of what makes me lucky, i guess, is that both were located in/around philadelphia. but also, i think, is because i was also intimidating. i was really big for my age; both height, bonestructure, and body size. 

all i can tell you is that it truly does get better. there is a slew of gay men and women already ahead of you trying to pave your way to a better future. we have been there before, and there are more of us around than you might know. i also know right now you're probably feeling isolated, scared, and confused. bullying or not, it's never fun trying to figure out where you fit in in this world. there are so many different venues for you to turn to for help, or even just to talk and get things off your chest.

to all of those, past and present, who have chosen to end their lives, and to all you in the future who might do the same, because of bullying, i, too, wish i could have told you that it does get better. and that there is someone (or a group of someones) out there who is there to help you. in your darkest despair, there is always a glimmer of hope. and it us, the older generations of gay men and women, who are sparkling in your night.


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