We are doing this because we were moved by the plight of our youth who are turning to suicide as an option. We are doing this so that these young people know that eventually, life will improve. We know everyone’s life isn’t a fairy tale or that you were welcomed with open arms when you came out, but we also know that for every person who comes out to roses and love, there are scores of others who are met with resistance, hate and violence. We hope that by sharing these stories we can encourage our youth, let you know that suicide is not your only option when things are hard, when people taunt you, kick you or worse. We want you to know that someone who cares and more importantly has been through what you’re dealing with and has come out the other side is giving you strength in their words, and in doing so helping you to get through it.
We also feel it’s important that LGBTQIA youth know that life will not always be full of bullies, hatred and the seemingly endless slog of high school. Being out isn’t easy, and those youth who decide to be out while in school should not be harassed, mistreated or bullied for who they are. There have been too many suicides of youth, of kids as young as 8th grade who have been bullied and harassed to the point of feeling death is the only way out for them. People such as Seth Walsh, who passed away after struggling for 10 days after his suicide attempt because he was bullied for being gay. Or Asher Brown, the 8th grader who was pushed to suicide because he was bullied so much.
Another reason we’re doing this and why it matters, is the tragic case of Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate and a classmate live-streamed his private sexual encounter, and attempted to do so a second time, the day before he took his life. We lost a musician, a wonderful person who was only with us for 18 years due to the hatred, and disregard for someone else’s privacy, and ultimately life. Today, there’s another story in the news, of 19 year old Raymond Chase, who committed suicide because of harassment and bullying. Mr. Chase was a sophomore in college, and out and now he’s gone.
The continual loss of life, the tragedy of young people’s lights snuffed out too soon is why this project matters so much. We have to let our youth know that we got your back, and you are too important to let the haters win by ending your life.
- Chicago Stands Up Against Anti-Gay Bullying & LGBT Suicide (bilerico.com)