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[personal profile] debboamerik
By now, you have all heard about what we in the LGBT community have known for years: suicide is an epidemic among gay children. It is very hard to live with constant negative messages about homosexuality at home and at school and at the same time cope with your own emerging sexual identity. That's why antigay speech, whatever terms it is couched in, is child abuse. Yes, saying "We just don't believe that it's right" alienates your children and makes them believe that you'll never love them if you know who they truly are. Really.

However, it seems like things have just been escalating lately. One man and two seventeen-year-old kids were kidnapped, raped, and beaten in New York in the past week. Meanwhile, that state's Republican candidate for governor made a speech that attacked the gay community (and then said that he wasn't homophobic and didn't advocate violence against gay people). A gay pride parade in Belgrade (one of my favorite places to visit - I'm not being ironic here, I mean it) resulted in rioting and injury to several police officers.

The Obama administration, in an act of what I can only see as cowardice, sent Valerie Jarrett (a name known only to politics nerds like me) to speak at an HRC dinner on Saturday as their gesture of support. Aside from the fact that HRC is a controversial (widely disliked) organization in the gay community, this did not even make a single major news outlet in the country. Bill Clinton did much better with Matthew Shepard. And the world is still structured in such a way that kids like Sakia Gunn are just forgotten. Thanks, institutionalized racism!

Today is National Coming Out Day, and I think I speak for many LGBT people in saying that it is one of the saddest we've seen in a decade or more. I'm talking to my straight friends, here. Your children are dying. Kids aren't bullies because they are kids. They are bullies because political candidates like Carl Paladino, mainstream religious leaders like Pope Benedict XVI, and ordinary parents, clergy, and teachers make this behavior (and the attitudes behind them) acceptable. Kids aren't committing suicide because there's something wrong with them. They are committing suicide because they are getting the message that they are unlovable and that there is no hope for them. We've got to give them hope.

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debboamerik

January 2011

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