For parents of kids who are transgender, gender education alone isn't going to provide that reassurance. What I think would really help are more everyday success stories -- people who can show trans kids, their parents and society as a whole that being transgender doesn't have to forever define you (unless you want it to).
This needs to end now. Those of us with the resources to fight in any way need to continue to stand up to those who are actively working to see more trans people dead, and we need to be absolutely present with those trans people who, at any given moment, may have fewer emotional or material resources than we do.
It's been approximately nine months since I almost made a fateful decision to end my life. However, by fighting and willing myself to move forward, share my story, and not to give up on myself or my dreams, my life has led to positive unexpected outcomes. Today, I'm a better, stronger, and a more positive man than I ever thought I could be.
As the facts emerge surrounding Titi's passing, I hope that all, especially the black community, are moved to take action to significantly increase awareness and education surrounding mental health, illness and wellness so that we do not have to continue to mourn the passing of so many of our dynamic and extraordinary souls.
Last week we saw a perfect example of how screwed up priorities have gotten in Congress. When the financial sector demanded a provision weakening regulations on risky derivative trading, Congress obliged. When veterans asked for $22 million over five years for a suicide prevention program, Sen. Coburn blocked the entire bill.
What is happening in the male brain that's causing them to think that ending their life is the right decision? Is it all just chemical? Is this a nature vs. nurture situation? Is it cultural: Are we raising our boys all wrong? Why can't we really get the same insurance coverage for mental health care?
Until recently, suicide was viewed principally as a mental health problem, where it was felt that effective treatment of persons' psychiatric conditions or psychological issues would alleviate their suicidal thoughts and plans. However, many of us have viewed it as a fundamental public health problem as well as a mental health challenge.
It's been five years since Jacob Sexton, a soldier with the Indiana National Guard, came home with nightmares after two combat deployments, and on a Monday evening in a movie theater with family and friends, killed himself with a pistol shot. He was 21-years-old. The story is horrifying, and sadly familiar. On this day, we pause to honor the 21.9 million living Americans who have served in uniform. We might also remember the estimated 8,000 veterans and 475 active duty, reserve and National Guard men and women who took their own lives last year in the ongoing tragedy of military and veteran suicide. Jacob's death, like the others, could have been prevented.