"My death needs to mean something." Wow, that's pretty profound. They're just kids, right? They're just teenagers, and they don't know anything about the world, right? Well, I think Leelah taught us all a very valuable lesson: Life is very precious, and it needs to mean something.
Twenty-four years later, we still think of her. We still ask questions. There was no note. We have coffee, talk of her, and cry. We tell our children that sometimes life is hard, but it is -- in equal measure, at least -- splendid and captivating. We miss her. We love her.
In celebration of Valentine's Day, schools across the country launched anti-bullying initiatives to create awareness, sensitivity and support for school age children. Dare I suggest we consider expanding them into the conference rooms of media outlets across the country?
I am calling for the formation of groups of "Rainbow Berets" within schools. These would be concerned peer groups that would stand up to the circumstances that inspire bullying. They would be visible in their schools and would serve as safe confidants.
I want to give you a big hug and tell you that it gets better, because it actually does. Hang on. There are people you may not even know yet who are waiting for you with open arms, and they will love you unconditionally. Trust me.
This summer two lawsuits were filed on behalf of six students in Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin school district. The students had endured "slurs, were stabbed with pencils, shoved into walls and lockers, punched, called names and urinated on..."
The authorities in education seem to feel bullying is an epidemic and "indicative of the violent times in which we live." They make it sound as if bullying is some new byproduct of the 21st century. It isn't.
Hostile school climates are fed most often on Sunday mornings in local pulpits where fundamentalists serve parishioners a steady diet of homophobia and bigotry that is sanctioned by the some of the largest churches in the world.