The Friday before Mother's Day, my work associate asked me for a favor. "I may need to work altered hours on Monday, if that is OK," she started. "I have a memorial service that I need to go to." And then, almost under her breath: "It was a suicide."
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.
Bullying must not be seen as simply a "youth problem" but as resulting from larger societal issues. Institutional bullying and harassment do not exist within a vacuum but reflect and actually reproduce the messages and actions stemming from the social environment.
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.
The media's singular focus on LGBTQ youth suicides creates a deadly echo chamber. The repetitive tale about our collective failure to address the pain felt by many LGBTQ youth doesn't translate into inspiration for the kids who are still here.
I could hear the pain of abandonment in EricJames Borges' voice as he spoke about growing up in a deeply religious -- and deeply prejudiced -- home. This appears to be a common thread among every gay suicide I've had to ponder.
Evangelical, fundamentalist Christians -- by which I mean, specifically, Christians who believe that being gay is a moral abomination, an appalling affront to God -- talk to me, please, about Jonah Mowry.
This episode was one of the hardest shows I have done in my nine-year run on the series. There is a scene where I hold up Carl's clothes, which are so tiny -- it's so unfortunate to think about how much more this 11-year-old-boy had to give in life.
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..."
These kids are not getting bullied; they are getting mugged. If the same violent incidents occurred on the subway or at the grocery store, they would be considered mugging, and the perpetrator would be arrested for assault.
It wasn't inspiration that got me off that bridge but a person who saw a boy in a perilous place. Fewer kids will die when it's not just their parents or their gay and lesbian peers but our entire society that is keeping an eye out on their well-being.
I am fueled by passion. It's not the same as the passion that comes from finding my son hanged to death. It can't undo any damage I may have unknowingly done to someone. It is my attempt to do what I can to help all children.
This article is my third in less than three years about teen bullying and the tragedy of suicide among LGBT youth. Today, I write an almost identical article with practically the same statistics that I have written for the past two years.
For Jamey, and potentially many more young people in a similar situation, being told and believing that "it gets better" is not enough. For Jamey and these other youth, the situation must be made better -- now.