Does it really get better?
Last month, Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old Buffalo, New York teen committed suicide after relentless bullying. Before he ended his life, he created an "It gets better video" where he mentioned his role model: "Lady Gaga, she makes me so happy and she lets me know that I was born this way. So that's my advice to you from her, you were born this way. And all you have to do is just hold your head up and you'll go far." Rodemeyer reached out for help on the internet, only to endure more incessant bullying.
In the spirit of teenagers like Rodemeyer, October 20th is Spirit Day, an annual celebration on which people, schools, companies, etc., wear purple in an effort to raise anti-gay awareness. It's a day to take a stand against anti-gay bullying and to celebrate the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth.
Teenagers need to know that they are OK, that they are unique and special just the way they are. The more this message proliferates our media, our social media sites and conversations, the less our youth will feel hopeless and helpless.
We hope you'll take a moment of silence to remember the lives all teenagers who committed suicide after suffering relentless bullying. We invite you to join us today in solidarity and show your spirit by wearing purple. Then, we want you to continue to think about what you can do to reach out to a teen in need.
Whether you're gay, straight, black, white or whatever spectrum you identify with, we all know how it feels to be taunted and treated differently because of our differences. Change starts with you. All it takes is one small act or conversation.
- This week and beyond, we hope you are imbued and empowered by the stories of others speaking up and speaking out -- we challenge you to think of just one thing you can do to raise awareness about LGBT issues (Wear purple, or check out GLAAD's site to purple(fy) your FB or Twitter page.)
- Blog about an LGBT issue
- Have a conversation about it, talk to the youth in your life and let them know that it isn't OK to make fun of anyone for any reason
- Facebook and Tweet about your favorite inspiring LGBT solidarity story. This blog post is one of my favorite stories of solidarity.
With each and every small action, I believe it does get better.
Rodemeyer's final Facebook post was taken from Lady Gaga's song The Queen on his Facebook page, he wrote: 'Don't forget me when I come crying to heaven's door.'
Follow Toan Lam on Twitter: www.twitter.com/GoInspireGo