Once again, local Chicago businesses are coming together to help confront the huge problem of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth bullying and suicide. While LGBTQ bullying and the increased risk of suicide is not a new problem, the recent media coverage has finally helped put this important issue issue into the spotlight.
Local bars Scarlet and Minibar UltraLounge &Cafe in Boystown announced today that they will be participating in a local event called Painting the 'Town Purple on October 20, 2010. That date has been deemed "Spirit Day", where the LGBT community and their allies will wear purple in honor of the LGBTQ youth who have committed suicide due to homophobic abuse and bullying in their homes, at at their schools, or in their daily lives. Purple represents "Spirit" on the LGBT rainbow flag, so the color was chosen to honor the spirit of our community as we remember those we've lost and come together to make sure young people know they aren't alone.
The Painting the 'Town Purple event will benefit the Trevor Project, which works every day to save the lives of young LGBTQ people by running the Trevor Lifeline, the nation's only 24-hour suicide and crisis prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth. They also also run TrevorChat, an online messaging service that connects young people with a counselor without having to pick up the phone and TrevorSpace, a bully-free zone online where LGBTQ youth, their friends and allies can connect with other people just like them all around the world.
Scarlet and Minibar will be donating portions of their proceeds to the Trevor Project and
Vivid Seats Ltd is donating 2 general admission floor seats to the February 28th Lady Gaga/Scissor Sisters concert at the United Center in Chicago to be raffled at the events!
Venues for Painting the Town Purple (Wednesday, October 20th, 10pm):
Scarlet - 3320 N. Halsted, Chicago IL (773) 348-1053
Will be donating a percentage of the entire night to go to The Trevor Project. There will also be a Video Filming Booth available for the It Gets Better Project, which helps LGBTQ youth realize that things do get better by hearing other peoples stories via website and videos, available to attendees.
Minibar UltraLounge &Cafe - 3341 N Halsted, Chicago IL (773) 871-MBAR
$5 Suggested Donation to benefit the Trevor Project and receive a free drink ticket- $6 Belvedere Martinis - $1 from each martini goes to the Trevor Project.
And of course the 2 general admission floor seats to the February 28th Lady Gaga/Scissor Sisters concert from Vivid Seats Ltd will be raffled off along with various gift certificates for local businesses!
LGBT young people face prejudice, fear and hate every day. That is why they are at a higher risk to do self-destructive things like attempt suicide. According to research done by The Trevor Project, LGBTQ teens are four times more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterparts. When a young LGBTQ person is thrown out of their family home or otherwise abused, they are up to 8 times more likely to attempt suicide, compared to youth whose families accept them for who they are. And when a young person is bullied at school - if they're called names, fought with, had things stolen from them - their chances for attempting suicide more than double.
Suicide is one of the top three causes of death among 15 to 24-year-olds and is the second leading cause of death on college campuses.
There is good news, however. When a young person knows there is an adult they can trust, or a club they can belong to, like a Gay Straight Alliance, or even have the number for The Trevor Lifeline, they are much more likely to reach out for help when they face a crisis and those horrendous statistics drop dramatically.
That's why Chicago and the Trevor Project aren't sitting by silently in the face of this tragic problem. We can all come together to raise awareness and let LGBTQ youth know they aren't alone and it does get better. We can show them there is a whole community of friends and allies that care about them and they aren't alone. We can all make a difference and make sure those young people don't become tragic statistics.
So wear purple all day, come out on Wednesday night, leave a message in the "It Gets Better Video Booth", and get involved in the Chicago Ambassadors of the Trevor Project, who will be in attendance with information about how you can volunteer and help!
Let's paint the town purple to save young lives!
Follow Waymon Hudson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/WaymonHudson