What's sad when it comes to my reaction to these stories is that I didn't really react. Nothing about the 13-year-old boy who killed himself or the 18-year-old young adult whose story just broke today or the two that happened just weeks prior...nothing about these is new.
And it sucks that I have to say that.
It sucks that bullying is such a problem and that so many people kill themselves, think about killing themselves, think about blowing up a school, think about fading into nothingness...because of other people. And it sounds so juvenile when you talk about it as a "well-rounded adult." It sounds almost patronizing to call it bullying and write it off as schoolyard taunting, when it is so much more than that.
I've talked pretty openly about my suicidal ideations when I was a teenager. And, it's funny. When you're the person who wanted to kill themselves - but didn't - you talk about it as though I wanted to, but didn't have to balls to do it. Then, when I got older, I learned better. If you've never thought about jumping off a bridge or hanging yourself in your backyard (as these teens did), then you think of not killing yourself as brave. As sane. But, when you're that kid who has nobody - not even family...not even God - and you firmly believe that everything about you is a bastardization of normalcy, then you don't think it's brave. You think of it as doing the world a favor.
You think of it as better.
What's even more fucked up is that the mainstream conversation is how normalized, desensitized we're all supposedly becoming to gays, lesbians, and transexuals. Recent reports from GLAAD tell how, for the third year in a row, more gay characters are appearing in more of the highest rated shows on television. Hollywood is portraying gay folks as actual human beings and not just as hilarious little eunuchs dancing for our enjoyment.
But what does that mean? What the hell does any of this mean when suicide - SUICIDE - is the third leading cause of death for teens. And, furthermore, studies show that GLBT teens are 2-4 times more likely to commit suicide. If those teens are - or believe they will be - rejected by their family, that number shoots up to 8-9 times more likely to commit suicide.
So Hollywood is fine with piping in gay folks to a tv near you. This generation is preached about as the most tolerant of any past generation, what with integration being something in a history book and religion and sexual orientation being so open and fluid these days. And still....still gay teen suicide is on the rise.
See, this is why I said fortunately I didn't see the news stories when they were originally reported. I've gotten them on internet news feeds, which I think is better for me. I can be numb to a screen. I can not have my high school days bubble up in memory from text on a screen. But...seeing these faces. Hearing their names and circumstances. That's when it makes it hard to not turn into a puddle of concern and tears and pleas to the divine for intercession.
We are killing our youth with our intolerance.
And I'd really, really like to know when it's going to stop. I'd like you to please take a moment and look into the faces of these two individuals. These two souls who have passed on, who fell victim to an age, a country, an intolerant society. Bless them. And then swear to yourself that you'll be better. I'm not asking you to call a Senator or Representative this time. I'm not swinging pitchfork and torch and raising the masses for a Riot. I'm asking you to be better. Show tolerance next time.
Next time that Jew or that black guy or that Sikh or that Muslim or that Christian or that Pagan or that Chinese woman or that person...whoever they are...next time that human does something you don't like. Next time they are rude or a little too in your face. I'm asking you not to attribute it to anything about their respective community/ies. I'm asking you to be better. It starts with you. Just forgive it. Forgive it. You don't need that intolerance sitting in your belly, rotting away, anyways. Be better.
|This is Seth Walsh. He was 13 when he hung himself in his backyard, because he couldn't take the bullying of his classmates anymore due to him being gay.|