Seven years, six months, and twenty-six days ago, a young man wrote to a stranger on the internet out of desperation because there was nowhere else he could turn. All he wanted was a friendly ear to share his dream of escaping from the horrific life he had to endure. Escaping to a place where he wouldn't be bullied, teased, or beaten just because he existed.
And since then not a day goes by that I'm not reminded of how this poor kid woke up each morning trying to find the strength to make it through life just one more day.
How can I forget? Victims of bullying are killing themselves in record numbers because they can't see any other way to end the suffering.
And we as a society continue to let it happen.
Homophobic activists spare no expense in screaming to the world that gays are filthy perverts who are ruining civilization, destroying marriage, corrupting children, and causing God to plague us with hurricanes and earthquakes. They waste no opportunity to tell us that homosexuality is an evil abomination that should be driven from our community. They advocate sexuality to be nothing more than a "lifestyle" that only the most horrible people choose to embrace. They preach hatred and intolerance to the masses and feign shock when their words inspire an environment so hostile that people would rather die than be forced to live in it.
And while everyone is entitled to their opinion, I'd argue that such ruthless persecution falls outside merely "voicing one's opinion" and could more realistically be described as "inciting violence."
Not that there haven't been steps in the right direction.
Since I got the email that changed my life back in 2004, there have been a number of organizations started to help troubled LGBT youth find inspiration, hope, and help. The It Gets Better Project is a shining example of how people can combat the hatred, lies, and fear that the truly perverse elements of society use to make innocent kids think that their life isn't worth living. Happily, other such amazing projects are arriving all the time. Society is starting to use tolerance and truth to reclaim ground lost by discrimination and lies.
And today is Spirit Day when millions will be wearing purple as a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. It's a way of telling them that despite everything they have to endure, there are people out there who care about them. That they matter. That they are loved. That there are people out there who are fighting for them...
Seven years, six months, and twenty-six days ago a young fan of my blog wrote to me because there was nowhere else he could turn. Such a heartbreaking tragedy is unforgivable. Fortunately, it's also fixable. It's just a matter of caring enough to want things to change.
Then doing your part to make it happen.
Help out when you can.
Speak up when you're able.