Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Message From Me to You

By: Jennifer Carter

As I’m sure most of you know – as well as a lot of you don’t know – tomorrow (October 11) is National Coming Out Day (an internationally-observed civil awareness day for coming out and discussion about LGBT issues). In light of the recent deaths of seven young boys, I thought this would be a good time to talk to all of you. Possibly provide you with some helpful information (and my opinion on things) to get you thinking.

Seth Walsh (13), Asher Brown (13), Billy Lucas (15), Justin Aarberg (15), Cody Barker (17), Tyler Clementi (18), and Raymond Chase (19) – all committed suicide after being constantly bullied for being gay.

These are just seven of the thousands of other stories like these. You may not be reading about the others, but there are others. There is something severely wrong when 13 to 19 years olds go home from school and put a gun to their head, hang their self, or jump off a bridge. It breaks my heart just to think of how alone, ashamed, sad, hated, and unwanted they must of felt. High School is hard – it’s one of the worst times in a person’s life. And being gay in high school is only worse.

This needs to change. It’s 2010 for fuck sakes. We should not have to open a newspaper and read about homophobia. Schools need to become more LGBT friendly. Homosexuality needs to be discussed in schools. If we don’t talk about it and treat it like a secret, people are going to think it is just that. Why is it a secret? Why is this part of me/them a secret? Is it bad? Is there something wrong with me/them? It doesn’t matter what your race, sex, weight, sexual orientation, economic status, religion, popularity in school, the clothes you wear, etc, no one should have to go through this. And you shouldn’t want anyone else to have to. Stop turning a blind eye. Nothing is going to change if we continue to sit by and let it go on in front of our eyes.

When parents, teachers, bosses, and celebrity figures – people kids look up to – are saying homophobic things, of course kids are going to do it too. It’s sad when people with so much power abuse it (ie. 50 Cent and his recent tweet). What he said was so unbelievable wrong. It’s not and wasn’t funny. When things like that happen, of course the school halls are going to be filled with “that’s so gay”, “FAGGOT”, or “DYKE”. These words are hurtful, and using them out-of-context is not right either. And using the excuse of “oh, but I don’t mean it that way” doesn’t matter. When you are saying something is gay because it’s not cool, it equates gay people with being not cool. So I’m asking all of you, put an end to this hate. Question what people are saying. Correct people. Tell people they shouldn’t say these things. Give and show support. Speak up. People and society won’t change unless we address it.

Imagine not being able to marry the person you love, to adopt children, to be by the side of your dying partner in the hospital, and more – the rights all citizens deserve. When a government treats part of a population less than equal by taking away some of their rights, people are going to think and treat them as though they are not as good.

In the future, when discussing same-sex marriage (or when you Americans have to vote on it again) please consider this: remember that the church and state are supposed to be separate and ask yourself; do I believe in equal rights? I guarantee you will say yes, which means homosexuals have the right to marry because it is their equal right. It does not matter if your religion says other wise, religion does not have any business in this debate.

One of the most common things my friends always tell me that their parents say are “what about my grandchildren?” or “what about marriage?”. These things can still happen. Don’t assume your child/friend is straight. Instead of asking them things like “is there a boy/girl at school that you like?”, ask “is there someone you like at school?”, “are you dating anyone?” If you think you may have a gay friend, instead of coming out and asking them, consider just casually saying you support gay rights. It’s just something to let them know that when they are ready, they can count on you for support. It’s small things like these that can help make their high school experience a little easier.

To all those struggling– you are not alone. Don’t rush coming out, until you are ready. And I promise you, you will know when you are ready. You will know when living the double life is no longer working, or when you meet someone and you just have to scream from the rooftops about them. There will come a time, and you’ll be ready. And there will always be a whole community there to support you, to help you get through it. We are waiting for you, if you can just hold on. You are going to have a life filled with so much love, happiness, and accomplishments. It does get better.

So…tomorrow…someone may come out to you. If you have the pleasure of this, I ask you to please be respectful and listen to what they have to say. Be supportive and give encouraging words. Also watch your questions and how they can come across. Lastly, embrace the person and let them know what they mean to you, and that being gay doesn’t change that – they’re still the same person.

Be and stay proud. Let’s celebrate the gray!

(Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please spread the word and support, whether it be by forwarding this note or just speaking up from your own heart.)


Make It Better Project:
It Gets Better Project: &
Give A Damn:
The Trevor Project:
PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays): &
Transgender: & & &
Savage Love Podcast:
Two of my favourite blog entries on Prop 8 & equal rights: &
News clippings: & &

As I wrote this, news came in of a horrific hate crime on three gay men. Absolutely disgusting. (