Today is GLSEN’s annual Day of Silence. Seeing as it’s been a few years since I was last in school, I can’t actively take part. However, Samantha, Chris and Eric are taking their vow of silence for this day.
I can’t deny that I find it sad that in 2011 there is still so much hate geared toward the LGBT community. The increase in reported youth suicides in 2010 was tragic and depressing. The amount of bullying and lack of acceptance out there sadly eclipses all the love and encouragement that so many of us have to offer. School can be tough enough with just the academics, but a lot of kids have the added stress of being picked on for what ever reasons some close-minded punks hold on to.
I remember being in school, and let me tell you, I clearly remember every instance in which I was deliberately the target of some form of bullying. So clear, that I can still tell you what grade, class period and the persons who felt the need to inflict hate toward me. What else do I clearly remember? The names of people who stood up against them and managed to get them to back off, even if only temporarily. It really sucked, but I held on to the hope given to me by those who stood up – the hope that not everyone was filled with such animosity.
Years later, I survived school and most certainly have grown from my experiences. I don’t like that I have such incidents in my history, but what I don’t like even more is knowing that kids still have to encounter it. The teaching of tolerance to our youth appears to not be given enough focus whether it be in school, at home or every where else. And it is our youth that needs to learn it, for they are the future. Those who have been around long enough to be set in their ways may be impossible to sway, but there is hope with the youth still. Therefore, it is important that the minority that feels like everyone around them is against them, because hate is very impacting, realize that things will improve. Because the more of us that survive all the hate, the more of us there will be in the future to make things better for future youths.
I’m glad that there are resources available for the LGBT community and it’s youth with increasing support. The Trevor Project‘s been around for a little over a dozen years and was joined recently by the It Gets Better Project. Lady Gaga has proceeds of her latest song, “Born This Way”, benefiting GLSEN and Adam Lambert recently released a remix of his song, “Aftermath”, with proceeds from it going to The Trevor Project. I highly recommend you check out both songs if you haven’t already. They are great songs with awesome messages.