A letter for LGBT youth.


For you,

Letter 1. Courage. Acknowledgment. Visibility.

You were born beautiful. You are children of the earth, no matter who gave birth to you in human form, you are unique, and important, and valued. Many of us have let you down, but many of us are trying not to.

Initially I hadn’t intended this blog to be about being LGBT people, but increasingly it’s where my heart takes me. So many youth are committing suicide and suffering through depression, being kicked out of their homes by homophobic adults or parents and it’s heartbreaking how a parent’s beliefs or homophobic ideology can be stronger than the love for their own children, it’s how I know human beings are deeply flawed as a species. But not all humans. Bless the parents and guardians who love their children enough to learn about equity, same sex love, and for abandoning deep rooted homophobia in order to support their children and other peoples LGBT children. We need you. And we too, your LGBT community, we have survived our youth. We have been where you are. Whether some of us left home at a young age or were tossed out, or experienced discrimination around gender, sexuality, race, class or ability….many of us have been right where you are. I pledge to you to do what I can, through work, writing, speaking and acknowledging your struggles and plight. You are not alone.

What I’ve learned is to not treat others with the same hatred, anger and discrimination that has been directed at me. This has been in important lesson because it means digging in and looking at my own beliefs, things I’ve been taught about gender, race, and class, what has been systemically valued, or politically and socially supported and what/who has not. I try my best not to repeat the lessons handed down and know now that the only way to justice and peace is to think, live and act with equity and love in your heart, and to work for change. But I know that this is not how we are treated by others necessarily. In the face of hate and those who wish you harm, I want you to know that I love you and am here for you. I pledge to you, LGBT youth, that I will be here.

The “It gets better” slogan is not enough, is it? It was an important reaction from elders and LGBT peers, to provide support and encouragement, to give hope to those despairing or suffering in silence or out in the open in schoolyards and hallways by bullies, in homophobic homes or in shelters.  When people say, “it gets better,” it doesn’t really address the ‘now’ does it? Not three our five years away. I think the truth is that we are discovering how to deal with the now, a homophobic and flawed culture steeped in discriminatory ideology  handed down by colonialism, slavery, oppression and sanctioned homophobia by states, legal systems, countries and religions. We are finding our way out of this oppression still as adults, and we have a long way to go, but know this, we have your back. Our activism and work is not not only for our own freedom, but for you, our youth. And I know that many of you are light years ahead of some of your LGBT elders!

I’m not certain how many, or if any youth will read this blog post, but I am writing it anyway. This is only Part 1.  So come back. Write to me through this blog if you want. Know that even in your silence or uncertainty, we see you and are here for you. We are your ancestors regardless of DNA, we are your family.

Love,                                                                                                                                                                                     Joanne


  1. Great read Joanne!! I am not a youth anymore but I went through a lot as a lesbian youth. Wish we had someone like you then. I got through it just fine even though it was hard. What a blessing that the youth of today have someone like you standing with them. Your voice is very important. Well all of our voices are important but you just have a natural way with words. Thank you so much. :):)

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