Letter to LGBT youth. Continued. Death is not an answer.

IMG_6531For you,

Please don’t hurt yourself. Self harm is not the answer to being hurt by others. Hatred wins when this happens. You deserve only love and when hatred is what you experience, it isn’t because you are unlovable or because you’ve done anything wrong. Being LGBT is something that should be celebrated and cherished. If you are greeted with hatred, it is the stuff of small minded and mean spirited people who are not worthy of knowing you.

Dying doesn’t change anything. Bullies will turn around and find someone else, unless they grow a conscience, but death isn’t the way to enlighten others and suicide is not the way to change what is unbearable. Dying only cuts your life short. I know that pain can drive a person to want to die. Grief is overwhelming. I’m not saying that suffering is good to endure, I’m saying, please don’t kill yourself. I’m saying the world needs you to live. Other children who come after you will need you to be brave so they have hope. It’s awful to ask you to be so responsible for the next generation when you are young yourself, but it’s important because if younger LGBT kids see other youth killing themselves, it takes a little bit of hope away.

I believe LGBT youth are the angels of our species. Truly, that you are able to recognize love regardless of what others think of you, that you can love or that you can understand who you are in the face of homophobia or transphobia- is a miracle, and I think that hanging in will turn you into a living adult angel who will be far more able to cope with life hurdles after a few years of practice. And who knows, maybe the bullying or hatred will subside a lot faster than you think, but it won’t if you are not here. Ending life might immediately end suffering on this side of things, but it does not end suffering. Suffering will get transferred to parents, teachers, friends, guardians, social workers, boyfriends and girlfriends, siblings…even the quiet kids who may not have known how to speak up for you, or those keeping the secret about being LGBT, they will suffer silently in your absence. I know it’s a lot to ask, to request you hang on, but I promise you it will be for a purpose, a purpose you may not even know right now, because we can never know everything at any one point and time. But more than hanging in for others, you must hang in for yourself and be brave. You are brave, but if you are feeling defeated or in pain or afraid, remember you are not alone. There are thousands and millions of us just like you.

One day the idea that people were homophobic will seem ludicrous to future generations. They will wonder how and why people could have been so cruel to other humans. Our community needs you to stay so we can grow our culture, so we can fight for change and help our youth…even if you are only young yourself, you have power, and your life has meaning. 

I guess on a personal level, I am heartbroken every time I read or learn about another LGBT youth who takes their own life. I don’t want to lose anymore youth. There are great LGBT youth centres, helplines, and trusted adults that can help navigate the system and while it’s not a perfect system, it can help you out of immediate danger from a volatile home situation, or if you are thinking of harming yourself, they will help. So yes, I am asking you to continue being brave, and I am asking you to get help, and I am asking you to live because in larger numbers we will change the world. It may not be better yet, but you will be part of putting that puzzle together. We can’t lose anymore of you. And let’s face it…we are a lot of fun and we are incredibly creative and intelligent people, your LGBT family.

Love,

Joanne

p.s. here are a few resources:

LGBT Youth Line: LGBT Youth Line | Facebook

LGBT youth help Canada:  http://www.youthline.ca/index.php

Youth Centre Las Angeles: Youth Center – Los Angeles LGBT Center

Gay York Region: http://www.gayyorkregion.com

Trans Resources Toronto: http://www.familyservicetoronto.org/programs/dks/res_trans.html

Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org

Please send me your comments and feedback.

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