Monday, October 11, 2010

what we need in this world is some love

Megan Carolin is a straight ally and today is National Coming Out Day. I'm coming out for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality because it's 2010 and almost 90% of LGBT youth experience harassment in school, and too many lives have been lost.

That is my current facebook status. Today is National Coming Out Day, and it is something that should be talked about. I am a straight ally. I want everyone in my life to know that I love them and support them for who they are. Please don't be afraid to be yourself for me. I think you are beautiful. I know this because I know everyone is beautiful. I truly believe that. I cannot even begin to express how passionate I am about telling every person how special they are.

Recently there has been a huge rise in the number of teen suicides as result of harassment/bullying for their sexual preference. You'd think we would be past that, it's 2010- but it's clear that it's a battle we fight every day. I'll be honest, I didn't see much of this in my own high school experience. Probably because I went to an all girls school where we were more concerned about whether or not there were fresh cookies in the cafeteria that day, but in my four years I never saw bullying or harassment. A little gossip, maybe, but that was it. In college I heard a few stories but I was still hesitant to believe it was really a problem, after all, my group of friends from home loved each other no matter what. I had a few gay friends and no one had a problem with it. I couldn't believe when people told me that where they came from, it was "disgusting" and "wrong".

It wasn't until I worked at a high school that it really sunk in. I had a few students that were tormented because of their sexual orientation. Cyber bullying and rude, hurtful remarks were a daily occurrence. My heart hurt for those kids, and I was always quick to defend them. One student came out to me. We'll call him James. I will never forget that day. James came to me and asked if we could talk. This didn't surprise me, he was a frequent flyer in the peer mediation department- because girls were always fighting over him. That day, though, he told me "Miss Carolin, I'm gay. I have a crush on a boy." I said "okay, James" he smiled. "I knew you wouldn't laugh at me. You're different". I asked him if he had told anyone else, and that's when his mood changed. For the next 15 minutes he sat there crying telling me he would never tell anyone else because it would ruin him. A few days later, James was back at my desk. "I told my best friend. She put it on facebook and everyone went nuts. Now no one is talking to me". I didn't know what to say. I just told him that I was there for him and that people can be cruel, but that he should know he is important and worth it. The bullying continued, although it was not as severe as I know it could have been. Thank God for that. I still think about James and wonder how he's doing. I promised him things would get better. I hope that they did and he is happy and loved.

So, I am a straight ally because I want the bullying to stop. No one should ever feel that low, that unworthy of love. We are all deserving of love. Every single one of us, and who are we to judge someone and say that they are not? You can't do that. I don't know how long it will take for people to understand that. I will continue to fight for these rights, because it is something I believe in. If anyone out there is feeling lost, hurt, alone, know that I stand by you. Hugs and kisses to all. You are beautiful.

In support of National Coming Out Day, I suggest each of us take a deep breath and admit something to the world. It can be silly, it can be personal and serious. Just do something to show your support. While you're at it, say a prayer for everyone coming out today, that they be shown support and love. If you haven't taken your stand, do it today. Now. Don't wait, or keep it inside. People need to know that you love them and will be there for them. It could save their life.

I am going to close with a song that gives me hope. Maybe it will touch some of you, as well.

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