We have lost another young person to suicide. She may have identified as a Lesbian. Bi-sexual. Bi-curious. Pan-sexual...whatever category--it was her right. These youth are crying for supporters, listeners, mothers, fathers, teachers, brothers, sisters, and Aunties. Though you may not agree with people BEING gay (it is inherent) you have the ability to at minimum not to physically, emotionally, spiritually abuse them for who they are. We as a people have to be willing to stand up for the rights of others. I know that African American's don't want the struggles of other oppressed groups compared to the struggle for freedom, but there is some truth to the matter. If your rights are restricted, if your voice is ignored, if you are caged, dehumanized, belittled, told that you are less than someone else, your value is not the same as someone elses value, your love is not the same as someone else's love, your trial is not the same as someone else's trial...than where do you find support and hope?! How do you put stock in humanity?
On Sunday I went to outfest in Philadelphia. It was a national coming out celebration. I walked around with my girlfriend and we discussed the protestors. They were religious groups that passed out pamphlets saying you are going to hell if you are.... They held signs that said God Hates you...they screamed into bullhorns that all of us were going to hell. I witnessed 3 young people standing at the corner of 13th and Spruce with bright yellow t-shirts. The shirts read, "God Hates Whores, God Hates Sinners, and God Hates Gays." I was shocked and saddened because someone is teaching them to Hate. I saw the father standing in close proximity as the children smiled because they were making him proud. This incident and the recent suicides make it even more important for me to continue to work with students and to instill in them that it is okay to be different...you don't have to die.
I am not ashamed of who I am and I do not expect everyone to accept me for who I have always been. However, I do expect Respect! I am human and all of the people that you judge (race, creed, sexuality, religion), you make fun of, you hurt, belittle deserve Respect and their rights as well. If you know what it is like to be to be hurt, why hurt others?! I work with college students and I tell them to be kind to one another and to recognize that we are different but are all the same because we are human! As soon as we start to accept one another for who we are, things will improve.
I am a black, lesbian woman! This does not define who I am...it is a part of me! I am caring, I am nurturing, I am a great daughter, a great friend, a pretty cool listener, advocate (until I have no breath in my body), funny, poet, singer, photographer, and an educator who loves life! Now, if you are so caught up on the first sentence then you miss all the wonderful things about me...the things that do make me who I am.
I tell my students that this moment in time is just that--a moment! It gets better...you have to do your best to make the most out of this life! You can do it...no matter what your situation! If you have the opportunity to say something nice to someone today--do it! We have to help our youth understand that we are here for them!
My heart is broken because someone else lost their life because she was told that she wasn't good enough. She IS (don't like to use was because her memory is still here) good enough! Spread love! Spread love! Spread love!