When There’s No Way Out

There is no excuse for transphobia. Yet another victim of suicide reminds us that your actions aren’t harmless. When will this end? How many young people have to die before people start to understand the gravity of their actions.

I have met so many “not homophobic/transphobic” people who in the same sentence will remark, “just don’t be gay/trans around me.” Can you imagine what that does the a person? Do you realize the compounding effect these types of statements have when spoken over and over again? Do you ever reach outside of what you know and try to grasp at realities beyond your immediate existence?

Growing up gay was hard. I didn’t know who I could tell, what my friends or family members would say. I worried I’d be kicked out of my house or worse. I grew up in the time of Matthew Shepard, a time when the only LGBT kids you heard about dying did so at the hands of criminals. Wasn’t that bad enough?

Now we have LGBT persons killing themselves at the rate of 1,500 per year. Re-read that number. One thousand, five hundred, every single year. And for what? Because to them, “there’s no way out,” but death. And why? Because people who fill their heads with hatred, judgment and fear can’t help but pester and prod and provoke.

LBGT youth are 400% more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. 30% of LGBT you have attempted suicide by age 15. If you focus on transgendered population it get even more dire. That 30% number becomes 41%. Nearly half of all transgendered people have attempted or succeeded in committing suicide. That is nearly 900% higher than what we call average.

I’m gay and I survived when many times I thought I wouldn’t. I struggled through elementary school, junior high and high school in the closet. It resulted in dozens of hospital visits from stress-related illnesses and there were times visions of the future faded from my view. Just like Leelah, I didn’t see  any other way out. I cannot tell you how I survived my life in the closet. I felt I was cast away on an island left to fend for myself. I had no one. I feared everyone.

Today I’m so grateful for the friends with whom I surrounded myself and am blessed with a family that celebrates my existence.

We have got to stop this. I am tired of starting my mornings in tears reading news of yet another LGBT suicide.