Fact: 2% of all teens in Canada commit suicide annually.
Fact: 30% of all teen suicides in Canada are committed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) youth.
Fact: LGBT teens do not commit suicide because of sexual their orientation; they commit suicide due to discrimination against their sexual orientation.
Fact: Most teen suicides are entirely preventable when adults watch for and respond to the signs.
Fact: Teens who commit suicide do not really want to die.
Fact: LGBT teens live in terror that someone will “oust” them during their high school years.
Fact: Sexual orientation is not a choice.
Fact: Unless they are portrayed as abhorrent or tragic, there are no high school novels or literature that deal directly with LGBT relationships. Suggested reading for the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum to fight discrimination against LGBT teens:
10 LGBT teen novels that tackle teen suicide and bullying.
Yes Roman Catholic schools should use the above novels aimed at the emotional challenges of LGBT teens. Examination is not acceptance. It is learning, as much as working with a bunsen burner in a science lab (except you’re less likely to blow up the lab). Above all, Catholics, Jesus said it first and best: judge not lest ye be judged. (Did you hear that, Damian Goddard?).
High school is the worst time to be an LGBT person. But high school truly is just a blip in time in your life… you will never see most of the bullies and other jerks who didn’t get you again (they’ll be in prison or fired for harrassment at their work place, probably). After high school your life begins and usually it rocks. In other words, it gets better.
Don’t believe me? Here are some very cool people who are on your side: An Anti-Bullying Message from the NOH8 Campaign.
If you are considering coming out to your family try these steps:
- Is your family physically/verbally abusive? It may be best not to come out to them until you are older, graduated, working and living independently.
- Assuming your family isn’t physically/verbally abusive, approach your parents first and do so one at a time. Whichever parent you are closest to is a good place to start. There may be shock (or not), anger, sadness, a number of emotions. .
- If you are thrown out of the house you need shelter and protection. The best person to approach is……..
- …..your guidance counsellor. Ask for assistance in finding a temporary and then permanent home. n.b. If you live in a tiny, rural, extremely moralist community this may be a bad idea. It may be wise to inform a counsellor at your post-secondary school instead.
- Forgive your parents and friends for not understanding. Some people need time to process this information and will discriminate against you. Even if your parents temporarily throw you out, when they are ready to accept you as a LGBT teen, forgive them and go home.
- Understand some of the uninformed reasons people may be prejudiced against you. Put their fears to rest when you come out to them. Invite them to ask you questions (within reasons) to understand you better.
- Inform your family about PFLAG – Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays a non-profit support group. If your family likes this organization, join it.
- Join a supportive gay club in your school (refer to #3 for further info). Even Roman Catholic schools have clubs that deal with the challenges of homophobia. That Catholic Bishops acknowledge LGBT students in the RC school system, and want to stop the discrimination against these students is phenomenal….this goes against thousands of years of RC history.
- Join itgetsbetter.com Download your own video and watch other people’s life stories.
- When it feels like no one understands or accepts you, remember that someone very powerful does: He died on the cross for you. That’s about as accepting as it gets.
When it gets dark, remember this little ode:
One day a LGBT teenager spoke to Jesus and said “Lord I am suffering so much in my life, will You walk with me during my life and never abaondon me?”
The Lord replied, “My dear child I will always walk with you and never abandon you.”
The LGBT teen walked along a long beach that reflected her life journey. When she finished her jorney, she looked back on the beach where she had been walking and saw that where she had suffered the most in her life there was only one set of footprints. She was greatly saddened by this and spoke to the Lord.
“Lord you told me that you would walk with me during my life and would never abandon me, but when I was suffering the most there are only one set of footsteps in the sand. Why did You abandon me?”
The Lord looked at His child gently and said, “My dear child I love you very much and I would never abandon you. Those times in your life where you see only one set of footsteps, when you suffered the most in your life, it was then that I carried you.”