Six recent deaths have made national headlines, highlighting the ongoing problem of suicide among LGBT young people. According to studies cited by the Trevor Project, which works to proven “lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.”
A 2002 study showed that more than 1/3 of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth report attempting suicide, while a separate 2007 study noted that almost 1/2 of transgender youth have thought about committing suicide and 1/4 have tried.
A candlelight vigil last Saturday in Atlanta commemorated the recent deaths, and several ongoing video projects aim to tell LGBT youth that suicide is not an answer to their problems.
The “It Gets Better” video campaign, spearheaded by gay journalist Dan Savage, has inspired dozens of LGBT celebrities and to record their own messages of hope for LGBT youth.
The Queer Justice League of Atlanta is partnering with the GA Voice to record our own local “It Gets Better” messages. To participate, come by the GA Voice booth at Atlanta Pride on Sunday.
Several gay youth activists have also launched their own complimentary online campaign, urging fellow young people to “Make it Better” rather than wait until they are older and “It Gets Better.”
Purple or pink on Oct. 20?
A widely circulating Facebook page urges people to wear purple on Oct. 20 in memory of LGBT suicide victims.
Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools. RIP Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas. You are loved.
That same day, another page urges people to wear pink to protest bullying in schools.
Over 160,000 kids stayed home from school today because of bullies. Too often, bullying goes unreported and is perpetuated by the stigma associated with seeking help. Pink Shirt Day is LifeWays’ inaugural event to promote bullying prevention in our schools, homes, workplaces and the internet. We are wearing PINK on National Bullying Prevention Day (10/20) to say to others, “The end of bullying starts with me!”
Unfortunately, vehement right-wing gay rights opponents have felt compelled to get in on the act, offering videos claiming “It Gets Worse” that have drawn hateful comments from readers.