Being a teenager is never easy in American high schools.
Being an Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender, Queer, Intersex or Asexual (LGBTQ+) teenager in American high schools is even harder.
The recent popular-television show “Glee” showed this.
A closeted gay student attempted suicide because he was “outed” and harassed at his new high school.
Within the last few years the reported suicides and attempted suicides of LGBTQ+ youth has sadly been on the rise.
September 2010 was a month marred by the numerous deaths of LGBTQ+ teens, all because they were being harassed and thought there was no way out.
LGBTQ+ teens are at a 20 percent higher risk of attempting suicide according to an April 2011 study by Mark Hatzenbuehler, a health and society scholar at Columbia University in New York City.
“Overall gay teens are at a higher risk of committing suicide,” said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, in an April 2011 article from LifeSiteNews.com.
This makes me wonder why is this is an issue?
There are a few reasons some LGBTQ+ teens feel they have no other choice.
They feel their sexuality has to be hid in fear of being tossed out by their family. They also fear they are not “normal” because of media’s portrayal of the “normal couples” as heterosexual.
Lastly they fear the second-class citizen treatment when they hear politicians proclaim that it is an abomination to marry same-sex couples.
Fear is the key factor here.
When I was a closeted teen, I was afraid my family would disown me and kick me out so I hid who I was.
I even have contemplated if suicide was the answer.
After coming out to my grandmother, cousin, mother and friends, I realized my worth. And I knew that I always had my family and friends to pull me out of my slumps.
There are thousands of teens that did not or do not have that.
I have friends that cannot tell their family, and some who even moved away from their family because they of this fear.
“It hurts to have to lie to the people you love,” said Brian Wick, club president of Delta Pride, the LGBTQ+ club on campus, “I moved out to be true to myself.”
The simple fact that he and I are able to be out to family and friends is not always the case as I have said before. LGBTQ+ teens across America hide their sexuality every day.
Despite the feeling of loneliness, there is a network of support out there for the LGBTQ+ community.
Organizations such as The Trevor Project, a national organization helping LGBTQ+ youth by providing a suicide hot line and crisis intervention, and the it gets better project, which was created to show LGBTQ+ youth that life gets better after the teenage years, are out there to help.
“It always gets better, we all, gay and straight go through hard times, taking your life is not the answer,” said Lisa Perez, faculty advisor for Delta Pride.
Perez said death is never the answer.
There are people out there willing to help and offer their ear to talk anytime it is needed.
The Trevor Project has a suicide hot line (866) 488-7386, which is available 24 hours a day seven-days a week.
When I am not able to talk to anyone and feel down and out I play my favorite upbeat song, “Superstar” by RuPaul, I watch videos on the “It Gets Better” project website, itgetsbetter.org, to get me out of my rut and live for another day.