Friday, October 22, 2010

Teen Suicides and the Gap We All Experience

It seems that in the wake of bullying-awareness in general (which didn’t become a nation-wide issue until Phoebe Prince), LGBTQ teens are finally getting more visible support. And though a television broadcast will not comfort teens when they’re in their school corridors, hopefully it will force those with the power to be a good Samaritan to be just that. Nevertheless, too many names are being left out of the discussion. When supportive people list a few names of those whose lives we’ve lost, what color are nearly all the faces?

Carl Walker-Hoover
I have a few names that I’d like to mention and remember. People of color who cater to their own communities have long been seen as self-segregators, unpatriotic and hatemongers (i.e., Arizona). I’m not listing these names because I don’t value the lives of my white brothers and sisters. I list these names because the media does not value the lives of my colored brothers and sisters. One of my favorite quotes of all time is “we stand for what we stand for, not what we stand against.” This blog exists to fill a gap. Not segregate. And I will continue to fill that gap until latino, black, native, arab and asian faces are universal, too. Unfortunately, these are all that I could find in terms of teenagers. I'll continue to update and expand this list. I ask those of you who know names of others (INCLUDING WOMEN AND TRANS FOLK!) we’ve lost to please share.

Carl Walker-Hoover
Raymond Chase
Aiyisha Hassan

And I’m not saying that people who fail to address these victims are doing it intentionally or because they are prejudiced. But what I am saying is that the media holds a lot of power. And the power of omission is a bitch. Just imagine if all the major news networks neglected to report on the Haiti earthquake. Now take the dozens (maybe hundreds) of LGBTQ teens lost to suicide this year, and consider how the major news networks primarily report on white deaths. Teens of all colors are looking for a sign. They can find the story when we’re criminals/suspected criminals, can’t they?

Do the iReport Challenge:

If you support the mission to end anti-LGBT bullying around the world, do one or more of the following:
- Put on purple, take a photo or video of yourself and upload it to iReport
- Change your Twitter profile or Facebook page to purple
- Tweet: I’m wearing purple to end anti-LGBT bullying. #spiritday #BeAHero
- Record a video for the “It Gets Better” YouTube project (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the latest to join the campaign. See also Barack Obama)

The National Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Suicide Hotline:  

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