Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. As one who has literally stood on the brink and looked over the edge, I feel compelled to mark this day and share my story. Below is an exact re-posting of a post from 29 May, 2012, titled It Gets Better and STOP Teenage Suicide.
My last 2 entries in the 30 Days of Truth series got me thinking quite a good deal about the struggles I’ve faced throughout my life, and in particular about how I often felt incredibly lonely, alone, and misunderstood as a teenager. While I am absolutely certain this is true of nearly every teenager on the planet — after all, shifting hormonal levels combined with re-appropriations of neural pathways as the brain circuitry is re-wired is enough to cause frustration in anybody — it is no small secret that teenagers who identify anywhere within the LGBTQ spectrum face more isolation and persecution than any other demographic subset, especially in conservative or fundamentalist countries (or sections of countries, such as the Southeastern United States). A great deal of evidence supports this, but even without the evidence, I know how that struggle feels. As trite and cliche and overused as the phrase may be, I have been there and yes, it does get better.
I am living proof that it gets better. Nor am I alone in this proof. Dan Savage started the It Gets Better Project. At the time of this writing there are 520,703 people who have pledged to support and spread the word about the IGB Project, myself included. This is an absolutely invaluable resource for ANY person within the LGBTQ community who feels lost, alone, isolated, depressed, or in despair. Featured front and center on the site are videos from people who have face the same struggles and found a way through to the other side (no, I am not among that number [yet?]) to find something bigger and brighter. These people were shunned, beaten, persecuted, isolated, excommunicated, and whatnot, but they got through it. They found love and support and happiness. If the videos are not inspirational enough, however, at the top of the page is the link to Get Help, wherein is the number to the Trevor Project along with a drop-down box to select each U.S. State, which results in displaying every available help group and center in the state. Within my current state of Florida there are 49 entries listed!