TW: LGBTQIA+ Suicide, Homophobia
Happy Pride Month! It thrills me to see so many out and proud members of the LGBTQIA+ community posting pictures and writings about their journeys. It is inspiring to see more and more people speak up every year. Society has slowly and recently progressed to more acceptance of non-heterosexual people, which is something that is long overdue. Members of this community have been fighting for decades just to be included and perceived as equals, but there is still much work to be done.
Unfortunately, homophobia is present in the homes, neighborhoods, schools, churches, and businesses where queer people are growing up.
As we celebrate this month, we must not forget the people who can’t fight to be seen or heard because they feel they have to hide. Although times are changing, there is still a lot of homophobia that exists. Unfortunately, homophobia is present in the homes, neighborhoods, schools, churches, and businesses where queer people are growing up. Countless members of the LGBTQIA+ community do not feel comfortable coming out about their sexualities. They feel guilt, shame, and anxiety about their peers who wouldn’t approve.
To those of you who can’t show your pride, please know that the disgrace you feel is not deserved. It is hatred that should never have been placed on you. I’m sorry that another community failed you, and you never felt that you had a safe space. My hope is for discrimination to end so that you could unabashedly announce yourself to the world. I understand it is difficult to believe that there is a community that will welcome and accept you with open arms, but please know that you are not alone. I only wish that you were given the privilege to fully embrace your authentic self in any community. This privilege is often taken for granted.
Many would rather ignore the fact that their hateful views and stereotypes actually cause queer people to commit suicide.
To the people and organizations who mock or discriminate against queer people: how dare you? How dare you find it acceptable to make anyone feel ashamed of who they are. Because of your lack of acceptance, there are people close to you who may always believe that they need to hide an important part of their identity. You could be the reason that your loved one is especially heartbroken in the month of June. As they witness their friends and strangers post the most meaningful sentiments, they are staying silent for your sake. And you don’t deserve that consideration. You failed to create a secure environment for them.
We can’t continue to pass on this hate and judgement – especially in the name of a higher power. Doing so is not only ridiculously ironic, but it is killing people. Many would rather ignore the fact that their hateful views and stereotypes actually cause queer people to commit suicide. The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 40% of queer youth considered taking their own life that year. 36% of the participants who attempted suicide did so because they felt discriminated against for their sexual orientation, race, or gender identity. Queer people are not inferior to heterosexuals. The purpose of their existence in our favorite TV shows and movies should not be the punchline to every joke. If they want to belong to a religious group, they should be able to do so without being made to feel like they eventually need to transform through heinous methods of conversion therapy. They are human beings.
We need to celebrate our loved ones for their individualities. The ability to love is not shameful; it is the universe’s greatest gift to us. Therefore, it should never be weaponized against any person or group. Accepting others for who they are requires zero effort. Respect is something we deserve no matter who we love or how we identify ourselves. We are all part of the same world, created by the same power, and we all deserve the same rights.
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