Friday, 31 December 2010

Dear Gay Teens :: Jeff Rago

Dear Gay Teens

September 30th, 2010

Jeff Rago

Gay Teens

Photo by Tina Phillips

My heart is breaking right now. A piece of my soul has died. Another shining light in our future has gone dark. With the news of the 4th LGBT youth committing suicide in September, we are on the road to an epidemic that I am having a hard time wrapping my head around.

I did not personally know these young men but I do know them.  I know their confusion. I know their longing for acceptance. I know their fear.

Lives are being lost as religion and politics struggle to define what is acceptable in our society. Twelve years ago next week, Matthew Shepard was beaten to death for being gay. Beating has turned to bullying. Both lead to the same outcome. This is unacceptable.

Gay. Straight. Black. White. Male. Female. We are all human. This is the thread that connects us. Christian. Jewish. Democrat. Republican. Adult. Child. We all need to be loved. This is the fabric that protects us.

Last night I came across a status update that my friend had reposted from a friend of a friend. Although I have never met Melissa, she was able to put into words everything I was and am feeling:

Dear Gay Teens:

Your life is worth living. I promise you that you will find love, you will find people who value you for who you are, and you will have a life that’s so much better than the haters will ever have. You will be loved and appreciated by an entire community of people, gay and straight, ready to accept you with open arms. Stay alive and meet us after high school in a city near you, my darlings.

Melissa Hillman

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Share This Post:

21 Responses to “Dear Gay Teens”

  • I read about Tyler on BBC News this morning. It’s tragic that his roommate felt the need to embarrass him publicly. If convicted, 5 years is not enough time.

    Makes me wonder, where did we as a culture go so wrong?

  • And how does an Assistant DA post a hate blog about a gay student body president, hide behind it being a political campaign (what???? in essence – he is president of a STUDENT COUNCIL), and keep his job?

  • Just a reminder from our lady of liberty: Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…

  • Enid Nichols says:

    This is indeed tragic. I can’t help but think of all of the wonderful men and women that I know that were once in this situation. I lost a friend shortly after high school due to the fact that his partner would never admit to being romantically involved with another man, along with a family that had already ostracized him. There are so many in the gay community that have made such amazing contributions to us all.

    The bottom line is that we are ALL God’s children. In the United States our pledge says,”…with liberty and justice for ALL.” See, it says – “ALL”, not just some, not just those that we think are deserving, but ALL.

    • Preach it, Enid. And Amen!!!

      • Enid Nichols says:

        You know Jeff, I just can’t stop thinking about this whole horrible situation. I know that this unfortunately, is not uncommon, but it has really hit a raw nerve with me. I go from being so very, very sad, to extremely angry, to horrified, you name it – the emotions have run the gammut. The cruelty of people is really stunning. This was not only a very bright and talented young man, he was someone’s friend, and beyond that he was someone’s son.

        The wonderful and amazing things that he would have accomplished in his life will never be. I am glad that you and others are bringing attention to this, and that as a result there will be fewer who feel that their situation is so hopeless. Again, I cannot help but think of all of the wonderful men and women in the gay community that I have been so priviledged to know over the years, and what joy and light that they have brought to so many on this earth. Thank you for giving so much, and for helping these young people through their struggles.


        • Many people including myself feel the same way. I hope that these tragedies will not be in vain and we as a society can learn and grow and become better humans because of it. I think the fact that we are talking about this is a step in the right direction.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m honored and deeply humbled.

  • I hope a lot of gay teens get to read this. Melissa’s message is very universal. It is indeed very lonely growing up gay. And Melissa’s message comes as an embrace freely given. Thank you Melissa. And thank you Jeff for sharing this.

  • As an educator, I have seen bullying first hand, even down to elementary kids, it’s got to stop. Thank you for caring Jeff.

  • Good post Jeff, I’d like to say that my interest in this topic is for the good of human nature regardless of anyone’s sexual preference or being for that matter. I hate bully’s.

    I often say if you want world peace, kill all the humans. Until we can learn to rise above our animal nature from youth to be better to our fellow man, our species will not evolve. We spend trillions killing people rather than feeding them. Until we can rise above our base nature of fear, ignorance and self loathing rage, can we improve. If you dont like something look in the mirror, its a reflection of yourself.

    We should start by teaching children from youth more about tolerance and about human nature. Instead of teaching them from ancient tomes designed for manipulation, control, money and enticing people to kill. Then we wonder why our society is a final product of that mess. People need to work at being the best products of good human nature they can to teach children a better way.


    Chris Voss

    • Thank you for your comment, Chris. The focus of the blog is on LGBT youth but the epidemic of bullying goes well beyond this demographic. My hope is that one day people can treat each other with dignity and respect and celebrate the differences that make us individuals. In the end we all want to be loved but sometimes fear and ignorance get in the way of human compassion.

      • chris voss says:

        Right on Jeff, we must learn tolerance and understanding of each other, regardless of demographic. Anger leads us blind. We are all, humans being, as such to be honored and respected. We should lift each other up, all of us for OUR betterment.


  • …and Jeff if I can respectfully add that this effort is not a flag raised, for which we begin to divide ourselves in prejudices. Us vs. Them? The flags are the problem, lifted against each other. Do not join their narrow mindedness We are all human flesh and souls fighting to endure, won or lost, its a team effort. We are organisms fighting for survival. I should not have to specify a subset of your interests beyond the reach of the fact that you have that flesh and soul struggling to survive against mother nature, not unlike I. Cancer and death eats at our organisms regardless of preferences, political party or whether we worship rocks. When I see an individual, I see a human seeking its being, to be extended. There should be no separation, but together we support each other to find the betterment of ourselves and each others being. We are all tested to stretch our limits, thats what makes us humans being. Our job under mother nature is to endure in any circumstance and mother nature knows no flag other than a surviving organism. The rest is academic time encapsulated redneck ignorance. “One thing Man can learn from Man’s history, is that man learns nothing from his history” His fallacy is his nature for division and his need for flags. Divided against ourselves we conquer ourselves and no one wins. Its a shame that there is a base is our medieval society you may feel prejudiced upon, but we rise unto the ethics and humanity of ourselves to the sets of beings that shine beyond example. Throughout history, people setting a higher example have always stood forth to give rise to the vision of human nature. Shine on. Take and give no slight and play not against yourself and humanities good, no flags taken against The Human.

    Chris Voss

    • Beautifully said, Chris. Thank you for these thoughts. We spend so much time categorizing people that sometimes we overlook the fact that no matter what we all belong to the “human” category.

  • I am not from your country but i am disheartened by these tragic deaths recently. I can’t believe how persecuting man can be against another for merely being different. Yes, we are all human but it takes a lot to be a “man”.