Fully digesting each story about an LGBTQI suicide is impossible. Feelings of sadness, anger, and hopelessness churn around inside me every single time. But when their voices seep through the speakers, ensuring others that it gets better, their lives become all the more real. And I wonder what happened–who or what stripped them of their desire to live? But then I look around, read the newspapers, and listen to politicians spouting hatred and validating bigotry. Answers are bountiful.
And then I take a step back and ask a hard question: Do these videos provide comfort or false hope? Both, I think. At least my video does. I mention the hardships, but emphasize the positive; it’s the candy-coated version. Because that’s what I thought struggling kids would want to hear. In some ways, I think it’s more detrimental. Perhaps if I had been frank, I may have reached someone who’d have preferred realism over idealism–who’d have drawn enough strength from it to make do.
LGBTQI kids quickly realize after they graduate high school that life doesn’t always get better; at least not right away. The scenery changes, but sometimes the same old games are hatched and performed. It’s you versus them. It’s the name calling, the intolerance, the blanketed bigotry on a different, larger stage. And it’s hard. Life doesn’t change immediately when you receive a diploma. It just shifts; and you change with it.
You come to realize that everyone has a voice and a right to use it, even if they choose to slander you. You begin reaching out and finding outstretched hands. You open up little by little. You smile a lot more. You embrace the unknown. You love. You lose. You win. You draw. There really is no end, because every single person you touch becomes a little of you, and you of them. We build upon each other to try and make this dysfunctional world a little bit rosier for others, so they don’t have to put on glasses and squint hard to see the good things in it.
Had I chosen to commit suicide one afternoon four years ago, I would’ve never found the place I call “home.” I wouldn’t laugh heartily with friends whom I would’ve never known. I wouldn’t be excited about tomorrow.