I want to dedicate this post to Leelah Alcorn.
I'm a little angry and here's why: in 2014 and every year before that I have read story after story about young LGBT people taking their own lives, being locked up, turned out onto the streets and made homeless, fired from their jobs, being hospitalised, murdered. I'm tired of the attitudes that dominate and facilitate the treatment of LGBT people, (people like me, my friends, my family) and specifically Trans people as second class, as lesser than and not valued or worthy as those who are not. Those that are 'normal'.
How can you call yourself a Christian and stand over the countless overdoses, hangings and suicides that have smothered the flickering flames of so many beautiful young trans lives and taken them from us too soon? Taken them from themselves too soon? How can you call yourself a Christian or a person of faith yet look away as bright sparks are bullied into the darkness by their own families, their own parents, family, schools? Their churches?
They didn't choose this life. We didn't choose this life. How dare you stamp on the dreams and aspirations of young kids who haven't yet had the opportunity that you had to flourish and sparkle. You fail those who preach peace, love and understanding when you walk past those kids who have to worry about where they'll find their next bed, their next meal, their next source of income or simply the best place to get out of the rain when the sun sets.
I'm sick and furious when I repeatedly hear those who stand behind a pulpit or the good book tell us that being LGBT isn't natural. They preach prejudice and derision to impressionable young minds and then lament at their graveside like the hypocrites they are. They left us, too broken hearted at their wings being clipped before they had a chance to soar.
A recent study by UK LGBT mental health charity PACE found that 48% of trans people under 26 said they had attempted to take their own lives, and 30% said they had done so in the past year. The figures speak for themselves, the UK as a society is failing our young Trans people on a horrific scale and yet we still have stagnation, ignorance and stigma instead of an invested effort to build support networks and tackle the root causes of transphobia.
Every time you tell a young Trans girl that she isn't real, that she isn't natural or that she's going to Hell you better hold your tongue and hold back your false indignation or sorrow the next time a girl like her takes her own life. You are as much to blame as the others who forced her into that corner and stripped her of her right to be free, to be happy and most importantly to feel safe and loved.
In 2015 I don't want to read another headline, hear another story or find another article about a friend or some kid in some far away place or somewhere close that couldn't bear to face the world because of who they are. Don't be your child's first bully. Think before you speak. Even if you don't understand, reach out your hand and help them if they ask for it. You might just be saving a life.