This week we received a vivid and heartbreaking reminder that while things are getting better there are pockets of the LGBT Nation we're not reaching...and most of those pockets are filled with kids.
Lexi Lopez represents the many youngsters who take their own lives each year, each month, each day without ever making it into the news. It's frustrating. It's heartbreaking and it pisses me off every time.
Too many of us know what it's like to be Lexi. Some of us barely survived our teenage years clawing through day after day of torment clinging to the idea that our sentence was only temporary. At graduation, we'd be paroled from our own personal prison and set free to live in peace. We know all about the ugly words, threats and sometimes even violence. We also know that a kind word from a parent doesn't go very far when every day is another trip into hell.
Lexi wasn't alone. She had friends and family that loved her but it wasn't enough, and many of us know exactly how that feels.
The worst part is the knowledge that there's no miracle cure for this mess. We can't flip a switch and make people more tolerant. We can't stop them from using dogma to validate attitudes and behavior that is nothing less than evil. We can't make administrators put aside their personal feelings and protect a kid in trouble. So what the hell can we do?
There's a new year right around the corner and with it comes the possibility of a fresh start. I've said it before and I'll continue to say it. Now is the time to be brave, people. We have a rich history of men and women who have made incredible sacrifices to bring us this far. They refused to be silent. They refused to stay in their place. Now it's our turn.
Turn up the volume!
I'm not saying resort to hating on the haters and bullying the bullies. That never solves anything. It just makes us look as bad as they are. I'm saying stand a little taller. Say the words a little louder. Go to the protests. Carry the signs, wear rainbow suspenders and kiss your partner in the middle of the street. Celebrate your six-month anniversary in a crowded restaurant and dare the other patrons to say something against it. Sing Cher songs at the top of your lungs on the train during your morning commute. Wear your bright blue "Do It for the Gaybies" t-shirt to the gym.
We have judges ruling against bakeries on our behalf, people. The cupcakes are on our side! It's time to stop being afraid so we can show the kids trapped in their own personal hell that they have no reason to feel ashamed of who they are. There's a sparkling, dancing, singing future waiting. It's not perfect but we're working on it and regardless of who says what they're not freaks. They're not disgusting. They're us.