By: Joey Uva
Last Saturday morning Grace was busy playing with her large dinosaur collection while I was making the bed and putting a load of laundry in the washer. I walked down the hallway to stumble across a large Brontosaurus who had a little fuzzy bunny finger puppet hugging its neck. Next to the Brontosaurus there was a Velociraptor with a little fuzzy pig finger puppet hugging its neck. I continued from the hallway to the dining room to find two more dinosaurs sitting with two stuffed animals, a bunny from Easter and a very plush penguin we named Snowball. I then turned around and walked back and into Grace’s room to find her with three more dinosaurs sitting with more stuffed toys, cactus girl, a flamingo, a dragon and Mr. Bed head. I was curious to the various groups Grace had around the house so I asked; “What are they all doing?” Grace looked up at me and said; “They are all different, playing together and getting along!” This statement really struck accord with me, my five year old daughter was in a place where I wish our youth was right now.
You see, the news of gay teen suicide due to teen bulling over the past few weeks has really gotten to me. As a gay man, this really hits home and saddens me that these gay teenagers have come to the conclusion that suicide was the answer. I wish these teenagers were aware of the possibilities, that a more beautiful life would await them and that life would not always be so hard. As a father, my heart is broken for those families that had to lose a child in this way, it’s completely unacceptable.
What turns a child from saying and thinking; “They are all different, playing together and getting along!” to being bullies of kids different from themselves. What have we done wrong as a society to allow this type of bulling to continue? What are parents, educators and role models doing to guide children and teach them moral values and acceptance? How have we let gay youth down in such a way that they don’t know that there is help and people who truly care?
With all the news over the past couple of weeks and then my daughter’s statement, it made me think. What if it was my child suffering? What if I heard all these stories and did nothing? Today I have decided to make a change, to try and help, to try and make a difference even if it’s seems very small in the scheme of this crisis. One day, I sure hope we can all say; we are different and getting along.
The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
At The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, we hear from despondent youth every day. We give them reason to smile by reassuring them that there is hope, there is help and they are not alone
It Gets Better Project: http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject
We Are the Youth: http://wearetheyouth.org/
We Are the Youth is a photographic journalism project chronicling the individual stories of queer youth in the United States.
We Give a Damn: http://www.wegiveadamn.org
The Give a Damn Campaign is for everybody who cares about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.