Our kids are dying.
I don’t know any other way to say it. The recent rash of queer youth suicides, or at least the rash of reporting about queer youth suicides, I’m not sure that the actual numbers are so atypical, have left me feeling helpless and angry.
I like direct action, situations where I know what to do, or at least what I’d like to do. Fuck, I like a situation I can look at and say “eh, in a perfect world I’d put a bullet in that guy there and things would be better.” This isn’t one of those situations.
Sure the list of hatefully bigoted assholes I wouldn’t mind providing with a high-velocity trepanning is pretty long, but it won’t save our kids. It might shut up a few gloating fuckers who take to the airwaves and blogs to profit by their deaths, with their ranting about how each suicide “proves” that we’re unhealthy, emotionally unstable, not right with their god, or that being queer inherently makes us more likely to die young. But there would still be another dead kid.
I’m one of the biggest supporters of religious freedom you’ll ever find. But we live in a melting pot and you don’t get to huddle behind religious freedom when it comes to making someones life a living hell because you don’t agree with them. As a non-Christian, it’s a daily struggle for me to remind myself that these kids blood is on the hands of right wing extremists, not on Jesus’. It would be easy for me to brand all those of the Christian faith as hateful, because the bigots who gloat and profit over our children’s deaths use their Christianity as a justification for the poison in their own hearts. But our kids would still be dying, and blind hate can only breed blind hate.
I believe in Dan Savage’s “It Get’s Better Project.” But I also know that for many out there, it’s just not enough. The promise of a bright future can’t wash away the shadows of the present for too many of our youth. I don’t think that this is a situation that has a legislative solution either. Frankly, there are already federal laws regarding bullying and school safety, but clearly they aren’t doing what we need.
I can’t have children. From a biological standpoint it’s impossible and from a practical and emotional one, I worry that my health issues and the life I live aren’t suited to raising a child. Maybe it’s because of this that I feel a special connection to the younger generation of queer youth. They are surrogates for the children I’ll never have. Every new death is a twisting knife in my chest. I envy Dan for having been able to have some impact on the situation, no matter how small.
Whatever we’re doing (or not doing) clearly isn’t enough. We’re on the verge of being accepted into the armed services, we can get married in a handful of states, our jobs are protected in much of the country, at least if we aren’t transgendered, in which case our situation is still far more dire, and the majority of Americans seem to feel like we deserve to be treated like human beings (if not fully equal ones). It’s probably safe to say that there’s never been a better time to be a queer adult in this country.
But our kids are still dying, and if we don’t care about it, no one will.