Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Something has to change

There has been a lot of talk lately about the suicides over being teased (or tortured to more accurately describe it) about being gay. It absolutely breaks my heart. Being a teenager is hard enough and then to be bullied to the point that taking your own life is easier than going on, is so terribly awful. There is something very wrong with this. The bullying that goes on now is a far cry from the innocent teasing of long ago. A person's sexuality should not matter, regardless of who they are. Some of the most wonderful people I know are gay. Being gay does not make them any less than those who are straight. They are people and absolutely no different in that aspect. Who you are attracted to and who you love does not define who you are and does not make you any less, any different or any less worthy of respect and basic human rights. I will never understand why to some people it is such a big deal. I just can't wrap my mind around why, in this day and age it is such a big deal. We're all different, yet we're all the same. Why not embrace individuality rather than shun it? Why not embrace people for who they are deep inside and not for who they choose to love? Being gay or homosexual, whichever you prefer to call it, is much more widely accepted now, but we still have a long way to go.

What it all comes down to is there needs to be a change. Bullying needs to stop. Schools need to have a NO TOLERANCE policy when it comes to the serious bullying so many students have to endure. This thought extends beyond just the bullying of gay students. Many teens are bullied just as bad for various other reasons. It is NOT okay and something needs to be done to protect these kids. I was one of those students bullied to the point of feeling that ending my life would be easier. I credit a lot of my strength to keep on going to my boyfriend at the time. It may sound a bit silly, but he went through the same things and we were there for one another. I was lucky to have that one person at the time to help keep me strong. Being followed around the school, hit, beat on, teased, thrown down the stairs etc. was so incredibly hard. Even 10+ years later, I look back and it pains me to think about it. Back then, even the death threats I received via the internet were completely disregarded by law enforcement. Perhaps my experiences helped shape the person I am today, making me a more compassionate and tolerant individual. I am grateful for the positive that came from such negative experiences. However, I am one of the lucky ones who walked away from it okay in the end. Too many do not.

Parents, teens, schools, cities, law enforcement etc. all need to take a stand against this. This bullying is far more than innocent childhood bullying. It is down right cruelty. I have made efforts to try to become part of some sort of support for teens who go through this and have yet to really get responses back from the organizations I have contacted. There needs to be more support out there! The support that there is available needs to be better about responding and accepting help from those wanting to give it and be part of making a change.

Something has to change and we ALL have a responsibility to make some kind of effort to help. Whether it be teaching our children tolerance or being a shoulder for a hurting teen. Even if you don't think it effects you, this is something that effects everyone is some way, shape or form and we need to fix it. It's time for a big change.

I'm doing my part, right here at home, starting with my 5 children.

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