The first and only time I tried to kill myself, I was 16. I tried to overdose on fat-soluble vitamins. In the back of my mind, I knew it wouldn’t work. What I did was out of desperation and as a possible escape from a world I didn’t want to be a part of anymore. Or so I thought.
Afterward, I realized that I would not only be ending my life, but the lives of other people. I sat and thought about my single mother who would be left alone as a result of my selfishness. I thought of the husband and kids I would never meet, and of the education I would never receive and the career I would never have. I never thought about my life in that manner before. That my life isn’t only mine, it’s part of every person I’ve ever met.
Life, or the presumed value of life, should never be used as a weapon. Once you extinguish that precious flame of humanity from yourself—the people who bullied you, the family who abandoned you, the friends who betrayed you—they’ve won.
I was lucky enough to realize that I had a way out: college. And so I bided my time until my freshmen year when I began a whirlwind of activism, romance and, above all, education. Ignorance is what kills young people, not the abhorrence of suicide. These four young men—Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Asher Brown and Billy Lucas—are the victims of ignorance, plain and simple. Tolerance isn’t a word synonymous to equality, but acceptance is close. And to the readers of That Gay Magazine, you are accepted, with arms wide open.
When you feel as though the world is against you and you have no where else to turn, find a friend, because they do exist. Call a hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, to reach people who are there to hear your story and tell you there are ways to a better future, one that doesn’t exist without you. Once you’re dead, you’re dead. You’ve lost the voice that could educate other individuals in similar situations. You waive your right to help others by expelling the prejudice that put you in your position, and there are too many LGBTQ people right now living with the fear, torment and hostility no human being should languish through.
Take your pen, not your knife, and write. Write to us. Write to your parents, your grandparents, your teacher. Write to whomever because he or she will listen. We will listen. But you’re the only one who can act. There will always be better days, and you can help bring those days to individuals who feel there are none.
Instead of suicide, save a life. Not just yours, but one of your fellow LGBTQ members. Volunteer in an organization such as PRIDE! Kent. Join an accepting fraternity such as Delta Lambda Phi. But most of all, know that you are not alone and that your presence does make a difference in people’s lives and could help others realize the same.