Four years ago, I lost a dear friend to suicide.
Arthur “Bob” Markus was 13, gay, and constantly ostracized by his peers. It’s horrifying to imagine, the pressures of adolescence magnified a hundredfold by daily taunts and jeers at school.
This is the ultimate tragedy. There are so many outside forces, many beyond our own control, that can lead to our own demise. We watch them on the nightly news: wars, sinking ships, hurricanes. But when it comes from the inside, a soul so broken that there is no turning back, what is left?
People need to be taught differently. When a selfish extremist starts running their mouth off on national television, they are adding to the pain and suffering of LGBT youth. For each time someone utters the word “fag,” there is a teenager afraid to come out of the closet. Every “study” that claims children need both a mother and father, there is a gay male couple afraid of what should happen if the biological father is hospitalized. Each breaking news story of a homophobic hate crime is a mother fearing for the life of her trans daughter.There are so many groups doing amazing work. Steve Berman, whose newest book Vintage is dedicated to Arthur, will be donating a portion of his royalties to the Trevor Project and GSA Network, a California organization devoted to empowering youth activists to fight against homophobia and transphobia in schools. I’ve worked extensively with GSA Network over the years, and can attest to their great work.
There is absolutely no reason why we should lose more of our friends, classmates, siblings, or children to hatred or ignorance.