I didn’t know until today that Ed was once the Residence Counselor at Davidson, the dorm Tyler Clementi lived in. A few years earlier, and it might have been Ed that Tyler came to for help. Breaks my heart. – promoted by Rosi
As you may know, Monday October 11 is National Coming Out Day. The annual day encourages young people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or questioning to feel comfortable being open about who they are. Sadly, we know all too well that for many, coming out isn’t easy or safe. Last week, the senseless death of Tyler Clementi was an unfortunate reminder that too many GLBTQ young people do not feel safe or welcome in this world. It breaks my heart that he was made to feel unwelcome at Rutgers, my own alma mater. It has been heartening to see the gay and straight communities come together in the wake of Tyler’s suicide to condemn the bullying and violence that makes our young people feel alone and unsafe. But we must continue working together to ensure that the coming out process for our young people is more accepting. Thousands of teens and young adults like Tyler face bullying and violence every day simply because of who they are. This has to end.
Teenagers are dying because they are gay. Tyler was not the only life lost this month because of gay related bullying or violence. This is unacceptable.
National Coming Out Day is a call to arms for both the gay and straight communities. We must commit to making the world safe for all of our children. We have to make sure that children and young adults grow up knowing that they are loved and welcome for who they are. And we must repudiate intolerance from the start, so that more children grow up knowing that homophobia, hatred and bullying are unacceptable. As Harvey Milk once said, “all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.” Milk said this over thirty years ago, but the sentiment is timeless, and we are clearly not there yet. We still have work to do make this a reality.
Earlier this week, I filmed a video for Dan Savage’s “It gets better” project. I’d like to share it with you:
We all have to work together to ensure that for those who are preparing to come out and those who are already out, it WILL get better.