We all kind of sat there and said, "And...?" I mean, was she an axe murderer or something? No, that was it. She was gay.
All I remember was feeling terrible that she was so worried about it. None of us cared, except that she was upset and scared. Truthfully, I know now that I never understood the full extent of the pain she was feeling. I have not been able to stop thinking about her since this string of suicides has made the news. I remember we hugged her and faced our freshmen year in college together. She left after that year, being homesick and I think still a little unsure of the world's acceptance of her. We eventually lost touch. I hope our love for her did something to offset that fear, even if only a little.
I'm not telling anyone this because I want a pat on the back. I'm sharing it because it shouldn't be a revelation that someone is gay. It shouldn't even be a discussion. I feel no such burden to confess my sexuality. If it is white privilege to ignore racism, it sure seems to me to be heterosexual privilege to think someone else has to "admit" to being gay. I don't have to tell my employer I'm straight. Why should a coworker have to discuss his or her sexuality?
Who someone loves should NEVER be as important as the fact that they love. No one should have to consider suicide because they have red hair, freckles, a gap between their front teeth, or because they love someone of the same sex. Children are dying, by their own hands, because we cannot accept them for who they are. When did we stop telling them they are special, gifts from Heaven, and cherished souls to be nurtured and respected? When did they start believing they did not have a right to the air they breathe or that they have somehow disappointed us by being who they are? My parents didn't love me less because I had bad knees, after all.
I hope that each and every one of us can remember that anyone who has the courage to come out deserves a warm, welcoming hug of respect and appreciation. Then, they deserve to have us stand beside them, linking arms, and facing the world together. It's time to GO OUT to others and draw them in to the community and our hearts. No one should have to come out. They should already be right here beside us.