Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ottawa Loses Another 15-Year-Old to Suicide

I saw this video posted on a memorial page for another 15-year-old Ottawan who just recently committed suicide.  I didn't want to watch it at first, hoping that it was just an old video that I'd missed.  That's the effect so many suicides is having on me.  Alas, I was wrong.

On Wednesday, December 28th, 15-year-old Ian Stone ended his life.  There are no details about it, so we won't read anything into it.  No mention of being bullied.  No mention of having issues because of his sexuality.  No answers.  The only answer needed right now is that the family and friends of this 15-year-old are in a lot of grief.  I wish I could post a link for you to go pay your condolences.  That's not the case.

If there's a silver lining to this recent spate of suicides, it's that people are seriously, and finally, getting fed up of reading about these.  Hearing about these.  And, people are rolling up their sleeves and getting involved.  They're getting involved at the ground level, where it's needed the most.  Young people are volunteering their time to their peers who may be at-risk and in need.  Multiple support groups are popping up daily, if not faster, on the online social networks.  Some are blogging about it.  People are getting involved in great numbers.  Obviously, we need more.

For now, we send our condolences to the family and friends of Ian Stone as we say goodbye.  And, we say, collectively, Rest in Peace to one more young soul we never knew but will never forget.  Then, we vow to him, and to all of the other teen suicide victims before him, that we'll never give up fighting to make things change.  We'll never stop until teenaged suicide is a thing of the past.

************IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE**************

Since facebook has stunned my ability to circulate this blog every day, the readership has steadily declined.  The work is too important to let that happen.  So, I encourage everyone who reads this blog to share the link with your friends.  The more readers, the better the odds of reaching people in need.  Thanks.

Say Happy New Year to Josh

I love my new smartphone.  It pretty much does everything except brush my teeth. (and, rumor has it that they're working on an app for that!)  My new smartphone is so efficient, I can do all of my early morning online affairs without even leaving my bed.  How can THAT be wrong!?

I stumbled upon a message yesterday.  It was tucked away in my facebook "other" mailbox.  You know, the one we rarely even recognize as being there? I'm glad I did.  In that "other" folder lied a cry for help.

His name is Josh.  In his email message, he described how reading my blog entry, "Story of the Year!!!", had really helped him.  He goes on to describe that his is one of the home environments that are not quite conducive to growing up lgbt.

I was happy to find out from first-person experience that this blog really is reaching and helping people!!  That's what this is all about.  I was compelled to respond to him if for no other reason than to make sure he knew that there really were people out in the world who will accept him just for being himself.

Enter the beauty of the smartphone.  This morning, I woke up and, before a foot ever touched the floor, perused through all of my online junk.  Right there in my facebook message folder was a response from Josh, further explaining his plight.  He closed the message with "I want to thank you.  Lately, I've felt alone alot.  It's nice to know somebody cares, after all."  That got me out of bed.

Let's start the year off with a bang!!!!  This is an urgent CALL TO ACTION!  Josh needs to know that there's literally an army of people out here ready to surround and support him.  Here's his facebook account.  Send him a friend request.  Then, be a friend to him.  If you can't do that, you can still send him messages.  Either way, let's let him know that he really does matter and that things will get better for him with time.  Let's NOT have to eventually read about Josh giving up too soon.


Dustin Birch Takes on Westboro Baptist Church

I'm not sure, and don't hold me to this, but I think Dustin is a practicing comedian.  If he isn't, he should be.  What I do know is that Dustin IS a young gay man who got fed up with dealing with the hatred of Westboro Baptist Church.  So, rather than just talk about it and vent his frustration, he took action.  Dustin called WBC and left them a message.  I'm really doubting that they'll return his call.

For me, the most important part of the entire video is the "greeting" that Shirley Phelps left for the callers.  Nothing but hate-filled.  I will say this much:  if THEIR God is the God that every Christian worships, the world is in a lot of trouble.  Dustin hit it right on the head when he said, basically, that the Phelps family, a.k.a. Westboro Baptist Church, really just hates everyone who isn't a white, Anglo-Saxon, "God fearin'", Amurican.  If this were 30 years ago, they would still be just as evil, just as malicious, and just as dangerous as they are today.  If this were 30 years ago, they would be showing up at the funerals of black people.  Instead of the signs declaring how much God Hates Fags, they would say God Hates Niggers.  If it were 60 years ago, the signs would read God Hates Jews.  The truth of this disaster is that they are just hate-filled people who use God, and the mask of religion, to contaminate this country with their message of (self)hatred and (their own)intolerance.  The scariest part of it is they actually do have followers.  People who believe in nothing will fall for anything.


I should probably add a disclaimer right here:  I do not endorse some of the language used in the video. (so, if you shock easily, perhaps you should bypass watching it)

I wholeheartedly endorse Dustin for making the call, leaving his message, and making a stand.  If you DO watch the video, all of the phone numbers are right there for YOU to call and leave your own message.  I say, follow Dustin's lead.

This is the very language of hate that's contributing to the bullying which is leading directly to the teen suicides.  Stopping hate-filled people in their tracks, like the Phelps family and Westboro Baptist Church, is imperative in fighting this insidious epidemic.

Job well done, Dustin!