I started this column a long time ago, intending to write about depression. I realized that it's been done to death, so I now present my wonderful revised column, complete with updates on my torrid life!! Here goes...
I have spent time in mourning for a boy named Jacob. He lived in Utah, and was the leader of his school's gay/straight alliance. He killed himself. Another gay teenager, another bright light, another leader, is gone.
Queer teenagers are several times more likely to commit suicide, to abuse drugs, to be promiscuous with the opposite sex, to have depression.
This is a well known statistic. It scares me.
I remember back to a little over a half year ago, before I started coming out. The horrible aching emptiness. Feeling that you are alone is the worst feeling in the world. But, then, almost everyone reading this knows that. Without exception, the gay teens I know have all been through hell because of being gay.
It shouldn't be that way.
Years ago, when I was 13, I walked downstairs one cold January night at 3:30 fully intending to kill myself. I was a full fledged pain pill addict, rumors were going around about me, and I hated myself. The girl I loved was not speaking to me. I held a knife in my hand, ready to slit my wrists. Something stopped me. I don't know what -- the gleam of moonlight off the blade, my own thoughts, God...
At that moment I felt alone. I knew that I was.
It's amazing how things change so fast. I was desperate to find something. I found Oasis and Elight. I broke down in tears when I realized that I was not alone.
Gay teenagers are not alone. We are united. One in ten.
Slowly, I began to learn about being gay, learn about the Community. I found gay role models. Anthony Rapp, Melissa Etheridge, Lily Tomlin... the list is long. Acceptance came. I started coming out. It has been the most liberating, life affirming experience I have ever been through. Announcement: It does get better.
Whoever you are, however alone that you feel. You're not. The entire gay community is standing behind you with silent pride. Remember that whenever it's dark.
Things are changing in my life. I'm trying to start a gay/straight alliance in my school. I have a sponsor, and things are set in motion for next year. The idea of being completely out at school makes me nervous, but I've stopped caring about how bigots perceive me...
On a complete change of subject: Never break a poet's heart, people. We're fragile and you'll be the subject of many lines of iambic pentameter...