I love writing about music. And I am very thankful to Dr. Cohen and the Black Youth Project for giving me a platform to inundate you all with my oftentimes unnecessary and occasionally dubious opinions on the world of music and entertainment.

But in light of recent events, I feel like there are far more important things to discuss.

Namely, the plight of our gay youth.

There have been multiple suicides reported in the past few weeks, and it’s gotten everyone talking. The thread connecting these tragedies is that they seem to have been brought about by bullying and mistreatment over the alleged homosexuality of the victims. These horrific events not only reflect the ongoing issue of bullying in our nation’s schools, but they shine a light on the fear, hopelessness, and utter despair that often comes with growing up Gay in the United States of America.

Adolescence is a time of intense anxiety and confusion for all young people. To have the added stress and pain of holding on to a secret that, at the time, seems insurmountable and unlivable because of the society we live in can be utterly terrifying. Make no mistake about it; it’s not just the bullying that can drive a young person to take their own life. It’s the parents that make homophobic comments around the dinner table, the mindless talking heads that bombard our TV sets with inflammatory, anti-gay rhetoric on a nightly basis; and most chillingly, it’s the false prophets standing before churches across this country, condemning an entire community for a piece of their identities with which they did not choose, yet have been brave and courageous enough to accept and embrace.

It is time for America to take a long, hard look in the mirror and bear witness to the ugliness of an inequality and ignorance that has gone unchecked for far too long. Is this really who you want to be? Is this really what you want for your children?

And to the LGBTQ youth of America:

I know it’s not easy. You’re wondering every day how you’re going to be able to go through the rest of your life with this secret. You’re wondering if you’ll ever work up the nerve to tell your parents.  You’re afraid your friends will turn their backs on you. You might be wrestling with what seems to be a tenuous relationship between your sexuality and your spirituality. You hear morons like Anne Coulter and Bill O’Reilly, and it makes you skeptical of your ability to live a happily, productive life as the person you truly are in such a hostile, ignorant world. Or maybe, your just worried about those assholes at school that won’t leave you alone.

It’s hard to see right now, but I promise you it will get better. Middle school and High school is your entire world right now, but you’ll look back and realize that it’s just a tiny, tiny fraction of the life ahead of you. You’ll go off to college, or move out of your parent’s home eventually, and surround yourself with people you actually want to be around; people who love and respect you for who you truly are inside. It might be a shock to your parents at first, but they’ll come around. If they truly love you (which I’m sure they do), they’ll come to understand that you are still their child and that nothing about your relationship with them has to change. And give your friends a bit more credit; they’re your friends for a reason! Once again, if they really care about you, your sexual orientation won’t matter one bit.

We’re still fighting for marriage rights, adoption rights, and the right to openly enlist in the military. It’s most definitely one hell of a struggle, but it is happening! There are tons of intelligent, energized individuals working their asses off right now to make sure that you and I have the same rights and privileges as any other American citizen. And they can use all the help they can get…from people like you!

So don’t give up. God gave you this life to live, and he made you exactly the way he wanted you to be.

Sticks and stones might break your bones. But the best revenge is being true to yourself, and living a long, healthy, happy life.

If you need to talk to someone about how your feeling, seek out a counselor, friend or family member. Suicide is never the answer.

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