Tim Gunn recently taped a message for LGBTQ teens on behalf of The Trevor Project, the national organization focused on preventing suicide amongst lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and queer youth. Gunn’s message? It gets better.
First of all, I have to say that I love me some Tim Gunn, and have been hagging him since the debut of Project Runway. His message made me cry – because I can relate to what he’s saying to teens, and because I’m passionate about LGBTQ youth.
The recent media attention to LGBTQ youth committing suicide is very sad, but the worst part is that queer youth commit suicide at rates that are four times higher than heterosexual youth – and both the media and the government have remained silent about this since the first reports came out from the Department of Health & Human Services in 1989. Eve Sedgwick famously referred to this as a genocide against queer youth. And here we are in 2010, still failing to serve queer youth.
I want to echo Tim Gunn – it does get better. I tried committing suicide twice when I was in high school. Coming out as a lesbian was difficult – I lost my mother and my brother as a result. But I’m so happy that I am still around. After a lot of hard work on both of our parts, my mom and I have a great relationship. I am lucky to have an amazing partner, and the little critters we call a family. Tim is right – there are people who will support you if you ask for help. My chosen family has been there for me every step of the way – all I had to do was let them help me.
What’s your reaction to Tim Gunn’s message? And what can we do as LGBTQ folks and allies to better support our youth?
For more discussion about LGBTQ youth, bullying, and suicide prevention, check out the transcript of this live chat with Anderson Cooper and Ellen Degeneres.