Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tyler Clementi

I planned to post a mea culpa tonight about why DD 31 isn't finished yet and how it'll be posted this weekend. Instead, I find myself thinking about how the stuff in my life that has kept me from fulfilling my commitment, stuff that seems so important sometimes, is so inconsequential compared to what some deal with.

My heart is with the parents and family of Tyler Clementi as they mourn his loss and deal with the knowledge that this was so unnecessary. Two heartless individuals started out with a thoughtless invasion of Tyler's privacy and then perpetrated the unconscionable act of posting a private, intimate encounter online. It ended with a beautiful young man deciding to take his own life. It doesn't matter if they now understand the impact of their actions. It's too late to take it back. It's too late for Tyler.

If you are a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer or questioning teenager, please know that there are so many people who love and support you. The teen years are awful for almost everyone - yeah, even the beautiful ones, who seem to have the athletics and the confidence and a hundred other things going for them. I know many gay teens have even more to deal with than many of their straight friends. If you're out, slurs and harassment may be your life. If you're not, fear of discovery can terrify you. Maybe you don't know anyone else who's gay. I know sometimes it feels like these years of your life will never end. If you feel alone, if you feel you have no one to talk to, please know that you do not have to go through this alone.

The Trevor Project is an organization that provides free, confidential support to LGBTQ teens and youth to age 24. By calling their LifeLine, you can speak to a counselor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 866-488-7386, or 866-4-U-TREVOR. If you don't have access to a telephone or are hearing-impaired, you can visit their website to chat live with a volunteer. These services are free anywhere in the United States.

In Canada, Kids Help Phone provides free and confidential support in English and French to all young people and teens in Canada. I have vetted them and they are gay friendly. You can contact them at 800-668-6868 to speak directly to a counsellor (24/7) or on their website, where they have an "Ask Us Online" section. Also, they have a "leave site quickly" button in the top right of every single page - clicking it will immediately redirect you to

A few words about safety if you are not out:

-If you visit the Trevor Project website, please clear your browser history afterward. This is especially important if your parents, siblings or friends might view your browser history.

-All phone numbers are recorded and reported on your cell phone bill, even toll-free numbers. This is something to consider if your parents pay (or will see) the bill for your cell.

-However, landline phone bills seldom record calls to toll-free numbers.

We - the greater community of LGBTQ men and women and straight allies - love you. We want to help you get through the dark days, because we want you to be around to see the beautiful times to come. And they will come, darlings.

Much love and hugs and support to you all.

xoxo Katie Starfish


melissa said...

Thanks you for standing up and saying something. I love you and everything we fight for.

The.Dragonfly.Lover said...

Thank-you for this post—not only what you've said, but how you've said it.

Michelle said...

Nice post--very appropriate and sensitive.

The loss of these young people is just so tragic. And the reality is, everyone has someone dear who is GLBTQ in their lives--they just don't know it. If they did, they would step back from the bashing, the hate, the fear, the ignorance, etc. and realize that there is an individual behind the labels they have been using to segregate. I wish it were possible to make this happen today, make this intolerance and pain disappear.

Thanks for posting this.

sunystone said...

Thank you for the post Katie.