Today is National Coming Out Day. In honor of that fact, I want to dedicate this post to Seth Walsh, Tyler Clementi, Billy Lucas, Asher Brown, and the countless other young people who have taken their own lives, because they saw no other escape from a lifetime of discrimination, harassment, and even violence.
Of course, the victims of bullying aren’t exclusively people who are not heterosexual, who are questioning their sexuality, or who are perceived as gay. Sladjana Vidovic was apparently bullied because she was foreign. Phoebe Prince “was reportedly harassed by older girls who resented her dating an older football player.” Because someone circulated embarrassing photos of Hope Witsell, she was even taunted after her death.
If you or anyone you know are facing a similar situation, this post is also dedicated to you. Please know that you’re not alone, and there are people that very much want to help you get through it.
Below are just a few of the resources available to you, at the library and beyond. The discussion also continues over at CLPTeensburgh, where Joseph Wilk has written an amazing post that captures this issue far better than I can. And as always, readers are invited to contribute their suggestions and experiences in the comments.
Websites / Helplines
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
“Are you feeling desperate, alone or hopeless? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.”
Allegheny County’s re:solve crisis network
The Trevor Project
“The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.”
The It Gets Better Project
“ItGetsBetterProject.com is a place where young people who are gay, lesbian, bi, or trans can see with their own eyes how love and happiness can be a reality in their future.”
The Make It Better Project
“You have the power to change your school, community, and to influence school policies for the whole country right NOW!”
The Human Rights Campaign
“The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of over 750,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.”
PFLAG (Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians & Gays)
This organization offers local support groups, as well as working to create change at the national level.
Southern Poverty Law Center
“The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.”
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You by Peter Cameron
The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
When Life Stinks: How To Deal With Your Bad Moods, Blues, and Depression by Michel Piquemal
What To Do When Someone You Love Is Depressed: A Practical, Compassionate, and Helpful Guide by Mitch and Susan Golant
Healing Anger by the Dalai Lama
GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer and Questioning Teens by Kelly Huegel.
Hear Me Out: True Stories of Teens Educating And Confronting Homophobia, edited by Frances Rooney
Everyday Activism: A Handbook for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual People and Their Allies (edited by Michael R. Stevenson & Jeanine C. Cogan)