It does get better.  Never forget that.  Patience is a virtue, and it will pay off eventually, even if there are ups and downs along the way.  At my conservative little school, we had several kids wear purple today.  I would have thought it merely an accident if one of the students had not mentioned why she was wearing purple.  I am very happy to know that some of them believe in acceptance.  Through growing acceptance and the greater visibility of GLBT people, my students are more open of their support of GLBT people, even if the adults at the school are not as accepting, the students grow more so everyday.

Not only did some students wear purple in support of those who recently died, there were also some talking about gay family members today. All of what was said by students today was positive.  Not once did I hear anything negative.  It makes you feel a little better.  But we still can’t forget about those who struggle.  As a teacher, I still strive everyday to make their lives more positive.  To make sure that they are not bullies to others.  So please take a moment to remember those who sadly felt they had no way out and didn’t realize that it does get better.

Billy LucasBilly Lucas, 15. Greensburg, Indiana. Hanged himself Sept. 9 in his family’s barn. He was a freshman at Greensburg High School. Although he never told anyone he was gay, he was constantly bullied including being called “fag,” according to media reports.

Tyler ClementiTyler Clementi, 18. New Jersey. The Rutgers University freshman jumped from the George Washington Bridge after leaving a Facebook message on his page on Sept. 22 saying, “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” Dharun Ravi, Clementi’s roommate, and fellow Rutgers student Molly Wei, have been charged with two counts each of invasion of privacy after they allegedly used a webcam in Clementi’s dorm room and livestreamed on Sept. 19 Clementi with another male in a “sexual encounter.”

Asher BrownAsher Brown, 13. Houston. Died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound with his step-father’s gun on Sept. 23. The day he died he told his step-father he was gay. He was bullied for numerous reasons including being Buddhist, short, and not wearing name-brand clothes.

Seth WalshSeth Walsh, 13. Tehachapi, Calif. Hanged himself in his backyard. He was openly gay. Died Sept. 28 after nine days on life support. Friends said he endured years of bullying.

Raymond ChaseRaymond Chase, 19. Openly gay, he was a sophomore at Johnson and Wales. He hanged himself in his dorm room on Sept. 29. No clear reasons for his suicide have been reported.

Zach Harrington

Zach Harrington, 19. Norman, Okla. Harrington killed himself a week after attending a city council meeting where the council eventually decided to recognize October as Gay History Month. However, there were hours of very anti-gay comments made during the meeting and Harrington’s parents believe the “toxic” debate contributed to his suicide on Oct. 5.

Aiyisha Hassan

Aiyisha Hassan, 20. The Metro Weekly reported she was struggling with her sexuality at the time of her death. She killed herself Oct. 5 in her home state of California after attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., from 2008-2009.

It Gets Better

We Give a Damn

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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