Noah’s story is a stark reminder of what we already know. We’ve seen study after study and example after example of this, yet somehow, we don’t care.
“Kids are who they are. Teaching them about queer people doesn’t make them queer. Teaching them about straight people doesn’t make them straight. Instead, laws like “Don’t Say Gay,” which are now being pushed in at least a dozen other states besides Florida, teach kids that being queer is not only not OK, it’s so offensive and dangerous we have to do whatever we can to not talk or know about it. And that has very real consequences.
I know. I lived through it. But just barely. But nearly not. And too many others like me didn’t make it. Too many others like me won’t make it.”
As Noah said, we already know that LGBTQ youth have a much higher risk of suicide and that one of the best things we can do is simply accept them for who they are. It literally saves lives to simply acknowledge that people can be gay, bisexual, trans-gendered, etc. But we are currently faced with a large group of people who simply refuse to do that. They refuse to acknowledge that these people exist and want to ensure we don’t talk about them anywhere near children. That’s a dangerous game because somewhere in these classes, you will have kids with a gay uncle, aunt, parent, or sibling, and you are sending the message that those people should not exist. These people they love don’t exist, and if they happen to be like those people or even act contrary to the way boys or girls are supposed to act, they don’t exist either. They are not acceptable.
Not acknowledging the humanity of anyone is what should not be acceptable. Trying to will an entire subset of humanity out of existence because they make you uncomfortable or some religious leader has told you that they are dangerous is not acceptable.
People die from suicide when there is so much pain that they see no path forward. The solution to that is to connect with them, to show them a path forward that involves being in community with people who accept and support them. Anything less than that is a willful decision to let people die.
If that’s what your beliefs tell you to do, you need better beliefs.