I am not certain why the mainstream media have shown interest in the recent tragic losses of five queer youths, but this national attention is long overdue. One suicide is too many suicides. These that have occurred in just three weeks have been instrumental in reminding the country of the hostility young people face for being different. While the focus on making changes in state-level and national marriage, family, non-discrimination, employment, and hate crimes laws has been important, we need not forget that we have, still, so far to go in improving the lives of everyday queer people. Fortunately, that insight has been shared by others, including Dan Savage with his “It Gets Better” campaign, Ellen DeGeneres, and many celebrities via MTV.
I appreciate the many messages from everyday people and celebrities alike that it gets better, and I have added my own message “we have to make it better”:
We can see that change occurs year by year, even day by day. But, it is in our efforts and the efforts of our allies that change comes about. It does not magically happen; we cannot expect change while bigots work just as hard to resist change. For most of us, as I have noted before, just living our lives out and proud is a form of activism. We do the work of bigots when we inflict harm on ourselves, or deny who we are, or restrict our actions to avoid discrimination and prejudice. For laws, hearts, and minds to change, we have to live our lives, stand up to injustice, and continue to fight on. It does get better!