The four recent suicides that have been linked to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying are troubling. It is absurd that in a country where we are supposed to be free, so many face teasing, exclusion and even harm for simply living their life. Even those who are simply perceived as LGBT (see: Seth Walsh, 13, found dead Sept. 19) often suffer.
I attended Gilbert’s Mesquite High School from 2004-2008 and experienced two serious incidents of LGBT bullying. Once, a student threw a full, frozen-solid water bottle at my friend and I as we talked, which luckily whizzed past our heads. It would have been enough to render someone unconscious. Another instance took place earlier that year when I returned to my car to find an anonymous note on my windshield. The note read, “Your [sic] stupid and I hope you die.” A school authority took the note from me and basically told me that nothing could or would be done. That was, indeed, the extent of the school’s action on the matter.
Americans who have not yet taken the time to consider the enormous negative impact of bullying, violence and exclusion on the LGBT community need to take a step back and look at what is really going on. All students deserve to feel safe and welcome at school, as this is required to learn and grow to one’s full potential. Your words, actions, and votes have power to build a community based on acceptance — or you can let ignorant fear and hatred reign.
Lindsay Davis, Gilbert