Across the country today, young people are contemplating suicide, and being thrown out of their homes and their houses of worship because of their sexual orientation as an LGBT person.
Other students, moved by the statistics about their peers and personally knowing someone affected, will be placing tape over their mouths or otherwise refusing to speak as a symbolic act of solidarity for those voices we've lost and are losing to homophobia and gender violence. It's Good Friday... a week early.
The deaths of these young people are as tragic as the ones from complications due to HIV/AIDS in the 1980s-90s that still plague communities today. And as Marc Adams of HeartStrong was saying at our PFLAG meeting last night, the frustration is that even with all that has happened to make being gay "more acceptable", children (especially) are still dying because of societal prejudice.
I bring this up because we all have to remain constant in our efforts to send a message of hope to our queer youth that you have people and groups... even some faith communities... who will take you in and give you the welcome and the shelter you need to survive. And, believe me, things really are getting better... at least in the United States.
Look at Delaware... the first in the nation state. Yesterday, lawmakers there offered to give LGBT couples a chance to enter into civil unions. This may not be marriage, but it is an important first step toward recognizing the loving and life-giving partnerships that LGBT people can, and do, have.
Check out Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays... a group started about forty years ago by some PARENTS who loved their children unconditionally. The organization is now an international force to bring love to communities and individuals who haven't always felt it.
And look at yourself. Stand before a mirror and know that what is reflected is a beautiful image, a reflection of God who is Love. You are made to be a loving human. You are special and the gift you bring into the tapestry of humanity is bold, and bright, and can not be taken away from you by anybody... but can be given freely to those around you. If I stand as a light for you, know that my light is meant to ignite the wick of your candle so that you may bring it to another.
Death brings silence... but Life brings shouts of Joy. Come out of your darkness, out of your tombs, and be proud of who you were meant to be.