July 21, 2019

LGBT+ allyship needs to go beyond social media

Liberals flooded Facebook with article shares, likes and sad reacts when high school freshman Nigel Kelly died by suicide last week.

Kelly’s suicide was not the first of an LGBT+ teenager’s to go viral.  On Dec. 28, 2014, 17-year-old transgender teen Leelah Alcorn shocked the liberal online world when she published her suicide note on Tumblr.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2016 homosexual and bisexual youth were almost five times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth.

Social media activists on my feed harp about the tragedies of LGBT+ teenagers Kelly and Alcorn.  But when the news cycle shifts focus, where is the continuation of this outrage?

People often tell me on my feed they “don’t care” if I’m gay.  It “doesn’t bother” them.

Does it bother them that the CDC reported 40 percent of transgender adults in a study said they made a suicide attempt?

I often wondered how I was supposed to take their apathy toward such a big part of my life.  They sure treat it like a giftas if I am supposed to thank them for tolerating my existence.  

Allyship does not end with tolerance.  It’s the beginning.

When will the horrors my community faces stop being an opportunity for attention on social media?  Cisgender heterosexuals need to understand you can’t save a life with a like.

It could be worse, I tell myself.  At least they’re not spewing hatred.

At least they’re not misgendering people like Alcorn in posts about her suicide, like the conservatives.

Liberals expect us to reward their minimal effort.  Us queers are supposed to hand out participation trophies for their 30,000-foot approach to advocacy.

It is no longer acceptable to “not care” that people are LGBT+. Straights can do better.

A good ally doesn’t ignore, disregard or erase sexuality or gender identity; they support, acknowledge and celebrate it.  Good allies care.

Your support should extend further than a single Facebook like if you truly value the lives of LGBT+ teenagers like Nigel Kelly and Leelah Alcorn.

Reach out to LGBT+ teenagers in your life.  Start a new status quo. They deserve to have their sexuality cared about in a way that validates their existence.  Talk to them about the importance of mental health.

Unsurprisingly, the ones that need the support most will be the ones with highly rejecting families.  They attempt suicide 8.4 times as often cisgender sexual minorities.

If you notice an LGBT+ teenager in a dangerous home life, offer them a way out.  Their life depends on the people who do more than post on Facebook.

 

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