Monday, October 11, 2010


I've been debating whether or not to write about Tyler Clementi and the other young men that have recently taken their own lives as a result of bullying they each endured for being gay.  On the one hand, it's been covered to death in the mainstream news, and I don't want to be redundant.  On the other hand, can I not write about it?

Bullies make rainbows cry.

The Manfriend sent me a link the day Clementi was identified, and in the email he wrote, "this is why you do what you do, I think."  And he's right.  If there is anything I want to accomplish with this blog - with my life, really - it's to reduce shame about sexuality.  These boys killed themselves because they were, at least in part, ashamed of being gay.  And that breaks my heart.

Being a teenager is hard.  I forget that sometimes.  Compared to being an adult, it can seem kind of trivial, but that's only because adults have the luxury of perspective.  It's easy (well, easier) for an adult to understand that when someone calls them a fag, it's because that person is an asshole, not because there's something wrong with them.  But for someone whose world is as big as a high school, the assholes seem a whole lot more convincing.

Just ask McFly

It's important to point out that while there has been a rash of this type of suicide in the news recently, this is hardly a new problem.  Studies show that young people that identify as gay or lesbian are at substantially increased risk of suicide compared to their heterosexual age counterparts.  It's been really hard to be a gay teenager for as long as there have been teenagers.

The It Gets Better Project is the brainchild of Seattle (and now syndicated) sex advice columnist Dan Savage and his partner, Terry.  It consists of short, 2-5 minute videos various gay and lesbian adults have created to reach out to young LGBT people who feel as though life is pointless and cruel.   I think Tim Gunn of Project Runway created one of the best:

Tim stuck it out and MADE IT WORK

Nobody is trying to deny that high school can be the 4 hardest years a gay kid goes through, and that college, for those who go, isn't always much better.  The point is to give a struggling gay or lesbian kid hope that one day, they will find a place to exist where being gay is not only OK, but is celebrated.  I hope Chakabox can be one of those places for people, even if it's just on the interwebs.  

I also hope to one day live in a world where nobody has to feel ashamed of who or how they love, no matter how old they are.  I don't think that's too much to ask for.  A way each of us can help do that, gay or straight, is to be open in our support for gay and lesbian rights.  Confront our friends (or ourselves) if the word "gay" is used as a synonym for "bad".  As old Gandhi-pants used to say, we must be the change we wish to see in the world.  

Be the change, but don't put it in your mouth because you don't know where it's been.

Finally, today is National Coming Out Day, and I raise my glass to all the LGBT homies that have made the scary, liberating and life-changing decision to accept and love themselves openly.  You inspire me with your honesty and bravery, and you make the world a richer place, and I, for one, am super glad you were born just the way you are.  Love ya, nevah change!


  1. I'm veclempt Caka, your words are beautiful and full of love as usual...You ROCK! Thanks for posting this...

  2. Beautiful post, beautiful. I so love you, the words you share, and I know YOU WILL CHANGE THE WORLD! XO