Treat people like people.

It’s been a really busy month, which is good news!

We’ve officially set a date for an event happening in Palmyra, PA. We’ve been working tirelessly towards getting this event ready, so I have been slacking on the blog updates. For that, I apologize.

Today I want to discuss LGBT youth. For those of you unaware, LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender. You may also see them referred to as LGBTQQ – which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning. Before I continue, I want to remind you that the goal of Please Live is to show that there is hope and there is healing for the emotional struggles you may be experiencing. We believe that everyone – regardless of race, gender, religion, age, or personal views – deserves to live a happy and healthy life. We ask you, reader, to put aside your personal views of this lifestyle, and instead look upon this people group as exactly that – people.

LGBT persons, particularly youth aged 13-24, have a suicide rate considerably higher than the average population. In fact, it could be said that LGBT youth are the highest risk for suicide; an estimated 30 – 40% of LGBT youth have made a suicide attempt, according to The Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Society today favors heterosexual relationships, and thus, being in the LGBT community automatically earns you a spot “against the norm”. Youth are endlessly bombarded with conflicting messages, praising being unique and independent, yet being criticized when they are too different. Bullying is a huge factor in youth depression, but bullying towards LGBT youth escalates at an alarming rate, oftentimes resulting in physical violence.

Even in psychology, prior to 1974, being LGBT was considered a mental illness. This has taught LGBT populations that something is wrong with them, they are broken, and they need to be fixed. Countless attempts to “cure” LGBT desires have proved to be counterproductive, often times leaving youth in a more desolate state than before.

On the other side of the fence, heterosexual individuals are raised to believe that they are “right” and that those who do not adhere to their lifestyle are “wrong” (read: “us” versus “them” mentality). Even if we take religion out of the perspective, the way in which LGBT individuals are treated in our society is appalling. Thankfully, in recent years, efforts are continually being made to remember that LGBT individuals are people, and regardless of your personal views on their lifestyle, they need to be treated as people.

And that, in it’s simplicity, is my point for this blog post. I believe people are allowed to have opinions. You are certainly allowed to disagree with someone’s lifestyle. But it is never okay to treat someone like they are less than human. Remember that someone’s sexuality is such a tiny piece of who they are. LGBT individuals have dreams, ideas, morals. They have desires to love and be loved, they want to travel, they want to learn. Don’t treat people like crap just because you disagree with them.

Be a good person. Be good to EVERYONE. Be kind to waiters, be generous to the poor, be compassionate towards the hurting. Especially love the people that you believe shouldn’t be loved.

If you identify as LGBT and you are struggling, there is help available for you. We encourage you to check out the Trevor Project, call 1-866-488-7386 24/7, or text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200 between 4 – 8pm Eastern on Friday.