Scholar: “Pride Foundation saves lives”on September 7th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
Guest blogger Mike Pham is a Pride Foundation scholar studying in Seattle. In the last year, there have been a series of suicides by LGBTQ high school students in one school board district near Mike’s hometown in Minnesota. Most recently a 15-year-old, Justin Aaberg, took his own life in July after being repeatedly bullied for being gay. As Pride Foundation scholars are often working to build healthier communities, Mike reflects on this ongoing tragedy.
I don’t know if you are aware of this story, but I wanted to bring this to your attention as it hits close to home for me, as I grew up in the same area as these kids. I went to a nearby school district, and Anoka is about 10 minutes away from my hometown. There is a suicide epidemic currently happening there and I am unsurprised at the situation, as I barely survived myself. It’s a complex story, but a common one. I wish I could write more, but time does not allow.
I mean it when I say that Pride Foundation saves lives. It is organizations, like Pride Foundation, that continue to provide opportunities, motivation, and money to LGBTQ people to go to school, get an education, to become self-sufficient and get themselves out of situations that are seemingly beyond their control, giving them a chance, to be rewarded and recognized for who they are, with no conditions.
For me, as a young gay person, I felt like there was no way out – no way out of the perpetual torment from the isolation that comes from constant bullying by peers and consistent denial and rejection from parents, friends, church, and community. I know what that’s like, I am from there. I was one of those kids. And I survived. I am thankful I found a way out. And I am thankful to Pride Foundation and its amazing donors and volunteers for helping me. I am amazed everyday.
Please share this. More people need to know about this story – even though this is happening in Minnesota, this is an epidemic that needs attention and LGBTQ youth need to know the resources that are available to them.
To read more details about the story see:
“Do you think my son Justin deserved to die because there are other kids who feel superior by picking on him and no staff member will stop them?” - Tammy Aaberg questions the Anoka-Hennepin District School Board (From the Minnesota Independent)