The Human Rights Campaign analyzed various surveys and estimated as of Census 2000 there were an estimated 10,456,405 gays and lesbians in the United States. Also it was estimated that 30 percent of these were living together in a committed relationship in the same residence.
This leaves roughly 7.1 million gays and lesbians not living together under one roof. I have not found any statistic to show what percentage of the 7.1 million are “out” or how many are doing what they can to hide their sexual preferences out of fear of harassment.
Some of this number are in the military service and because of current military regulations do not want to come out for fear of being thrown out of the military. This law will probably be appealed soon and as a result some gays and lesbians in the military will choose to no longer hide their sexuality.
Over the past several weeks approximately 5 gays have committed suicide. These represent reported cases – the actual count could be substantially higher.
Some might consider the title of my blog insensitive and for that I apologize in advance. I only chose the word “copycat” because that term is used so frequently to talk about crimes such as murders, robberies, and even rapes that happen in strings. The more information reported in the news about a major event the more likely there will be a copycat out there who wants to garner attention as well and will commit a similar crime.
Regarding gay suicides, which are occurring after someone has been picked on or even attacked because of a sexual preference, I do not believe the gay committing suicide, is doing it for attention. I believe they are committing suicide because they feel it is the only way out.
Although it does not seem like it at times, there are alternatives to suicide.
When a gay person who is under severe emotional stress after being picked on and harassed sees that another gay person has just committed suicide, he/she feels less able to cope and determines that is okay to check out because others recently have done so.
To all gays out there – to those who might even be reading this blog, I say this: There are roughly 10.5 million gays in America who have experienced much of what you are currently going through. Some might have experienced a higher degree of harassment, while others might not have experienced as much.
The bottom line is that you literally have millions of role models who have persevered harassment by developing coping mechanisms or have established networks of friends, acquaintances, students, church members, or even mentors who can be contacted when you are at wits end.
Alcoholics Anonymous also establishes relationships between members who can call each other when they feel the urge to give up on sobriety. I am not trying to say that being gay is an addiction; I am only trying to say that relationships can be established so someone who feels alone, depressed, and under extreme pressure because of being harassed has an avenue to turn to in lieu of deciding to end their life.
I am sure there are networks out there that you can turn to for emotional assistance. Today I browsed the web to find out if there are websites and hotlines available for LGBT individuals to access when the need arises.
Many sites are geared toward teens because most adults have passed through this fragile period already and have developed sufficient coping mechanisms.
One site that appears promising is The Trevor Project, and their URL is: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/. Their hotline is 866-488-7386, which is staffed 24 hours a day. There are many, many other websites that will support you with information and emergency counseling. Schools, libraries and other organizations have computers you can use to obtain information and guidance.
Before a crisis escalates, please try to establish your personal network and take the time to research how others have already passed through this rough period.
So, in closing, if you want to be a copycat, please be one – just choose the correct individuals to copycat. You have at least 10.1 million gays out there to copycat – those who have persevered to see a better day, a better life.
You can choose to copycat the person who jumped off the George Washington Bridge or you can choose to copycat the tens of thousands of LGBT individuals who travel over that same bridge daily. It’s your choice – just make the right one.
If you have a gay friend, feel free to cut and paste this into an email and send it to someone who might benefit from reading it.