pic of me with love signHi Family,

I write this column with a broken heart.  My heart is broken because of the number of young people who have attempted or successfully committed suicide over the past month. My heart is broken because once again cries for help were ignored until a critical mass of suicides forced the media, politicians, clergy and other adult authority figures to pay attention.
I just reread the Executive Summary of the 2009 Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) report, Shared Differences: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender Students of Color in Our Nations Schools.  The findings of the report confirm what the national media is finally reporting; many GBLT students do not experience public schools as being safe spaces for them if their sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity deviates from what has been defined as the norm.  As we have learned over the last month bullying is at an all time high, and going to school for many GBLT youth is hazardous for their health.  Many people are focused on the bullies who have created hell on earth for GBLT youth. What about the silent witnesses who are on the school buses, walking the hallways and sitting in classrooms?  What is their responsibility?
What GBLT youth and young adults need are allies.  People who will support them when they are called disrespectful names, threatened with violence and made to feel other than who they are; human beings who deserve to be treated with love and respect.  To quote Audre Lorde, “Your silence will not protect you,” because racism, classism, sexism, ableism, ageism, and heterosexism are all linked.  Until we each speak-up for someone being mistreated, bullies and bigots will continue to interpret our silence as acceptance.  If you want to be an ally, join or start a Gay Straight Alliance group at your school, tell the bully to leave your friend alone, or report abusive behavior to a responsible adult.  Finally, you can ask the person being mistreated how you can be supportive.
As always I would love to hear from you.  You can message me on Facebook at Monica Cummings, email me at mcummings@uua.org or leave a comment for me on the YaYA of Color blog, UU Living Mosaic at http://uuyayaoc.blogs.uua.org/.
Living My Faith,
Rev. Monica

About the Author
T. Resnikoff
Ted Resnikoff is the Digital Communications Editor at the Unitarian Universalist Association.