Here’s what we’ve learned about gay teen suicides: it takes a village to make them happen, and also to make them stop. Yes, those kids who recently took their lives, in cities across the country, were particularly targeted by particular bullies. But both the bullies and their victims were caught up in systemic webs of hatred, ideology, and culture. Our rabbis, politicians, and community leaders are all responsible, as are all of us, for spreading the fundamental message that gay is not okay — a message that is lethal, and insidious.
The good news is that, since we’re all responsible, if you’re outraged and want to do something, there are a lot of things you can do.
First and most importantly is to “come out,” whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, questioning, transgender, lesbian, queer, or Whatever, as a supporter of equality. Every study that has been done on homophobia and public opinion of gays has shown the same thing: the most important factor is knowing gay people, or at least knowing visible allies.
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