An Open Letter to LGBT Youth,
My name is Katy. I live in Seattle. I am a writer, a jazz singer and the proud mother of a wonderful gay teenage son. You don’t know me. We’ve never met. But I am writing today to deliver this message:
You matter a lot. You are important. You are perfect just the way you are. You have a right to live with pride and dignity. You deserve your spot on this planet. By virtue of your very presence, you shine. You are vital to the pulse of humanity and I’m so glad you’re here.
When my son came out, it was to a supportive family and in the safe environment of a liberal community. He knew he would be OK and he is. I am extremely proud of him and his coming out was truly a celebration. However, I am painfully aware that this is not the case for many of you. This reality keeps me up at night. I know that far too many of you are stuck in less than hospitable situations, where it is not safe or OK to be who you are. You may be living in some redneck town, surrounded by people who don’t accept you. You may be subjected to ridicule, harassment or even abuse. If this describes your situation, please know this:
Outside the box of your present life circumstances, there are millions of people who are on your side; cheering for you, advocating for you, believing in you and holding space for you. We are doing everything we can to make the world a kinder and safer place for you. We’re here. Please believe it.
To LGBT youth everywhere: You don’t need anyone’s permission to be who you are. If you can, please step up and unfurl your banners. You are magical and effervescent. You are old souls with super powers. Nobody knows more about survival than you do. We need your genius! And the world desperately needs your gifts. Please stay awesome and undaunted. Ignore the haters; they live in small, sad places with angry and fearful hearts. In the words of David Whyte: Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you. Let that be your guiding mantra.
If members of your own family are part of the problem, this is a particularly difficult heartache. I am so terribly sorry. Any mother or father who rejects a child for being LGBT is suffering a special kind of misery. It is inherently unnatural for a parent to turn a back on his/her offspring. To do so reflects a deep soul sickness. And any religion that encourages this behavior is not a religion based on love. But always remember that the universe lives in your heart. If you are able to dig deep enough, you may be able to find compassion for the people who have hurt you. If you can’t get there just yet, then do no harm. You are bigger than they are, and better. But always take care of yourself. Nobody has the right to physically abuse you or harm you in any way. If you are the victim of abuse, there’s help for you. I’ve included links to a few resources at the bottom of this post.
So dear ones, this is a love bomb from me to you. Although it is important to continue to fight for your safety in the world, it is equally important to me to celebrate you and to encourage you to whatever extent one woman can. I know I’m just a straight, middle-aged mom from Seattle. What do I know about you or your life? Who am I to speak out on your behalf or to reach out to you? What authority do I have to speak to any of this?
I have authority… because I give a shit.
It Gets Better: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/
The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
National Child Abuse Hotline: http://www.childhelp.org/
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
– Martin Luther King Jr.