Imagine being born in the wrong body and feeling so ashamed of what is between your legs, something that haunts you every minute of your mid-pubescent life, and then being told by society that you are mentally ill. Imagine being born with an obvious attraction to the same gender. You're a male ninth grader, surrounded by hormonal teenagers constantly discussing romantic interests and physical attractions. In most schools, that ninth grader would be silent and thus, slowly deteriorating, wanting nothing more than to detach from his homosexuality.
Teenagers in schools face daily torment, regardless of their sexuality and gender. Being a teenager is hard enough: We are all trying to find comfort in our bodies. But being a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender teenager is even harder. A national survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network reports that 84 percent of American LGBT youth at school are victims of derogatory slurs specific to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. These degradations are extremely painful. Americans who aren't accepting of the LGBT community need to reconsider their beliefs, whether that's religion, politics, etc. There are American citizens who end their lives because of this. This is not a political view, but rather a moral obligation. These are human beings who are suffering.
When people talk about discrimination with regard to the LGBT community, they often only consider same-sex marriage and legal issues. While these prominent issues should continue to be discussed, people often disregard the most elementary foundation of LGBT hate.
This is why my friend, Emma Troughton, decided to start a campaign. It then became a passion shared by three high school sophomores, including Naomi Farahan and myself as managers.
Our campaign, One Million Teens for LGBT Rights, focuses on a number of issues. A few of those focuses are: bullying of LGBT teens in schools, general perception and acceptance issues of American LGBT members, and eliminating derogatory LGBT insults that have become mainstream.
Our campaign managing board is comprised of one lesbian, one bisexual, and one ally; we are passionate about this injustice, so we started a campaign through Facebook called One Million Teens For LGBT Rights to rally our generation behind this vital cause.
One Million Teens For LGBT Rights is focused on motivating and mobilizing teenagers. In 2013, with all of the advocacy outlets and immediate social connections made available by social networking, the teenagers of America can help create equality with the tools they know best. One week later, the page has garnered several hundred members, including Tillett Wright, famous photographer and LGBT rights activist who recently appeared on Ted Talk, and Janet Mock, a writer and LGBT rights advocate.
The three of us are very lucky to go to a school where we can be ourselves without fear of being judged.However, this is not the case in all schools – not even in the majority of schools. We hope that our group provides hope for everyone in the LGBT community. Nobody is alone in this fight for equality.