Andrew W. Virginia

Save Our Youth

LGBTQ+ youth are at an all time high for suicide rates due to the overwhelming stresses of being themselves.

Dear President,

Throughout American history there have always been disputes on rights among peoples of different backgrounds, beliefs, and many other characteristics. Once again in American history are rights being protested, rights for all those of non-traditional sexuality or gender identity. Many Presidents before you have fought congress and nay-sayers of the country to stand up for what is morally right.

While I myself do not have any personal experiences with being mistreated due to sexual identity, I am friends with and know many of those who do identify as transgender, homosexual, bisexual, etc…; and have seen and have talked to them about the societal, mental, and even political stresses of being in the LGBT community. A study done in 2005 states “among adults and young adults, 30.1 percent of transgender individuals surveyed reported having ever attempted suicide” (Kenagy, 2005), and there are more recent studies done to show that not only has this problem existed for over a decade, that it has been an increasing problem in the United States and the world. Rates for suicide and/or attempted suicide are now near four times that of the general public, by which I refer to in that manner as those who do not identify under any LGBTQ+ title.

As if the challenges throughout life were not enough, are we now asking the Great American Youth to be further challenged by just being who they are? Every week, I, and as I’m sure you, hear of a suicide or an issue faced by a child simply because they were different. Be it a story of abuse or a story of struggle, they have penetrated the media and won’t accept being swept under the rug. Even older generations are struggling due to a circumstance that is not a choice, a circumstance that has been a part of them since the beginning of their lives. A same-sex couple in Kentucky made the news after being denied a marriage license, something that should have been one of the happiest times in their lives, was turned sour due to a nation divided and a woman who felt her beliefs were more important than the lives of not one but TWO others, all this because The American Government, one that claims to be the best in the world, gave states a final say in whether or not Love was legal.

So President, will you continue to let generations of who should be proud Americans, struggle by expressing themselves and living their own lives? Being independent and punished for it? Hasn’t America always stood as a refuge and a safe place for those who are oppressed? So why is that only directed at those outside of the nation? I hope you will take action and stand up for what is moral and American.

Thank you,

Andrew Woodrum

"Facts About Suicide." The Trevor Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.

"Suicidal Behavior Among LGBT Youth." American Society of Suicidology, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.

"Transgender Health: Findings from Two Needs Assessment Studies in Philadelphia." Jane Adams College of Social Work, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

James Wood High School

Concerned Colonels

Letters to the Next President by James Wood High's AP English 11 students

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