The following is a guest contribution from New York City-based writer Joshua Plante.

We need a beacon for the LGBT children of this country, and for the world. Our children need a voice, one that speaks not for them, but on behalf of them. This pillar of strength is needed now more than ever because with each day that we sit in silence— for each day that we are not reminding our children that it gets better, that there is meaningful life beyond the abuse—we lose another soul.

Most notable is the recent death of Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old boy who killed himself after enduring years of abuse because of his sexuality. His life, or more accurately, his death, touched the lives of many, and has inspired many to come out of the closet and live an authentic life.

Jamey’s death gave us a voice because it rocked us to the core, it awoke many to the fact that gay teenagers are suffering and that they are victims of systemic abuse. Members of the LGBT community are treated as second-class citizens in this country. We are unequal before the law, we do not receive many of the protections and rights that heterosexuals do, and we are vastly misrepresented in mass media.

Before the 2008 election of Barack Obama, it seemed impossible that we would ever have a black president. To this day, it is nearly unimaginable that we will ever have a woman in the White House. Now, at least one of these minority groups can look up and say, “one day I can do it! He did it, so can I”. This is boldly empowering and offers a healing dose of imperial evidence supporting the fact that it does get better.

The LGBT community has so few public figures to look up to, and by not living an authentic life, by not living openly, we are silently sending the message that it may not get better, and that today’s fight may be one that will be fought for the rest of our lives.

We can change this quite easily, as Zachary Quinto recently did. He had the audacity to realize that as a celebrity he has the power to give our children a voice— to be a pillar of strength by living openly and honestly in the face of adversity. We need more people to come out, to stop hiding in the closet because of the fear of what the public may think. If you are not willing to be part of the solution, you are an even bigger pawn in the problem.

If, growing up, our children can point to people in the public spotlight that are gay and have achieved so much, the tides will change and they will start to believe that someday this will all be worth it, “someday I will be worth it, my life does not need to end here.”

Your silence is an open invitation to let this inequality, this endless bullying, and constant fear live on forever.

We are one nation, one people, one world; get up, and show these silent children that it is okay to love someone of the same sex; get up and fight for the children whom no longer have the strength to fight for themselves; get up and force the world to wake up to the fact that we are here, we are queer and our lives have meaning and we deserve to be treated as such.

Come out, and give our kids hope!

— Joshua Plant, a New York City-based gay writer, consultant, and activist. This post originally appeared on HereWomenTalk and is reprinted with permission from the author.