Nearly a dozen Charlotte area LGBT groups have partnered to present “It Gets Better,” a special candlelight vigil and concert in memory of LGBT young people who fell victim to anti-gay harassment, bullying, depression and suicide. The event will be held at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1900 The Plaza at 7:30 p.m. on National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11.
“The nation is still mourning the loss of so many young gay people, and now is as fitting a time as ever to pause and take note of the unfathomable tragedies affecting our youth,” Shane Windmeyer, executive director of the national, Charlotte-based group Campus Pride, said in a release. “We ask that Charlotteans join with the nation in remembrance of these lost lives.”
Throughout September, news-media documented several high profile cases of suicides by gay youth, and research shows LGBT young people are at increased risk of bullying and harassment and more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. In fact, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network noted in a 2009 study that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT middle and high school students reported personally experiencing anti-gay bullying while at school. Campus Pride’s 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People, released in early September, noted similar trends among the more than 6,000 college and university students, faculty and staff it surveyed.
“The tragedies highlighted by national news media last month are real life examples of the long-documented trends we’ve seen in anti-gay bullying, harassment and youth risk,” Steve Bentley, executive director of the LGBT youth service and support group Time Out Youth, said. “We work with local youth every day, and rest assured: these issues are just as important here in Charlotte as they are anywhere in the nation. Our local youth face many of the same issues and same risks.”
For more information about the vigil, visit itgetsbettercharlotte.org. For more information about gay columnist Dan Savage’s national “It Gets Better” campaign, visit youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject.
Presenting community groups include: Campus Pride, Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte, One Voice Chorus, PRIDE JWU Charlotte, Queer Rising QC, Sean’s Last Wish, Time Out Youth and UNC-Charlotte PRIDE. Other organizations are also expected to join in on the effort.
— Compiled from press materials.