Sadly in the United States hate crimes against gay people continue. Just today Tyler Clementi of New Jersey committed suicide because he was "outed". Last week Seth Walsh of Texas committed suicide because he was taunted by his junior high school classmates.

Recent studies show that nine out of ten gay kids are harrassed and gay kids are four times more likely to commit suicide than straight kids. Blame it on outdated religious principles, blame it on the political right, blame it on conservatives of whatever sort but no matter where we place the blame - injury to another person for whatever reason is wrong.

I am fortunate to know about the presence of the Gay-Straight Student Alliance that exists at Albuquerque High School. I hope that exists in every one of our junior high and high schools. I am also aware of the LBGT Student Union on the UNM campus. And here in Albuquerque we have Common Bond and many other venues for the LBGTQ community & their friends. These are great organizations that teach acceptance and celebrate diversity.

But there are so many who never make it safely into these groups either because they are scared of family & friends, shamed by their religious traditions, bullied by their peers, or simply unaware that safe havens exist. "Tolerance" is not acceptance; tolerance promotes policies like Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which are neither healthy nor honest.

While so much violence is perpetrated on the LBGTQ community in our nation and around the world I can say that at least here in Albuquerque there are great strides to make us a truly diverse and accepting city.

A word of advice - if you think some young person is coming into their identity as a gay, lebsbian, bisexual, transgendered, transexual, queer person please don't chastise him or her. Simply love and support him or her and help this person to find good and safe places so they can discern and come to a loving and valued sense of self.

So while people mourn again over senseless deaths we can find hope that It Gets Better.

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