Be the Change


Rebecca Archer, Writer

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”- Phil Donahue

Suicide in the United States has become a nation-wide epidemic. The minority populations who are largely affected by this often aren’t recognized in mainstream media, including our LGBT community. Suicide rates among this community have skyrocketed and need to be addressed.

According to the Williams Institute, there is an estimated 8 million people in the LGBT community- approximately the size of New Jersey, while the Trevor Project reports that teens in the LGBT community are four more times likely to take their life than any other community in the United States.

The fight for equality in the LGBT community is far from over. While marriage equality is now legal, other issues, including suicide, are whispered about. American media misrepresents large issues plaguing this community.

Why are the suicide rates so high among this group?

It’s because of society’s intolerance. Growing up, many people have been taught that they will always be put on the outside, if they are different. This social exile has led some to believe it would be easier to end their life than to be themselves.

The Trevor Project states, “ LGBT youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGBT peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.”

This intolerance and apathy can be seen across the United States. Kids fear coming out because of the consequences from their family, school, church, and even own community. Teen Vogue released on February 1, 2016 that over 32 LGBT children in Mormon church of Utah have taken their lives since November 2015.

What can be done to fix this issue?

Many groups and communities in the United States have fought for the equality of the LGBT community, and it’s time the change begins. It starts with you.

Be open to differences. No matter what kind of a household someone grows up in, conservative or liberal, no one has the right to take away another’s happiness. When someone has the courage to be themselves let them be happy, even if you don’t believe it’s right. If it doesn’t personally affect you, let it be.

Have a filter. Walking through the hallways, scrolling through social media, sitting in the locker room, or listening to conversations, derogatory terms including, “faga�� and “queera�� are common vocabulary. Just because you may not be offended doesn’t mean that the person next to you isn’t, so watch what you say. You never know what could be the last thing you say to someone.

Lastly, be kind. Walk in and compliment someone, or smile at the people who walk past, it could be what changes their mind about harming themselves. Dr. Seuss stated, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Be what can get the change started, and take the next step towards spreading awareness in your community.


If you are ever thinking of taking your life, please reach out to someone: a teacher, a guidance counselor, or any other adult. Here’s some hotlines you can call:

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Central & Southeast Missouri: 1-800-365-5395

Columbia: 1-800-395-2132