Today I'm dressed in a purple sweater for Spirit Day to honor Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Raymond Chase, Justin Aaberg, Billy Lucas, Zach Harrington, and many others who have been bullied for their sexuality. The young men who I named paid the ultimate price for the cruelty, hate, and bigotry shown toward them by taking their own lives, and I know many other precious lives have been lost for the same reason.
To bully another person is one of the most loathsome things someone can do. The old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," is about as much of a mistruth ever spoken. Words do hurt, powerfully and deeply, leaving scars that can continue to ache for many years. And far too often, bullying escalates beyond words to physical harm. But bullying can be stopped. If we as a society stand up and say enough, it can end.
When someone is bullied, though they may once have had the confidence to stand up for themselves, constant harassment can wear them down. Others are never given a chance to gain confidence in themselves. That's why we need to step in, to be their shields and their strength, to let them know they're not alone and they're cared about.
There's no greater loss to this world than a life taken too soon. So I ask, please, if you know someone who could be the target of bullying, take a few minutes to talk to them, let them know you have the strength for them to lean on, that you're there for them. If you're being bullied, know I'm saying these words to you, you are cared for, you're not alone, there are people who will face the bullies with you, there are people who will stand at your side to help you through anything. Take pride in yourself, because the person you are is someone beautiful and dear to the world. And if anyone reading this feels they need to talk to someone trained to help, one place you can look to is The Trevor Project.
If we all join together, we can work to stop the abuse and hurt. Awareness is one step, kindness is another. The two combined can help put an end to bullying.