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8 comments | Monday, June 01, 2009

The other posts I had planned for today had to take a back seat to what I'm about to share with you. I've received my share of criticism for calling for those who are closeted within the black gay community to come out and be more visible, but the experience I just had with a 17 year old gay teenager who reached out to me via Facebook only reenforced the immediate need for their to be same gender loving role models and a safe space for those struggling to deal with their sexuality.

Most 17 year olds should be getting ready for prom, graduation, and endless college applications, not medicating their pain through anonymous online hookups and suicide attempts.

With his permission I've copied what I was able to salvage of our long conversation below.

Art: darian can i talk to you about something

Darian: sure

Art: i lost my mom a while ago and i've been really depressed. i live with my father and my brothers and i just didn't have anyone else to talk to. it's so hard being gay and dealing with it all alone. i'm suicidal.

Darian: you don't have any friends that you can confide in?

Art: no not really. i've been on bgclive looking for sex but i'm really scared of catching hiv. i'm so scared the condom is gonna break or something.

Darian: sex is not what you need right now. it sounds like you need a friend, someone you can talk to. BGC will not offer you the kind of support you need. It is a site designed for people who are looking to hook up, nothing more, nothing less.

Art :yeah thats not really who i am but i think i'm tryin to fill a spot that needs to heal in time slowly

Darian: your guard is down and you're extremely vulnerable right now. this is a recipe for disaster. please don't go looking for love in all of the wrong places. learn to love yourself a little bit more starting today.

Darian:are there any openly gay students at your school you can befriend? gay/str8 alliance?

Art:we have a group but i only attended once because the advisor didn't have it as often but i was always there to attend

Darian: there's a book i want you to pick up it changed my life. it's called One More River To Cross by Keith Boykin promise me you'll look for it and read it

Art:i promise but i dont have any money right now but i'm tryin my best to look for a job

Darian:that's fine. go to the bookstore and sit and read it.

sending u a link. hold on a sec. this is a letter that I wrote to my mon after she tried to convince me that I could change my sexual orientation. it was a defining moment in my life when I affirmed myself http://www.keithboykin.com/arch/2006/05/11/a_letter_to_mom_1

Art: i think i need to take your words in to consideration and read your site a lil more often

Darian:you promise me you're not going to hurt yourself

Art:i promise. if i really get depressed do you promise we will just like talk so i can feel better

Darian: i'm here anytime u need to talk

Art: i just wanna let you know with any struggle i go through i remember the postive people i dont often acknowledge in my life and I will remember you no matter what. but i just wanna thank you again..lets hope i dont cry lol

Darian: bless you. it's gonna get better Art. I promise you. stay strong

In a world where gay visibility is increasing and gays and lesbians are embraced more readily than in the past, there are still stories of young gay people who are struggling to accept their difference and a handful of young people who will take their own lives. The deaths of Carl Walker Hoover and Jaheem Herrera ricocheted in my mind as I chatted with this young man. No one should feel that their only way out of a sea of depression and rejection is by ending their life. IWe can all make a difference in the lives of LGBT youth. It's up to us to stand up.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This is great you are doing this for him. Being a big brother or even maybe a "father" figure to this young man.

i have a gay family of 9 "sons". they are all under 30. Some have never had the support of their parents and if so it was conditional. They have at one point in their life been suicidal (as I have been) and i take joy in being there for them as many men were for me when I was there age.

Keep doing what you are doing!

And if he needs another Brother to talk to he can reach out to me as well

June 01, 2009 7:54 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

may have some scars but i am healed.i give god all the praise for me not taking my life when i thought there was nowhere to turn making me be out and proud of it 2day so people like this guy can see that there is nothing wrong with them and that their family members and other who have the problem are the ones who are working for the devil.i pray daily for all gay black men out here who feel like they have to kill themselves to escape the hatred.you are so right darian we have to change the way we represent who we are because there are so many lives that are depending us to be represented in a postive way and not just the stereotypical bgc live way.keep doing what you are doing darian.love ya

June 01, 2009 10:58 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Wait why is he on BGC looking for sex?
Yeah he lost his mother. Yeah his life is tough, but where comes from the need to do something stupid? I mean sex isn't stupid but his statement just seemed so passive. "ive been on BGC looking for sex".

I really hope this guy gets the help that he needs.

June 01, 2009 11:28 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/home1.aspx

The Trevor Project operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth. If you or a friend are feeling lost or alone, call The Trevor Helpline. There is hope, there is help.


June 01, 2009 11:30 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Hey Darian,

I want to say thank you for offering a listening ear to Art. I believe in my heart of all hearts that you just saved his life. If he ever needs it definitely let him know that I too am here to talk as well. Right now he just needs a real and genuine support system with what he's dealing with right now.

Again, thank you and keep me posted on him.

Peace and Poetry

June 01, 2009 11:39 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I am so happy that he found you and I am sure that he'll think about what you said to him...

June 02, 2009 12:07 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

wow. that was kind of heartbreaking to read. great advice and great job with the way you handled it. i had just one experience like that, some young reader of my blog. he hit me up on my yahoo trying to hook up and then when i rejected him, he lashed out. eventually he revealed he lived in connecticut and was lonely and scared because he was gearing up for college. that's when i really realized the little bit of power of my little blog.

June 02, 2009 4:10 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

First off kudos to you for remembering from whence you came. Often it's so easy for us to get busy and satisfied that we've been there, done that, and "arrived" and don't reach back. I know u saved that young brothers life. I, too, will stand in the gap and help if necessary. The pain was too deep and the journey too hard for me not to reach back. There are so many more distractions for kids now that we have to help them learn and embrace their self-worth. Together we achieve more!

June 02, 2009 2:47 PM


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