Everyone wants to feel safe

Chris Schaefer
July 18, 2016

Everyone wants to feel safe.

Everyone hopes to be accepted and included.

Everyone needs to feel that somebody has their back.

Sadly, for some marginalized groups of people, this is far from reality. Skin color, ethnic background, physical differences, mental illness, gender, sexuality... all these factors and more lead us to see people as different from ourselves. Unless, that is, we are the ones who are different.

Safety, to me, is that upon which everything else rests. For schools to be safe for LGBTQ+ students, their teachers in the spectrum also need to feel safe to “come out.” In a religious setting, a member of a faith who is not accepted and included because of their gender or sexuality is not only unsafe, but can be at risk for self-harm. A person who feels pressure to change their sexual or gender identity in order to conform to a heteronormative family dynamic is at even greater risk for serious harm.

I know that I have felt overwhelmed every time I’ve heard of another mass shooting, another act of terrorism, another suicide of an LGBTQ+ youth. There are many things that I, as an individual, cannot change. What I can do is focus on where I can make a difference. This is why WeExist.LGBT was founded.

This is my answer to making a difference. Together we can assist in making one more school welcoming for LGBTQ+ students by creating safe zones and facilitating staff training. Together, we can educate one more person on the horror that is conversion therapy, which perpetuates the outdated views of gender roles and identities, as well as the negative stereotype that being a sexual or a gender minority is an abnormal aspect of human development. Together, we can end this therapy in one more state within the 45 states where it is still legal.

WeExist.LGBT’s goal is to help make the world a safer place for those who have been marginalized, bullied, isolated, and rejected because of their sexuality or gender. We invite you to join us on this journey to make a difference for one more child, for one more youth, for one more adult who is looking for that hand to be extended into the dark and pull them into the light.

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