I am what I am: Deep thoughts on existing when others don’t want you to

An image of a rainbow flag with triangluar style points going from left to right.

Welcome to March 2023. It’s a wild year to be alive. So I’ve decided to take some time to spin some positive vibes out into the universe. I try to do this regularly, especially on my social media sites. But first, let’s take a jump into the deep side of the pool.

A lot of US states are desperately trying to ban or censor gay, trans, and other folks from the public, because as Senator Mike Moon of Missouri believes, “Exposure creates confusion” (Henshaw). That’s why he introduced a bill to censor K-12 educational staff and faculty from discussing gender or sexual identity. If passed, it would, “only allow discussion of gender or sexual orientation by a licensed mental health provider with parental permission” (Henshaw). The obvious disgusting element here being that he wants to equate these issues to mental illness. It’s also important to note that folks like Moon like to bemoan that this is all to protect children, his bill is called “Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act” after all. If conservatism was really concerned with kids and their wellbeing, perhaps they would like to address the fact that “LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers” (The Trevor Project). But to do so would mean having to address the fact people like Moon are the cause of that statistic, as The Trevor Project puts it, “LGBTQ youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity but rather placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.” 

Moon’s bill wants to force youth to share their gender identity or sexual orientation with their parents. The fact is though that many parents are just plainly unfit to address this issue and that’s why many children do not broach these conversations with their parents--it is not uncommon for parents to disown and kick their children to the curb when learning their child might be gay or transgender. This is also why it’s important for children to have adults they can trust like teachers and school counselors who they can turn to, when their home life is not supportive or even downright oppressive and abusive.

But I’m not näive, maybe Moon isn’t either, and maybe that’s the point. Perhaps Moon just really wants to drive youth back into the closet or just have them become another statistic altogether. Because at the end of the day, that’s what all of these bills really boil down to: either drive them out of society or kill them off. And considering conservatives don’t care about the suicide rates among LGBTQ youth, it seems pretty clear they are fine with that conclusion. All this posturing about protecting children is literally the complete opposite of their aim. 

If you are reading this, and didn’t realize LGBTQ youth are high risk for suicide because of their surroundings and stigma, then I urge you to rethink your positon. If you really care about children, you shouldn’t care whether they are gay, straight, lesbian, trans, nonbinary, queer, or are black, brown, or white. If you really cared about children, you wouldn’t drive them back into the closet, afraid to walk the streets or talk to their parents and other adults. And you certainly would try your damndest to be preventative of suicide among LGBTQ youth by creating an environment that is supportive. And no, yelling at them, and telling them they are gonna burn in hell isn’t supportive. It’s harsh and hurtful. 

The positive stuff.

I know at the beginning of this, I said I was gonna send some positive vibes out into the universe, and I do believe in that. So here goes...

To my fellow LGBTQ folks, especially if you are young:

Be you. Live. Live like hell. Embrace who you are, learn who you are. And while I recognize you might be in a situation that is unhealthy and maybe even dangerous, I urge you to stay strong. I grew up in a rough environment, there was regular abuse. And while that sucked, putting it mildly, and I still cope with the traumas, I want you to know that once I moved out into adulthood that I was able to set off on a path I wanted and believed in. Someday, you will have that moment too. And when you step out, step big. Set your own rules. Be you. Live. Live like hell. 

And here’s an anthem for you, “I Am What I Am” by Gloria Gaynor: 


This concludes Weaver’s Deep Thoughts for March 2023. The main points of this edition being... be better, if you are oppressing LGBTQ youth, and LIVE LIKE HELL if you are part of the LGBTQ community. 

Originally published on LinkedIn.

Cover image: Photo by Katie Rainbow 🏳️‍🌈: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-series-of-multi-colored-v-shape-strips-9007788/


Works Cited

Hanshaw, Annelise. “Missouri Senators Debate Bill Barring Discussion of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity in School.” Missouri Independent, 7 Feb. 2023, https://missouriindependent.com/2023/02/07/missouri-senators-debate-bill-barring-discussion-of-sexual-orientation-gender-identity-in-school

The Trevor Project. “Facts About LGBTQ Youth Suicide | The Trevor Project.” The Trevor Project, 25 Oct. 2022, www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/article/facts-about-lgbtq-youth-suicide