It's a graphic subject line, but suck it up: you probably have people and resources around you that many queer youth don't have.
I was raised Catholic, and attended Catholic schools in BC and Ontario from Kindergarten to Grade 13. I figured out that I'm gay partway through high school, came out to friends, then family, and honestly had a really easy time of it. I even took a boy to my prom. But I had friends who were kicked out of their homes by their parents - at age 14! - and never spoke to their families again. I had friends who attempted suicide, and a friend who succeeded at suicide.
Things were so easy for me (thanks Mom and Dad!) that I genuinely wanted to take on some of the pain and shit that my friends were going through just to help them get through it. When I watch the "It Gets Better" project videos I tear up over and over again thinking about how little care some of us have for one another. Studies are inconsistent on this point, but it's commonly stated that up to a third of teen suicides are due to fears over sexual orientation. I can't prove that from looking at the studies, but I can say this: I know people who have attempted and who have killed themselves, and that learning to love yourself including your sexual orientation and/or gender identity is not easy, and is very stressful. Kids need support from those around them.
But some of the people we trust with supporting our kids are Not. Doing. Their. Job.
In Ontario, Catholic schools are not allowed to have "gay-straight alliances", or GSAs, which is a student group where kids can get together and support each other without having to come out or say that they are gay - it's a place that's considered safe for all. Many many high schools across North America have GSAs, but even some of the largest high schools in Ontario can't, because the school board, or the bishops, or the Vatican, or somebody has said no. Repeatedly. Quietly. Loudly. In secret memos. Behind closed doors. Even when over 30 students at one high school in Mississauga want to form a GSA, they are told no.
Some students in Mississauga decided to form an unofficial support group - they meet in the mall, of all places, because the school you and I pay for to support them and help them become responsible and intelligent adults isn't willing to host a group of students trying to help each other not fucking commit suicide.
These kids went ahead and helped each other anyway. They decided to have a bake sale to raise money to donate to a worthy cause. How about the LGBT Youth Line? They were told they couldn't donate the money to any gay, lesbian or trans organization. The school suggested a Catholic homeless shelter.
It gets worse: the kids wanted to advertise the bake sale, but they were told no signs with rainbows. "Rainbows are associated with Pride," was the school board's complaint. Let me say that again: the school board banned rainbows.
So what did the kids do? They iced the cupcakes in rainbow colours! Inventive, and hard (not impossible) for the school board to ban. The board still banned almost all the documents and materials brought to hand out, including one written by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation!
So what's next? Well unless we can get the Ontario government to make changes and force the publicly-funded Catholic school boards to support GLBT youth equally, we're kinda sunk. The Catholic church is not exactly a fast mover on supporting those who are different, as you might already be aware. But these kids need our help. They need to know that they have support, even though the officials we trust to help raise our kids and teach them about the world are STILL pretending there's no such thing as gay.
So here's what I need you to do. It only takes a couple minutes, and unless you're in school and haven't finished your homework yet you've got the time.
1. Email Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, and tell him you think his government needs to fix this problem. Also tell him that it's not going to change the vast majority of votes this fall, and if his team loses government that these kids will be getting LESS support from Queen's Park. Sometimes it's OK for him to be Premier Dad and support ALL the kids. https://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/en/feedback/default.aspx
2. Email Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak and tell HIM about this problem. He doesn't know, and his advisers don't think it's important for him to even consider. But you know it is, and he needs to hear that. http://www.ontariopc.com/contact-us/
3. Help the GSA at St Joseph's raise money for some buttons! They're taking their fight out of the school to us during Pride, and you know how much people's attention depends on getting something for it. Let's give them buttons! Every dollar helps - please give! http://caseyoraa.chipin.com/catholic-students-for-gsas
It Gets Better video from Pixar: watch until the very very end. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeZiF_BJ3ss
Rainbows banned at Mississauga Catholic school: http://www.xtra.ca/public/Toronto/Rainbows_banned_at_Mississauga_Catholic_school-10262.aspx