Dear Houston: Children Are Dying

There is no truth that does not include the fact that in places where there are legal protections for LGBT human beings, suicide rates are lower for LGBT youth. The denial of human status to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans is a contributing factor to the violence that is raging out of control across our country. Dear Houston: Children are dying.

Under the guise of protecting women and girls from a danger that does not exist, transgender teens are given an extraordinarily clear message: In the eyes of their community, their lives are not valuable. We will bury LGBT teenagers because people who claim to represent God have lied, and hated, and deceived. And for what? Because it is not for the safety of women and girls. The only thing I see they get from this is the preservation of their ability to harm people who are different from themselves.

These are the prominent facts of the transgender bathroom "debate". The people who need protection are the ones being attacked - the opposition to equality has this truth well in hand. Except that they are not the ones being attacked. The opposition is doing the attacking, and it is open season on transgender Americans.

The most sickening part of this to me, in the knowledge that any denial of human dignity espouses discrimination and violence, is the utilization of the name of God to do it. And still, the media allows these liars and fear mongers to claim a connection to Christianity without bringing up the undeniable fact that their actions are anything but Christian.

It is a frightening thing that some "faith" leaders, claiming to be messengers of God, have strayed so far away from God's message of love. Another frightening truth: More than one Houston voter - who has now participated in the demonizing of transgender people - will one day come home to the lifeless body of their own child. They have made it very clear to their own child that life has no future, no hope, and no value.

It is a comforting thing to know that many true leaders of faith are standing up and standing on the side of love. Sometimes, these leaders are standing up and speaking out loudly. We need more of that. We need much more of that. Speaking more loudly than ever before. Speaking more loudly than the monsters who continue to perpetuate discrimination, cling to ignorance, and empower violence.

HERO wasn't a battle over a question about protecting woman and girls in bathrooms. HERO was a battle about saving the lives of innocent teenagers who are still not wanting anything more than to be who they are and love who they love. In this battle, no one wins. Everyone loses.

We must see this continuing struggle for human rights as exactly what it is. The failure to protect LGBT citizens from discrimination has many horrible consequences. Another transgender woman of color murdered. Another gay couple beaten. Another lesbian raped. Another beautiful young life brought to an end far too soon. And for what?

It is not a time to be timid. More than seeing this message, we must make it our message and carry it loudly. We must do this until there is no place in America where it is legal to discriminate against any person because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Dear Houston. Dear America. Children are dying.