So, yet again. Here I am, returning to the issue of LBGT+ youth suicide. Now I know I’m representing the guys at Mr Gay Europe, and I’m usually to write about issues in Europe. However, suicide has no borders! And seeing daily reminders on social media of LGBT+ children all around the work taking their own lives. Now, it isn’t always mental health that leads to this. Their story for acting in the way they did, always tends to be due to other kids at school or family bullying.

Every Friday here in the UK, I present the LGBT+ news on Stuart Hatton Jr’s Drive Home show on Pride Radio. So when reading the news, I came across the latest info, fact and figures of the LGBT+ youth in Ireland.

As we all know it was Anti-Bullying week not too long ago, and for those who know me I work a lot in suicide prevention. In Ireland a few weeks ago, the campaign #StandUp2016 was launched.

According to the research, one in three LGBT+ 14-18 year olds have attempted to take their own lives.

67% of LGBT+ young people have witnessed bullying of other LGBT+ students, and over 50% of them have personally experienced bullying. One in four missed or skipped school to avoid negative treatment due to being scared.

Now, the above figure of 67% of LGBT+ youth who have witnessed the bullying of other LGBT+ kids. Begs me to ask; Did they do anything about it?

What would you do if you saw this happening to a fellow LGBT+ member?

For me, with all these stories that I am reading online, I would find it to be my duty to intervene. The kid in question could be too scared to speak up. So in doing so, you could potentially be saving that kid’s life as you have no idea what thoughts are going through their head when they are home and alone.

An example of a heartbreaking story is that of 13 year old Tyrone Unsworth from Brisbane. Tyrone, a young boy with a love for makeup and fashion took his own life in November 2016 after being the target of cruel schoolyard bullies. According to the daily mail, this went on for 2 years! Did no one see this happening?

His Mother, Amanda stated, “He was a really feminine male, he loved fashion, he loved make-up and the boys always picked on him, calling him gay-boy, f****t, fairy; it was a constant thing from Year 5.”

Amanda went on to say the bullies pushed her son ‘to the edge’ and she believes they are the reason he took his own life. “All of this Because of bullies thinking they’re tough heroes. Now I don’t have my son, never will I ever get to see my beautiful boy alive.”

So, my reason for writing this today is to urge you all, if you see anything like this happening in your school, in the streets, anywhere!! Please! STEP UP… STOP IT… STAMP OUT!

It’s happening all to often these days. I believe it is our duty as members of the LGBT+ Community to look out for one another.

As Sister Sledge sang, “We are Family!”

Joni Valadares

Photo by: Amanda Unsworth