For gay teens who have considered suicide

Sean Simonson
Sean Simonson is a senior at Benilde-St. Margaret's, a Catholic school in St. Louis Park, Minn. He is also the Activities Editor for The Knight Errant, the school newspaper, and the author an editorial about life as a gay teenager. Simonson was asked to remove his essay "Life as a gay teenager" from the newspaper's website after the comments grew heated.
MPR Photo/Nikki Tundel

Editor's note: The following article first appeared last week in the Knight Errant, the student newspaper at Benilde-St. Margaret's School, but was removed over the weekend at the request of the school's administration. MPR's coverage of the incident is available here.

By Sean Simonson

I have considered suicide. Yes, I have considered taking my own life. Unlike six other boys recently in the news, I never took the steps to follow through on my dark thoughts, but, unfortunately, I can understand what drove them to. Because I know what it's like to be a gay teenager.

Imagine going through adolescence: hormones raging, body changing, and relationships that go a little deeper than friendship developing. Now, add on being gay.

Don't believe being different is difficult? Try going through a day in the life of a gay teen.

Every day you hear someone use your sexuality -- a part of you that, no matter how desperately you try, you cannot change -- as a negative adjective. That hurts.

You fear looking the wrong way in the locker room and offending someone. Politicians are allowed to debate your right to marry the person you love or your right to be protected from hate crimes under the law. Your faith preaches your exclusion -- or damnation. And no one does anything to stop it.

Recently, the Archbishop used money donated by an anonymous source to denounce same-sex marriage. That's right: a major religious leader used non-Church money from a questionable source to publicly condemn your right to express your love in a public and binding manner.

A public school district nearby -- after a wake of suicides by kids much like yourself -- cannot bring itself to put your protection from bullying into its policies. Members of the district fear your kind and how you might brainwash their children into thinking that your behavior is appropriate or to join your kind.

A political party makes its position denying your right to marry one of its main voting points. And your nation voted this party in office.

You cannot legally give blood to save a life, nor risk your life to defend your country unless you hide your identity and deny who you are.

Oh yeah, and the words "queer," "homo," and "faggot" that people throw around all the time? Yeah, those might as well be personal attacks.

This is daily life for me. And I can understand why, if you are gay like me, you might consider ending it all. But I hope you don't.

Why? Because without you, who is going to make it better for everyone else? Without you, no one is going to stand up against the injustice. I need you to help me make this world a better place for both of us and everyone else like us.

And all of you who don't have to undergo this horror daily, it's up to you to help. Don't stand by and let hatred go on. Don't sit back and watch your friends be discriminated against. Reach out and help those who might need it.

Together, maybe we can make the world an easier place to live for gay and straight teens alike. Because no one else is going to do it for us.


Sean Simonson is a senior at Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park and is an editor on the school's student newspaper, the Knight Errant.

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