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To the youth

To the editor:

In light of recent events I felt compelled to speak out. I’m writing directly to the LGBTQ youth.

I hope every single one of you know that you are valued and loved and that loads of people care about you. When people say or do things that hurt — whether it’s an offensive slur, a blatant insult, or just ignorance that people cannot seem to overcome (even with their insightful world book encyclopedias) — their remarks can linger in your mind for far too long.

Those words and actions can trick you into thinking you are bad or wrong or unworthy or that you should change. It is known that negative thoughts and criticism tend to linger longer than praise, especially for adolescents.

I wish there was a way to protect you from hearing those things but since there’s not, I’ll do my best to counter it.

Your sexuality does not define you. Your character does. There is nothing inherently wrong with you. You are who you are; you should be validated and celebrated, just as you are. You are worthy of love and happiness. You are courageous. It is unbelievably brave to stand in your truth and be who you are. Keep moving forward. Even when it’s hard. Even in the face of adversity. A lot of people care about you have a great deal of respect for you.

To the community: please work to lift kids up. If you can’t do that, at least quit saying foolish and mean things about an entire group of people whom with your words you are willfully marginalizing, endangering, and belittling.

Karrie Alberts

Marshall

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