As a mother, I can only imagine how devastating it would be to lose a child. So I was shocked and saddened when I heard that several young people had taken their own lives recently after being bullied for being gay — or because people thought they were gay.
No one should ever feel so hopeless or tormented that they take their own life. Bullying of any kind, for any reason, is unacceptable. As adults, it’s our responsibility to create a safe environment for our children. That includes setting an example of respect for one another — no matter our differences.
That’s why I’m writing to you today. In the wake of these terrible tragedies, thousands of Americans have come together to share messages of encouragement and hope with LGBT youth across our country who might be having a hard time in school or in their communities. And I wanted to share with you the video that Barack recorded to join his voice with all those who have told their own personal stories.
Middle school and high school can be tough for any kid. But it can be especially wrenching if you’re taunted or harassed by your peers, if you are made to feel worthless or alone because you don’t look or act like everybody else. And if you’re in that situation, it can be hard to imagine that things will ever change. But they will.
If you’ve been bullied, you need to know that this is not your fault. There are adults — whether in your family, your school or your community — who can help. Most importantly, you need to know how special and valuable your life is not just to your family and friends but to the entire country. You truly have a bright future ahead of you.
If you’re a parent worried about your child being bullied, or a young person who’s being bullied by their peers and aren’t sure where to turn, you can learn more here:
Please take care of yourselves and of one another.
First Lady of the United States
“No Holds Barred: The Jewish view of homosexuality” by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (The Jerusalem Post)