Straight lives matter. That should be your campaign slogan next term, Senator Capito. You helped destroy the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and I have one question: why? The very name of this bill seems to fall in the light of protecting individuals from harm. It would have protected West Virginians from harm. Is that not your job? Who are you representing when you kill a bill that would help with the pandemic of bullying?
Of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) youths, 30 percent report skipping school because of bullying, and 40 percent of homeless teenagers are from the LGBT community. Yes, almost half of the homeless youth are LGBT, and this happens for many reasons, but one major reason is that they cannot receive an education in the same way their heterosexual counterparts can. In a survey done by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) 2011, 64 percent of students that were bullied felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 44 percent reported being physically attacked. LGBT youths are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youths. Bullying is a problem, and it is your job to help West Virginians of all kinds, not just a selected few.
West Virginia’s LGBT youth need protection that will allow them to prosper to a life of happiness like any other. There needs to be accountability for harm done to youths because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression just like there is for harm done because of race or sex. It is time to stop drawing lines in the sand and time to stand together. Today I ask you, Senator Capito, to help all West Virginians; to stand with us; to hold our hands; to make progress for the greater good, and to not turn your back on us.