A little over two years ago, my cousin Scottie took his own life. None of us knew the reason and he didn't leave a note. Needless to say the family was devastated about the news especially when the last time we'd had a family gathering he seemed to be just fine.
Later that same year, I found out from my uncle that Scottie might've committed suicide because he was gay. Imagine the shock of me hearing this when I started writing gay romance and I consider myself a straight advocate for the gay community. Why would he do this? I might have been the only person in the family to help, other than his sister. Why didn't he come talk with me? Upon hearing this I was in tears. I'm not assuming I could've stopped him from doing it but maybe I could've been a source of comfort for him in this difficult time.
After much indecision and wrangling with my own guilt, I knew I had to do something to honor my cousin's memory. We weren't very close because of the age difference but I still loved him and wished he were here with us again.
Early July I released a book under my name Michael Mandrake in his memory. I changed the names of him and his sister, giving him a guardian angel to stop him from from committing suicide and choosing life. I've received a few emails from fans on the book saying it made them cry and my uncle who told me Scottie's story is very proud of the work I'd done on this book.
I've also been asked if Sammy will get his happy ending and the answer is yes. I've also written a short that was subbed under my other name Rawiya for an anthology done by Sara York and a full book is already in the works for readers to see Sammy get the happy ending he deserves.
In the meantime, I'm doing what I can to help spread the message about how important it is to listen to our kids, no matter what age. Hear out their concerns, gay or not. Don't be quick to judge them and give them every opportunity to work things out on their own before interfering. Look for signs; withdrawal from family or friends, giving up things they love etc. These may be things to look out for. Ask them questions and like I said, don't be quick to judge. They need understanding, acceptance, and most importantly love.
I'm glad to be part of this blog hop and hope this will help many to understand how serious suicide really is. Despite all the wonderful resources, the It Gets Better videos, Trevor Project, suicide rates especially among GLBT people are disturbingly high. Let's do what we can to help.
For every comment here I'll donate a dollar to the Trevor Project after the blog is said and done. Thanks for listening and please check out the other authors joining this awesome hop!