Eight months ago Julie Zicha got this text from her 19-year-old son Ryan: “Please forgive me. Remember that it wasn’t your fault. Always remember that I love you and that I’ll always love you. And I’m up at Pebble Creek.” She said there was no mistaking what it meant.
Ryan had been the victim of ceaseless bullying in and out of school–so much so that he married his best friend to be legally emancipated–all because he was gay. Local News 8 ran a great and moving story talking to Julie about her son and the need for resources, such as Gay-Straight Alliance groups, in local high schools.
But the task isn’t so easy. As ISU’s LGBTQ Student Association told us this past summer, there’s an atmosphere of hatred toward gay youths in schools that few can do anything about. The state refuses to include sexual orientation or gender identity into hate crime laws or even school bullying legislation.
Yet people like Ryan suffer every day without anywhere to turn to. But in his mother’s grief, there is still hope. From Local News 8:
Julie holds the book of letters in her lap, reading the notes that tell Ryan what his mom said he never realized. “You were never truly alone,” one letter reads. “I love you always,” reads another. Being able to establish the alliances would help keep some part of her son alive, Julie said.
“He touched so many lives in his short time here and all he ever wanted to do was to be that kind of person to help others through that struggle,” she said.
There is already one student at Century High School who is working to build a Gay Straight Alliance. The Idaho State University LGBT Student Association is looking for student sponsors at the other high schools in the area.
[via Local News 8]