To mark the release of Pure Innocence I booked a blog tour with Pride Promotions, and thanks to Will being super-efficient, I was immediately flooded with emails containing list of questions from the bloggers whose sites I was appearing on. The question that really stood out for me was on the blog by Amanda C. Stone (on 6/16) She sent me some really wacky questions – loved them – but this one in particular got me thinking.
You are a super hero! What’s your super hero name and secret talent?
I immediately rattled off what I thought was quite a funny answer – to do with dieting/chocolate (go figure) and how I would be the hero of everyone who wished that Cadburys had the same calorie count as celery.
This has been bothering me for days.
You’re all going to think this is incredibly silly, but I felt that I totally wasted the answer on something unimportant. What if the blogger super-beings were looking down and took my answer seriously? What if somewhere, some super-being was about to grant someone a wish, and instead of saving lives or curing some god-awful disease they picked a stupid, selfish, was-only-a-joke but should-have -known-better request from me?
The same day I saw a post on my Facebook feed. A sixteen year old teenager, Ash Haffner, had killed himself because he was transgender – born as a girl. This really shook me – sixteen. My own daughter has just turned seventeen. He killed himself because he couldn’t cope with being bullied anymore. He stepped out in front of a car.
Transgender suicide rates are absolutely staggering – over 41% – and this has to stop.
How would you feel if your son or daughter deliberately stepped out in front of a car?
There is a theme – Stay Strong – meaning when you are standing against demons and fighting the urge to cause yourself hurt or pain.
In a note found after his death, Ash wrote, “Just remember me as someone who stayed strong for as long as I could.”
So, for all of you, including me, who wastes wishes on ridiculous things like wanting to be thinner, younger, prettier, luckier…
Remember Ash Hoffner – and STAY STRONG.