I have borrowed shamelessly from the ever-thoughtful Patti Digh (“What would I be doing today if I only had 37 days to live?”) for the title of this post. It references her own (sorry, no longer online) about National Coming Out Day, first celebrated in the United States in 1988.

National Coming Out Day encourages discussion about gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual and transgender issues. The date of October 11 marks the anniversary of the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

It’s especially appropriate, coming as it does on the heels of the recent number of teens who committed suicide after being bullied for being gay. As a mother, my heart just aches to read about them. But what can we do?

As blogger Japhy Grant said in a post about it (also found via Patti, also no longer available), it’s pretty simple:

“You have to speak up. If you’re upset over the four [now five] gay teens who have committed suicide in the last three weeks, speak up! Your silence is killing us…We need you to speak up when someone calls someone else a ‘Fag’ or calls something uncool ‘Gay.’ You need to speak up even when there are no gay people around. In fact, especially when there are no gay people around. And if you’re still saying those kind of things, stop it. It’s not funny.”

Columnist Dan Savage started a campaign called “It Gets Better,” encouraging people to upload videos like his own talking about how life for gays and lesbians gets better after high school. The Atlantic posted an article that wonders if this campaign is enough, and of course it’s not — scroll down and read the comments after the article — but it’s a start.

Patti’s post touched me, especially this:

“I want my daughters to grow up knowing that love is love, that straight love and gay love and everything in between is beautiful and right and complex and sometimes painful and life-affirming and the only thing there is. At the end of it, love is what’s left.”

I want everyone to grow up knowing that. Why is that so much to ask for?