LGBT History Month 2013: Estelle

12 Jun


A friend of mine, whom I shall call Estelle, follows my blog and was elated to see that I was celebrating LGBT History Month.  I have known Estelle for over two years now, but never knew that she had tried to commit suicide. As an out lesbian and sensitive soul, she was feeling crushed by the negative messages all around her.

Estelle relayed this story to me and asked that I keep her real identity in confidence, but she hopes, as do I, that her story will be of help to other middle aged people as they embrace their sexual orientation with pride and not shame.  Estelle has children and parents who are now very supportive, but she does not want them to know that the pressures of society caused her suicide attempt.


Before I moved to Portland I was walking out the door with a garden hose in my hand, Was headed down to the lake to kill myself. I stopped because my friend Lana called me as I was walking out the door. I stopped to talk to her and before I knew it was 45 minutes later. And I had forgotten why I was holding a garden hose.
After living in Portland for a couple of years. I went back to that small town and stopped by to see her. I told her the story and we just sobbed.

Now I know I am suppose to be here–to be alive…

I can’t even imagine this world with out Estelle.  She has dedicated her life to helping other LGBT people and she models pride in being who she is: a wonderful and beautiful lesbian. Sadly, there are too many LGBT folk who do commit suicide.  Again, I would love to see a Make It Get Better Campaign, rather than It Gets Better Campaign.  We need to put the onus on the dominant culture, which means making laws and policies that create a level playing field, which we are far from having. Estelle asked that the following link be included.  Thank you, Estelle!  If you, or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please contact the Trevor Project.

8 Responses to “LGBT History Month 2013: Estelle”

  1. Central Oregon Coast NOW June 12, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 12, 2013 at 6:55 am #

      Nancy, thank you for reblogging this article.

      • Central Oregon Coast NOW June 12, 2013 at 8:21 am #

        t’s an important reminder to people of the high rate of LGBT suicide (and why), and also the link to an LGBT suicide prevention crisis center. Thanks for writing this, Michael

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 12, 2013 at 8:24 am #

        Nancy, thank you for standing in solidarity with the LGBT community. We need allies like you. “Estelle” is a reminder that, regardless of age, people in the LGBT community are at high risk of suicide.

  2. Ellen June 12, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    As promised, Michael 🙂

    There is a Make It Better Project for youth and adults that is doing some great work and organizing!

    Love, Ellen

  3. Jay June 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    I’m glad there is a “Make it Get Better” Project,” but rather than supplanting or replacing the “It Gets Better Project,” I see a role for both.

    Working to “Make it Get Better” is properly the role of adults–activists and allies of the LGBTQ community, who are in a position to take positive action. But I think the idea behind the original “It Gets Better” project still applies–it was aimed to help those who felt powerless, overwhelmed, bullied (especially kids, teens and young adults).

    It is important to reassure those vulnerable young people that they won’t always feel so helpless–they just have to survive the bullying. There’s light at the end of the tunnel–middle school and high school ends–adulthood holds the promise of a better life. You just have to get there, so please don’t give in to despair.

    The onus of the activist role–“MAKING” it better–is the responsibility of adults. Which isn’t to say that young people CAN’T take an active role in making things better, its just to say that assuming that burden should be considered optional for vulnerable kids who in some cases are just struggling to survive.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 15, 2013 at 6:47 am #

      Jay, yes, I do see a role for both organizations. I just worry that we put too much of the responsibility on younger LGBT folk, when the lion’s share of how to make it better should be on those with the privilege of being a part of the dominant culture.

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