Monday, June 8, 2009

Author Tackles LGBT Suicide Rate with T-Shirts, Accessories

[This is a repost of a press release published at The Open Press on April 24. Please feel free to share.]

Dunn, NC (OPENPRESS) April 24, 2009 -- On April 15, 2009, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Youth Advocacy Store opened via Cafepress. The online store sells T-shirts and accessories meant to spread awareness about the high suicide rate among LGBT youth, as well as encouraging teenagers to choose life.

The store was created by author Stephanie Silberstein, who is also writing a young adult novel to bring awareness to the issue. Silberstein nearly lost a close friend to suicide over his sexual orientation last summer. After doing some research, she learned that her friend’s situation was not uncommon; 30% of completed youth suicides are related to sexual orientation. "He chose not to be a statistic," Silberstein says. "I’m reaching out to others like him, both in gratitude for his continued life and in hopes of making a difference."

The primary product offered is a black t-shirt inscribed with, "30% of suicides are LGBT related. I refuse to be a statistic." Silberstein also offers t-shirts and hats supporting other issues important to the LGBT community, such as school safety and answering religious condemnation of homosexuality.

The shirts are sold for $15-$30 each; 10% of profits will help The Trevor Project Suicide Hotline, the only national suicide hotline targeted specifically towards LGBT youth. The rest of the proceeds will be used to support the independent publication of Silberstein's LGBT teen-oriented novel, Shades of Gay, in May 2010.

Suicide prevention shirt sold at the LGBT Youth Advocacy Store

Silberstein is planning several events intended to lower the suicide rate among LGBT adolescents, the first of which is a candlelight vigil and dinner in honor of Harvey Milk's birthday in May. Participants are encouraged to wear the shirts at these events in order to drive the message home.

"Whether or not you are participating in an event, please buy a t-shirt today and wear it with pride," Silberstein says. "Chances are that there's a young person in your life who needs to see its message. If each of us can just encourage one person to keep living, the day will come when there are no more people killing themselves because of who they are."

Stephanie Silberstein

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