“I realized that a lot of the LGBTQ community feels isolated and sometimes they realize there is no other way other than to commit suicide,” says Ryan Fuller, President of Heartland Pride. Fuller adds “the suicide rate in the LGBTQ community is outrageously high!”
Fuller and his team at Heartland Pride invite you to participate in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk on September 10th at the Lewis & Clark Landing in Omaha, NE. Registration beings at 11 a.m. and before the 2 p.m walk, attendees have the opportunity to participate in various event festivities, including an informational fair. The purpose of the event is to reduce suicide and spread awareness about resources. This is the 13th American Foundation of Suicide Prevention walk in Omaha and Heartland Pride is excited to have a team that will be participating in the event alongside other organizations and sponsors.
“Our goal is to establish a team and outreach to people and let them know that it does get better and if you need help here is a resource for you other than committing suicide” says Fuller. The Heartland Pride president says that the mission of his organization is to celebrate and promote the history, diversity and future prosperity of the LGBTQ community in the Heartland and participating in this event is one way they can support the LGBTQ community.
According to Fuller, when he took the role of President at Heartland Pride, one of his main goals was to focus on outreach. “I grew up in a small town in Iowa and going out there was not accepted. I was fortunate enough to come out when I was 14 because I did move to Omaha but people in those smaller communities don’t have that same luxury. Often times they feel trapped and feel ridiculed,” says Fuller.
The Heartland Pride team is excited to spread awareness in Omaha through events like the Out of the Darkness Community Walk, but they are also making sure to outreach to smaller communities. “Two weeks ago, we hosted the first ever drag show in Red Oak, Iowa and that was again to spread the word that through diversity and inclusion small communities can benefit,” says Fuller.
Fuller mentions that it may be hard for LGBTQ individuals to come out but there are ways to make it easier. “Find a community or organization you believe in and that believe in you in return. In my experience it is way easier to come out to your friends than your family. Talk to your close friends and more than likely they will be accepting and if they are not accepting they are not your friends,” says Fuller.
Fuller says that there are a lot of events in Omaha where you can connect with fellow LGBTQ people. “Try to be yourself, it does get better, if you are thinking about suicide there are plenty of resources too,” says Fuller, adding “there are hotlines you can reach out to that can talk you down if you are thinking about suicide.”
“If you can’t join us for the walk get in touch with us through our website, you can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org,” says Fuller, adding “Our planning sessions are the third Thursday of the Month.”
“One of the sayings my husband always says is: be true be you. You have to love yourself. We don’t want to lose anyone else in our community to suicide,” says Fuller.
If you are anyone you know is in crisis, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “START” to 741-741. For hearing and speech impaired with TTY equipment dial 1-800-799-4889.