Every 45 seconds, an LGBTQIA+ kid between the ages of 13 and 23 attempts suicide (The Trevor Project). That means in just the next few minutes while you read or listen to this letter today, enough queer kids to fill your mini van on the way to practice or theatre camp will hit rock bottom and we will be left behind to experience a world without their laughter, jokes, and joy.
Children gone too soon because they believed this planet might be better off without them.
I remember asking myself the hard questions. Questioning not just who I was, but if I could be safe living in this world where it was so obvious to me that something was wrong. What I didn’t know at the time? The world was wrong, not me.
That sinking suspicion that something is wrong changes how you march through this world. It changes what you see when you look in the mirror and the paths you take. It makes you believe that even a parent’s love is not strong enough to endure your evolution and that God must have made a mistake to make you like this.
Then I hear some kid somewhere was listening to my Pride presentation and I get a little hope that they know better. They know they matter. Maybe they’re sitting outside the door or their parent has made a seat for them at the screen. From either space, these parents are sending an alternate message that matters.
What parents of queer kids show up for, what they pay attention to, the questions they ask about their kids’ day will send a million messages to their children about what they can become. If they’ll be loved.
I still remember the first time I found out the kids were listening. It was in a message from a mom on LinkedIn sharing that her kid sat outside the door just far enough away that their parents never noticed and listened to my presentation. That night, this kid came out to their mom.
Remembering my own coming out, I know how nervous they were. Worried. Wondering if they were about to lose the only unconditional love they have ever known. That fear runs deep. It’s enough to make you ask the deepest, darkest question a person can ask themselves: is this life worth living?
And when I know some kid somewhere even has that question cross their minds, I never have to question why I’m there. Why I show up. It’s to make a world and a workplace where it’s safer to come out. Where you’re allowed to transform and know that becoming who you are is the best part. That knowing who you are is a super power.
That’s why for this week’s blog, I shared my non-binary coming out story. It’s a flashback to a moment, a panic, and a shift that inspired the stories I get to share with parents and kids that work at companies all over the world this month.
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Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.