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What do you give a damn about?

Earlier today I saw a recent PSA from Cyndi Lauper’s Give a Damn campaign, which has brought together well known faces to try and get the message out about the suicide risk lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth continue to suffer.

The message is simple. It makes me wonder why it took national attention of the suicides of several gay teenagers for people to hear messages like these that are simple in and of itself.

In the U.S. one hate crime takes place approximately every hour of every single day. In 2008, the most recent year in which such data is available, 7,783 incidents of hate crimes were reported to the FBI. One out of every six of these hate crimes is committed on the basis of sexual orientation.

Gay men and lesbians are the third most targeted group for hate crimes of the ones that are actually reported. When I was a reporter at The State, I covered the candlelight vigil in memory of then 20-year-old Sean Kennedy. Kennedy was walking to his car outside of a Greenville bar, when he was punched, causing him to fall and hit his head, according to police. Less than 24 hours later, Kennedy, who was gay, died at a local hospital.

The give a damn-themed video urges everyone to get involved in stomping out hate crimes against gay men and lesbians. I give a damn. Do you?