When the Odds are Stacked Against You

I opened my laptop and my fingers just automatically knew what to do. “Take the ACE (adverse childhood experience) test,” I typed, for the hundredth time, into Google. There was no good reason for me to be typing this again. I already knew the answer. It was a 4. The number where things start getting serious. With a number of 4 or more, the likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390 percent; hepatitis, 240 percent; depression, 460 percent; attempted suicide, 1,220 percent.

And then there was the whole being queer thing. LGBTQIA+ individuals are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance misuse compared with heterosexual individuals. LGBTQIA+ people are 92% more likely to think about suicide, 75% more likely to plan suicide, and 88% more likely to actually attempt suicide that resulted in no or minor injury.


Jesse Moss: 25 years apart


But in 2012, it got even worse. My brother had died by suicide/overdose. More statistics: studies show that if one sibling died by suicide, the risk of the remaining sibling also dying by suicide was 3.19x amongst women. Welp. My initial reaction was to do the usual hide and pretend. So I did, for many years.

At Experience Camps in California, August 2021

But, there was something about my queerness that I felt rising to the surface. I never got to come out to my brother, even though I’m sure he knew (I wasn’t good at hiding it). So I started dipping my toe into what it might be like to not care what other people thought, or what statistics might say. I wanted to show the world my truth–even if just one piece of myself. The beauty of it was, that it would help kickstart opening myself up in other ways too.