IN THE MARGINS: PROTECTING OUR GAY YOUTH:
As a young man not too far removed from adolescence, I vividly recall the myriad of issues that complicated my youth. My homosexuality however, wasn’t a central focus. Luckily I had a relatively understanding family. As a young gay advocate I understand that the scenarios are often different for my peers. Many of them had no choice in the role that sexuality would play in their lives. Some have been molested. Some of been physically abused. Some have even been evicted because of who they chose to love. So it’s not surprising that many young gay people rebel and flock to clubs and internet dating sites to seek acceptance.
I do believe there is such thing as too much too soon. There is a serious risk associated with allowing one’s sexuality to engulf one’s identity. The same can be said for our heterosexual counterparts. At a time when one should be focusing on academics, socializing, and pimples. We are learning about douches, consuming alcohol, and dating sugar daddies. While these skills may prove useful in certain sub-cultures within the gay community, they are counter-productive to a independent and fulfilling life. What is the alternative? How do I suggest to my young brother’s and sisters that they attempt to maneuver in a systematically homophobic society? I can’t, at least not alone.
I know a balance does exist. Something as natural as homosexuality should not be used as a reason to deprive someone of a natural childhood. Just like the difference between boys and girls there are elements specific to the same gender loving experience. Individuals who can identify must be responsible for enhancing that development. We can’t allow an unregulated “scene” to dictate social norms and acceptable behavior. That is why it’s imperative that we make sure every space is a safe space. Those of us who are considering ourselves to be allies, caregivers, and advocates of youth should dedicate ourselves to providing a stable environment conducive to growth; throughout
The first step is to make sure that we are familiar with the unique complications that face our young men and women. If you don’t know you can’t help. If we are to fail please let’s not allow ignorance to be to reason. The second step is to be intuitive and diligent in confronting these barriers before they even effect our youth. If we miss our mark which we occasionally will, we must be rapid in rectifying situations and returning young people to productive paths. Religion, Politics and Ignorance have done a phenomenal job in driving wedges between communities. If you are gay lesbian bisexual, or transgendered volunteer your time and knowledge to gay youth and their heterosexual caregivers. I don’t believe that it is mere coincidence that there exist people unable to procreate whom have love to give and people who are already created that are need of love. If we fight for them like they came out of our wombs and our seeds we won’t need to shelter them in small precincts the entire country will know that we will not accept anything less than the best for our children.