Compiled by Howard Israel
“On behalf of advocates for LGBT youth everywhere, let me be the first to say ‘thank you.’ Simply by giving your son your love and support, you have already significantly increased his chances of living a happy and fulfilling life. The importance of an accepting home cannot be overstated. The damage that can be done by a hostile family also cannot be overstated: LGBT youth whose families are hostile are eight times likelier to commit suicide than their straight peers. Hostile parents can’t make their gay kids straight, but they can make them dead. The bad news is that school can be a miserable place for LGBT youth. The good news is that engaged parents can make a huge difference. It’s admirable that you want your son to understand that you ‘don’t care about his sexuality,’ you also have to make your son understand that you care about him and that you’re aware of the challenges he faces.”
– Eliza Byard, executive director, GLSEN, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, responding to a question from the father of a 13-year-old son who came out to his parents and has already made the news public at school, in Dan Savage’s advice column, http://www.thestranger.com, Jan. 17.
“My daughter’s foundation was born out of her passion to create a better world where people are kinder and nicer to one another and are accepted for who they are, regardless of how different they may be. She has experienced many of the struggles that our youth encounter today, and identifies with the lasting effects they can have without proper support. Together, we look forward to creating a new movement that will engage and empower youth and accept them as valuable members of our society.
-Cynthia Germanotta, Lady Gaga’s mother, in a press release titled “Lady Gaga to Officially Launch Born This Way Foundation at Harvard on February 29,” about the Born This Way Foundation (BTWF) that will explore the best ways to reach youth and create a new culture of kindness, bravery, acceptance and empowerment, and address issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development and advocacy, http://cyber.law.harvard.edu, Jan. 19.
“My name is Caitlin, I’ve been wanting a more gender neutral name, Riley is my top one. I’ve identified as genderqueer for about three years now, before that I was ‘bisexual’, and before that I was just fucking confused. I’ve pushed myself to explore if I might me trans, and I am not. I’m just a big huge genderfuck, boi/grrl who doesn’t mind female pronouns, but I do love when people openly need to clarify how I identify not because they’re nice, but because they’re honest to glob confused.”
-Caitlin, in a posting on “genderqueer – beyond the binaries” blog site, images of gender-bending, trans and queer people of all sorts, meant to empower and celebrate the beauty within all gender expressions, http://genderqueer.tumblr.com, Jan. 21.
“It was nearly eight years ago that my city was the first large city in the country to marry same-sex couples. Back then, it was a big deal. People were protesting everywhere, and we were the focus of international news. Well, eight years later, I’m here to tell you that marriage for gay couples has made my city of Boston a much better place.”
-Boston Mayor Tom Menino, in the blog titled “Launch of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry,” about a new initiative titled Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, initiated by Freedom to Marry to demonstrate the wide, non-partisan support for marriage equality across the country, http://www.freedomtomarry.org, Jan. 20. Freedom to Marry is the national organization working to expand public support for ending marriage discrimination.