Gay Life August 2012
I attended a pretty liberal middle and high school, and while not that young, I'm not that old. And yet I can't recall one person who was out at my school. (College was a completely different story.) In subsequent reunions, and through social media, I've learned that quite of a few people in my graduating class are gay and lesbian (I'm not aware of any transgender classmates). But looking back I'm surprised that no one in our small class felt comfortable enough to be out. Am I that naïve to think my school was free of bullies? Perhaps.
Violence is the top health concern for LGBTQ youth (under 24) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services (see p. 25). If that's true now, how much better could it have been 15 years ago? In retrospect, my ignorance seems a poor excuse for a lack of acceptance.
The end of summer is not too far off. The anxiety about going back to school is much more overwhelming for some than it is for others. While we still have a long way to go on the equality and acceptance fronts, resources are more abundant than ever. At least 20 high schools in Baltimore City (including mine) and Baltimore County have Gay Student Alliances (GSAs) and that number jumps even higher when looking at area colleges. Moreover, there are multiple LGBTQ youth organizations right here in our city (p. 16) that address our young community members' needs—whether they're looking for transitional housing, an understanding ear, social activities, or an artistic outlet.