Thursday, September 30th, 2010...4:35 pm

Lie or Die? Either Way, the Culture of Homophobia is Killing Us

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What do Minister George Rekers; Pastor Ted Haggard, WA Legislator Richard Curtis, former congressman, Mark Foley, and Alabama Attorney General Troy King, and most recently Rev. Eddie Long (no relation to me!)  have in common? Each one of them took rabid anti-gay positions in their public lives. Each one of them has been accused of ‘less than above-board’ same-sex sexual behaviors in private.

 What do Seth Walsh, 13 years old, of Tehachapi, CA, Billy Lucas, 15, of Greensburg, Indiana, Asher Brown, 13, of Houston and Tyler Clementi, a college freshman in New Jersey have in common? Each one of them was tormented on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation. Each one of them died at their own hands in the last three weeks.

Is it a stretch to connect the self-hating, anti-gay rhetoric of those men with the suicides of the presumedly gay boys? “I don’t think so,” Says True Colors Executive Director, Robin McHaelen. “The same culture of hatred that tortures some children into killing themselves leads some grown men to unsafe, secretive, and illicit acts. Die or lie — its homophobia either way. And either way, the effects are devastating.”

 “At the same time, ‘ notes True Colors’ Mentoring Director, Kamora Herrington, “we know that mentoring makes a difference. I have LGBT kids in my program who would have hurt themselves, if it weren’t for their mentor, or the support that True Colors provides. Don’t you wonder how the lives of Minister Rekers or Mark Foley might have been different if they had been free to be themselves as young people?”

 True Colors offers Connecticut’s only LGBT youth mentoring program; social and recreational groups for LGBT youth, foster parent recruitment for LGBT youth rejected or abused by their families the largest annual conference on LGBT issues as well as training for educators, youth, social workers and clinicians. “True Colors exists to create a world in which youth of all orientations and genders are affirmed” said Board President, Marlo McGriff. “We do a lot, and there is so much more to do. True Colors has accomplished a lot, but there is so much more to be done. I encourage everyone in CT to use these tragedies as an opportunity to make a difference for the LGBT youth in their own communities.”

 True Colors works to create a world where youth, adults and families of all sexual orientations and gender identities are valued and affirmed. We challenge all forms of oppression through education, training, advocacy, youth leadership development, mentoring and direct services to youth and those responsible for their well-being. For more information, call (860) 232-0050 or on the web at Our True Colors

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