Monday, January 15, 2007

Speaker Pelosi needs to put protecting gay kids first

I just read an article that really hits close to home. In it, the writer, Deb Price, makes a heart-felt plea to Speaker Pelosi for gay children everywhere:

Please put "Protect our gay kids" atop the House's to-do list.

This is an issue near and dear to this Seething Mom’s heart. I watched my son struggle desperately to find his place in a world in which he did not seem to fit. It was painful for him, and yet, he was one of the lucky ones. He had a loving, supportive family. Many gay children are not so lucky. In fact, according to Deb Price, a lesbian:

The picture isn't so pretty. And those of us who're gay adults have the psychic scars to prove it.

Painfully aware that much of the world considers them worthless, many gay kids struggle with a cycle of self hatred that they carry into adulthood, if they are lucky enough to survive that long.

Now why should Speaker Pelosi put gay children at the top of an already busy list of must-get-done items? Well Ms. Price has the answer:

  • · Gay kids are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, engage in risky sex, have more sex partners, skip school for fear of being attacked, think of suicide or even attempt suicide.

  • Schools that teach federally funded "abstinence-only" until heterosexual marriage courses make gay kids feel invisible -- or worse. Gay students at such schools reported higher levels of skipping school because they don't feel safe, being bullied and feeling unable to talk with teachers, counselors or other adults paid to help them through rocky growing-up years. And these kids were less likely to know any openly gay school official.

  • Seventy-five percent of gay youth report hearing anti-gay name-calling like "faggot" or "dyke" often at school. And more than one-third (38 percent) said they'd experienced anti-gay physical harassment at school.

  • Young males, ages 15 to 22, who have sex with other men are at high risk for HIV -- that's particularly true among African-Americans and Hispanics -- but 55 percent keep their orientation secret, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Those secretive boys and young men, the CDC says, are less likely than open gays or bisexuals to get tested for HIV, so they are less likely to know if they are infected. They're also likely to have female sex partners, whom they put at risk for HIV.

  • The most vulnerable gay kids -- throwaways, runaways and lockaways -- report appalling levels of anti-gay abuse in foster care, homeless shelters and juvenile detention centers, the Child Welfare League of America finds.

Ms. Price ends the article suggesting that “Speaker Pelosi ought to use her forceful "mother of five" voice to speak out against these outrages and insist that our nation live up to its obligation to gay kids.”

And this “Seething Mother of three” could not agree more.



pisco sours said...

There's a heartbreaking case out of the federal appeals court in the Seventh Circuit, where a boy had to sue his school to protect him from anti-gay discrimination.

I'll try to say this next part without getting too legally technical: there has never been a definitive Supreme Court ruling as to how closely we will scrutinize laws that discriminate against gay people. I think that until there is, we will remain in legal limbo.

Catherine + said...

Dear Seething Mom: I simply, unequivocally love your blog for all the fresh upfront candor you lend to it. I am going to copy and paste this article into an email to send it to some middle school teacher friends of mine as she regularly deals with kids who face problems with being out at school. Thank you for the information. I also love your most recent article. In fact I love them all...exactly where have you been, girl! :-) I am thankful that you are speaking up and out. More parents like you need to be blogging and talking and making your view known to all who have ears to hear.

Love ya!