Maintaining Progress

National Coming Out Week is not the only time to foster GLBT acceptance.

As made visible by the array of rainbow T-shirts and support rallies, Temple students – and people all over the country – celebrated National Coming Out Day yesterday.

It’s been 23 years since the Human Rights Campaign organized the first National Coming Out March, but this year’s week of recognition was a particularly poignant one. It comes in the wake of five known teen suicides linked to anti-gay harassment – a trend that has unfortunately gone under-the-radar until recently.

The Trevor Project, a nonprofit GLBT suicide prevention organization, reports that more than one-third of GLBT youth have attempted suicide.

Sadly, suicides and attempted suicides aren’t the only endemics that span the GLBT youth population.

According to National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, between 20 percent and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

When compared to the mere 2 percent to 4 percent of the entire U.S. population who identify as gay or transgender, this disproportionate number of homeless GLBT youth has an unsettling explanation.

Many of them – as many as 26 percent – were kicked out after a family conflict over a youth’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

These statistics are alarming and unacceptable.

But, as gay activist Dan Savage’s YouTube campaign suggests, it gets better.

Savage’s project, which features videos posted by everyday GLBT people, celebrities and straight allies offering words of encouragement and assurance, has garnered more than 1.2 million views.

As Communications Department Director Scott Gratson said in “Coming Out Week celebrates GLBT life,” Page 1, marriage equality is a reality in five states and in the District of Columbia, and the legality of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has raised eyebrows nationwide.

While National Coming Out Week is certainly relevant time to increase awareness about these issues and encourage GLBT youth to be comfortable disclosing their sexualities, The Temple News reminds readers it is not the only time.

GLBT people and otherwise should keep these sensitive issues raised by National Coming Out Week in the forefront of their minds year round.

They should also remember that issues of gender identity and sexual orientation are not political – they’re personal. Regardless of ethnicity, upbringing, religious or political beliefs or sexual orientation, no one should subject anyone to bullying and harassment.

Coming out to family and friends is a delicate matter and a personal choice.

Most importantly, individuals should be able to recognize their own sexualities and accept them. They must realize that being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender should not only be tolerated – it should be accepted, as well.

Editorial Board
is made up of The Temple News' Editor in Chief, Managing Editor, Digital Managing Editor, Chief Copy Editor, News Editor and Opinion Editor. The views expressed in editorials only reflect those of the Board, and not of the entire Temple News staff. Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews.

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