The kids are alright: raising LGBT kids in a world without angst

The world was touched by the Boston Globe article about a family’s love for their transgender child as they braved unknown challenges that resulted in small but powerful local change, validating budding medical practices, and proving America’s love of family is alive and well. Young people are becoming more honest about their sexuality and identities earlier in life, almost eradicating the rite of passage known as coming out of the closet. The Internet, along with the media’s portrayal of characters that experience this angst-ridden niche, provides a voice to young people drowning in a pool of isolated depression—so thank you, gay-liberal-Hollywood-mafia agenda. Having parents that are brave enough to accept what they do not understand, or never expected, from their children can have a positive effect on everyone involved. This is not an isolated phenomenon, rather a beautiful example of our emo-world in the 21st Century.

In Nebraska, whose state slogan is “The Good Life,” we meet eighteen year-old Chris Dyer who has taken on the challenge of acquiring the necessary number of signatures needed to have voters decide whether the prohibition of same-sex marriage should be removed from the state’s constitution in 2012. The chance for repeal is grim, but after dropping out of high school due to debilitating scoliosis, a detached tailbone, fractured vertebrae, and reaffirming support from his family he received his GED and took to his cause. Chris believes anything is possible if you make it your passion. Do you remember that feeling?

Supportive parenting leads to well-adjusted young adults that almost completely skip the self-loathing phase so many queer adults considered part of coming out. Jonah Mowry, who produced the sad but brave anti-bullying video received a response from Johnny Robinson, a 17 year-old gay teen who was recently crowned homecoming king of his high school. Johnny’s video used the same methods as Jonah’s, well-timed flash cards, hip music, and expressive facial gestures to convey his feelings. Johnny, who has the love of his family, and a boyfriend, is the proverbial light at the end of a teenage tunnel. Through the web Johnny’s supportive environment can reach anyone, anywhere, a super cute spin on peer counseling.

However, feeling alienated, isolated, and ostracized is still an issue that may have become worse for LGBT youth. Fearful people their own age confront them in a growingly hostile manner. Hell hath no fury like a catty teen. In the past, a parent’s sense of guilt, repulsion, or fear of their child’s natural behavior contributed to the growth of WWASP programs that physically and mentally abused children, topped with a dollop of Mormonism. We wish we could say this was no longer the case except torture camps—we mean “programs”—are alive and well. But if kids teens like Chris or Johnny, or any examples from the Queer Testimony Project assert, a nurturing community is growing and things really will get better. It just takes a village.

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