The average coming-out age has declined from 20-something in the '80s to somewhere around 16 today, and there are many who come out younger -- in some cases far younger. Both the LGBTQ community and society at large need to be thinking about how to meet these kids' needs.
My son never lived in the proverbial closet. He's never thought of himself any other way or pretended that he did. So what do I think he was coming out of? His narrative is so different from the ones that came before that I don't even have the terminology to talk about it appropriately.
For the past few years we have had an increasing number of elementary schools contact us with reports that their teachers and school staff were "freaking out." The cause for alarm? The new enrollment of a transgender child or the gender transition of an already-enrolled student.
We are helping to move rural and suburban Americans from just theoretically supporting same-sex marriage -- based on their sense of fairness, justice and goodness -- to actually liking, maybe even loving, us.
The challenge for moms and dads is complex. Will they support their LGBT children unconditionally and bring on the rejection of their churches, workplaces, and family members, or will they adopt Pastor Sean's methods and hope for a "conversion"?
Schools can play a vital role in the road to acceptance between a parent and their LGBT child. Of course, this is a very sensitive subject among schools and parents. How do educators know when they are overstepping their boundaries with parents?
The music video for "Invincible" includes videos in which our fans hold up signs telling their stories of pain, fear, victimization, and, ultimately, self-esteem, joy, and triumph. It is imperative that we share our stories so that people enduring bullying or self-hatred know they're not alone.
It had never crossed my mind that a teacher would not be accepting of a student because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Why would an educator bring their personal beliefs into the classroom?
All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names: "queer," "dickhead," "fruit," "fairy," "faggot," "ho-ho-homo," "retard," "douche," "gay," "tranny," "pussy," "sissy boy." They hit him and shoved him, and spit their reindeer spit on him.
Appearances do matter -- public appearances, the kind that a confused and lonely kid in Russia or Kansas or your neighborhood might see. "It gets better" is a nice but passive sentiment; come out, go out and help make it better.
This article is my third in less than three years about teen bullying and the tragedy of suicide among LGBT youth. Today, I write an almost identical article with practically the same statistics that I have written for the past two years.
For Jamey, and potentially many more young people in a similar situation, being told and believing that "it gets better" is not enough. For Jamey and these other youth, the situation must be made better -- now.
Against my better sonic judgment, I believe that artists such as Lady Gaga have the electromagnetism to gift my gay brothers and sisters with the inspiration and tools they need to cultivate self-love and respect.
We now have a generation of gay kids who have always known they are not alone, and they can't go back into the closet; they were never there to begin with. Even before dealing with their own sexual orientation, they knew there were others.