On October 12th we will celebrate National Coming Out Day. This day acknowledges the fact that many individuals who are gay hide in response to a stigmatizing culture that does not fully embrace them. It also encourages individuals to throw open the closet door, and suggests that to do so impacts on that stigma and moves us toward a more accepting culture.
Whether you believe in war or not, we can all agree that military service is a tough job and a unique sacrifice. The military is one of the many places that the inequities faced by LGBTQ people make a difficult situation even more challenging. Imagine facing separation from loved ones and enduring the physical and emotional tolls of war- all while keeping a secret about who you are and the relationship between you and those that love and support you. “Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell” seems like a simple sacrifice where we all just agree to ignore the realities to avoid any controversy, until we think about the details of having to lie in order not to tell, or partner healthcare benefits, or death and survivor benefits, or who gets informed if a soldier is hurt or injured, or who sends you off on the plane or waits to kiss you when you return.
Exciting News!! Persad has been awarded a 3-year grant from the Administration of Children and Families to provide street level outreach to runaway and homeless youth. LGBT youth are overrepresented among runaway and homeless youth. National statistics of runaway youth document that 25-30% of all runaway and homeless youth are LGBT.
Now that my friends and I are of “a certain age”, I find that our conversations often drift to issues of health. What parts of our bodies are located in different places or not working in the same way that they once did, visits to doctors for various mystery ailments, and aches and pains that surface from far too little exertion have replaced previous chatter about how fine and good looking we all are. I’ve realized that it’s time. It’s time to take care of ourselves and each other.