Today is National Coming Out Day and, yes, I’m gay. Â I was harassed for being gay, before I even knew I was gay, during the 5th-8th grade (1977-1981).Â I came out in 1983, at age 16 — a year after the term “AIDS” was first used. Â Although scary times for me, it got better.
Last week I joined hundreds of others in the Central West End for an important event to show youth it gets better:
“They marched as one. Unified by candlelight, reflecting on some of their darkest days of bullying and harassment.” (Vigil Condemns Anti-Gay Bullying)
Here is a short video clip I shot:
The vigil was organized byÂ Growing American Youth:
“Growing American Youth is a social support organization for youth who live near St. Louis and who are 21 and under and may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. Growing American Youth has been serving St. Louis area youth for 30 years.”
In addition to the string of gay teen suicides we now have the story of violence against young gay men in New York:
“Outraged city leaders said Saturday that the city wouldn’t tolerate the “vicious” hatred that had apparently caused a street gang to allegedly beat and torture two teenage boys and a man inside an abandoned home over the course of several hours because they were gay.” (NYC officials outraged over anti-gay gang torture)
Cities are still the most accepting place to be.
- Steve Patterson