It is a terrible thing to have to deny who you are – that’s the pressure GLBT youth face.
A boy comes out to his parents via letter because he can’t bear to tell them in person. A young lesbian, now an adult, escapes from the home where she’s beaten by her parents only to be beaten by the girls at the protective shelter, because she’s “different.” An out teacher receives hate mail from her students. Social workers ask children to “pinky swear” that they won’t be gay, or else they won’t get into heaven.
These are some of the stories that were heard at the public hearings of the Massachusetts Commission on GLBT Youth, held June 20 and 21 at the Boston Statehouse and Holyoke Community College on the twentieth anniversary of what was then called the Governor’s Commission on GLBT Youth. As with the first hearings twenty years ago, the purpose was to illuminate the struggles that LGBT youth still face in Massachusetts and to recommend policies and actions for the commission to consider.